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The Calipari Effect


With the official start of the NBA season being only two days away, I thought I would take this time to reflect on something I like to call the Calipari Effect. While Calipari may not have been that successful coaching in the NBA, it’s no secret that he produces players in college who become stars at the next level. Recruits want to play for Cal because they look at his previous players and see results and success. One of the main reasons Archie Goodwin from the 2012 class decided to commit to Kentucky was because it was a good business decision for him… AKA Calipari is going to transform him into a star. Throughout the season Calipari has talked about the Kentucky Effect, meaning having high aspirations and standards in everything, it’s about being the best in all areas, and it’s about pushing and promoting the players to put them in the best position to reach their dreams. While the Kentucky Effect is indeed very appealing to recruits, the Calipari Effect may be even more appealing. I’ve put together what I find to be the most important aspects behind Calipari’s success in sending players to the NBA and the attraction that success gives recruits to play for Kentucky.

The dribble drive offense, that has become a staple of Cal’s, is a main aspect of the Calipari Effect and accounts for a lot of the success Calipari’s players have been able to have in the NBA. The dribble drive forces a player to be versatile and there is no hiding your weaknesses. We can look at Patrick Patterson as an example. Under Gillispie, Patterson was mainly seen as a player who was just good at the post, however, under Calipari, Patterson was forced to become more versatile and play on the perimeter more and shoot the three. When scouts saw Patterson was not only good at the post, but had potential as a perimeter player as well, it made his draft position skyrocket. The dribble drive forces players to expand their game, and if they are unable to, their weaknesses are shown. Scouts look at every aspect of a players game and with an offense as versatile as the dribble drive, scouts get a better look at these players, which brings me to my second point.

Through Cal’s offense, scouts are able to see the versatility of players and their potential. Because of this, players draft stock begins to rise. While some player’s goal is to just be drafted, other dream of being drafted in the first round… which Calipari can produce. In Calipari’s first year as the coach at UK, he made history by having five players who were drafted in the first round. He mentioned in his Kentucky Effect speech that it “has never been done before, and may never be done again unless we do it”… meaning unless Cal does it. Calipari puts his players in situations offensively where they are able to shine, and their talent is shown. NBA scouts are able to see just how talented these kids truly are when they see them in Calipari’s playing style.

While some hate to admit it, the one and done player that Cal is noted for recruiting is also an attraction for recruits. Cal knows when a player is ready to enter the draft and advices him to do so at the appropriate time. If Calipari’s top players were to stay another year, it would be less likely that Calipari gets top recruits every year. These top recruits get their chance to shine because previous players go drafted, leaving them the spotlight to excel and start the cycle over.

Players want to play for Kentucky, not just because we are known for having the winningest tradition in college basketball, or because we are a players first program, but because playing for Calipari almost ensures your chances at future success. The Calipari Effect has been successful in producing top NBA talent, and will continue to do so.  Calipari has produced numerous players who have been able to live out their dream, and with the start of the NBA season on Sunday, the new NBA cats will begin living out theirs.

Article written by Tara Bilby

34 Comments for The Calipari Effect

  1. I live under a bridge
    9:16 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    Merry Christmas!

  2. wilDCat
    9:20 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    A little too much use of bold, started to get overwhelming there, but otherwise I think this makes 2 days in a row with a pretty good 9 AM post. Well done!

    As for a comment, I agree that one and done is why recruits love coming here. Other schools complain and say oh well they’re just a one and done system who would want to play for that? Let’s see…Wall, Cousins, Knight, Davis, MKG, etc. The guys who want to play one year and get to the NBA and get paid, who also happen to be the top recruits every single year. Complainers are jelly.

  3. KidCody
    9:22 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    Needs more Comic Sans.

  4. Killdeer
    9:24 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    The elite recruits come to Kentucky for Coach Cal. He has a track record of getting players to the NBA as quickly as possible and that is why they are coming here. I hate to say it, but the school has nothing to do with it. Cal was getting the players at Memphis!

  5. WorldWideWes
    9:26 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    How about some props to me? Check out Coach Cal’s Memphis squads before I started helping him out. He went to 3 NIT’s before Uncle Wes started sending him all my nephews.

  6. tfordstyle
    9:27 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    Would have been good 2-3 years ago…. before all of this hadn’t been said 450-500 times.

    I can’t be all negative though, so merry xmas.

  7. AlwaysUK
    9:31 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    Friday’s are becoming my favorite posts to read…great posts. Keep up the good work!

  8. ukfan
    9:33 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    Great post! I never really thought about how his offense forces players to be more versitile but its true! Keep up the good work!

  9. Not a frigid perso
    9:40 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    I love all of the bold statements. Great article! The students are progressing in their writing and can’t wait to read more from Tara!

  10. Chris
    9:41 am December 23, 2011 Permalink


  11. JohnethThe Clougherty
    9:42 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    I hate the charging/blocking call I really feel we
    get the very short end of those calls because the
    refs are already thinking “dribble-drive”.

    So far this year, the calls have been atrocious,

    Even in the IU game we were called for 3 charges
    in a row (none correct of course). Even at that,
    no matter how bad the ref is that day, seldom do
    you see a ref call so many without at least “alternating”.
    (someone forgot to move the arrow I guess?).

    I bet that one dude that use to post the in-depth
    statistics could really have fun checking into the numbers.

    I’ll hang up and listen.

  12. JohnethThe Clougherty
    9:44 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    And those terrible charging calls in the first half
    of the IU game were run-busters.

  13. Calipari'sInYourEar
    9:44 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    Calipari does not poop ice cream (until he wins a title… make that 3).

  14. anonymous
    9:47 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    i agree with AlwaysUk… loved this post and all the bold statements. i especially loved the “I find” one. Cant wait to read whats next!! Merry Christmas and “keep on keepin on!”

  15. KYStout
    9:49 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    10. You are correct. YOU just made the dumbest. post. ever!
    Way to go Christina!

  16. WeddingPlanner
    10:05 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    umm.. everyone already knows this.. what is the point?

  17. UKalltheway
    10:12 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    The talk about the dribble drive offense was interesting and I didn’t already know it. So keep up the good work!

  18. The Oval Office
    10:13 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    Cal’s just “better” than everyone else……

  19. Hero
    10:13 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    I have enjoyed Coach Cal being at UK but I do wish he’d recruit a few players who plan to stick around a second year. Lamb and Jones staying a second year will hopefully pan out to a National Title. Though it is a crap shoot come March/April as seldom does the best team win it all…more so, who is peaking at that time.

    Point being, UK is and will continue to be a top contender for a Final Four year in and year out…but I’ve not yet been convienced you can win it all with freshmen. I still think there needs to be a steady force of second and third year players who play significant minutes and contribute.

    This year with Miller/Vargas and Lamb/Jones…add in the freshmen the table is set to make a run. After this year though…IDK…but I do love the style, the winning, seeing players grow and knowing UK will be in the hunt each year!

  20. DhatstheTruth
    10:15 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    #16 you probably don’t know what “dribble drive” is let alone what it means to recruits. Please go back to wedding planning. I hate one and done myself but its a price to pay to get top recruits. By the way good post Tara.

  21. kentuckyjoe
    10:17 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    Good post Tara. And I agree with 18; Cal is just better than everyone else. You name it; recruiting, coaching, community service, teaching, whatever; he’s better than anyone else. I think his strongest skill is his communication ability and it is this skill that lets him excel in every other area. We are very fortunate to have him. Kudos to AD Barnhart and everyone else that played a role in bringing him to UK.

  22. Don Gordon
    10:49 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    Cal has not often used the dribble drive during at least the past 2 years.

  23. bmt22033
    11:05 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    I hate to say it, but #4 has it right. The recruits are interested in playing for Calipari because of what he can do for them. The school and it’s history/record have very little to do with it . 🙁

  24. UKalltheway
    11:09 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    # 22 have you been living in a hole for the past 2 years? You have no clue what you are talking about.

  25. BigBlueWestCoast
    11:27 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    Great post. As a former journalism student and 10-year veteran of the media industry (writing and editing), it’s awesome to see these students getting a chance to hone their craft in a high-traffic setting. Just two pieces of advice … grow thick skin, and keep your head up. You’re going to have people say really negative things about you and your opinion/writing (see a few trolls above). That’s part of the job. Don’t let it discourage you. Keep thinking, researching, debating, and delivering solid info to your audience. You will be rewarded.

  26. MtnCat
    11:44 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    The school matters, exposure, resources, the jersey, fanbase,
    Ask Cal why he left Memphis, and it wasn’t money, it was scheduling and opportunity. Kentucky is a great fit for Cal and we are blessed to have him. A rightous and worthy individual that lifts those around him, that’s our coach.

  27. dontforget
    11:51 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    Maybe I agree with your assertions. I think you miss out on a coouple things, though. What about the effect top recruits have in enticing other top recruits? The notion of top players playing together is taking hold both NBA and college. These kids play with/against each other in the AAU circuit (which is more of a showcase than competeitive basketball IMO especially compared to what HS ball used to be) and then make the move together at college. I think we see that theme of family with UK and it’s a BIG draw for recruits. If I’m a top ranked PF of course I want to play with John Wall.

    You also totally miss on Cal’s defense. he never gets enough credit for how awesome his teams are on defense. this is his third GREAT defensive team. he deserves a ton of credit for getting these kids to care as much (maybe more?) about the defensive end as the offensive end of the court.

  28. Kennyh
    12:20 pm December 23, 2011 Permalink

    The school has something to do with it, with the next 2 potential recruiting classes he could have 5 striaght number one classes, he didn’t or couldn’t do that anywhere else point blank period

  29. Terry
    1:11 pm December 23, 2011 Permalink

    5 Nailed it!. Cal only had Marcus Camby to lay his head on and then at Memphis only Rose, and some other forward, and tyrke.Now all of a sudden he’s the greatest ever in getting players to the NBA Izzo,Mike K., Roy Williams even Barnes at Texas, Coach at Wake Forreest had put out much more prior to that class of Wall and gang. Not deminishing his accomplishments but he gets more credit than he deserves and William Wesley does the sending of players to him.

  30. Syrin
    1:24 pm December 23, 2011 Permalink

    I would hate to be the next coach at UK. Who can replace this legend with all his success at the player level, and soon to be national titles?

  31. Brandon
    1:48 pm December 23, 2011 Permalink

    I don’t know if this attracts recruits, but I’ve always felt Cal really helps develop these guys psychologically into NBA players by treating them like adults. They’re available to the media and he’s not afraid to call them out publicly. I know this rubs a lot of folks the wrong way but to me it’s a disservice to use kid gloves like so many other coaches. fact of the matter is these guys need to grow up faster than others to achieve their dreams and will have much thrust upon them when/if they do. Cal prepares them for that better than any other coach I can think of. If its not something recruits pay attention to maybe they should.

  32. Dukes of Maggard
    2:20 pm December 23, 2011 Permalink

    Students: we’ve read these opinions before, if you’re going to rehash them please try to incorporate something compelling, maybe humor? Not long before I start skipping over these posts.

  33. CA UKFAN
    4:21 pm December 23, 2011 Permalink

    If the one and dones are only here for Cal way do they keep coming back and hanging out with the BBN? Cal was good before Kentucky, but now he is great. That’s the Kentucky Effect. Billy was a dumb redneck coach and Kentucky destroyed him. That is also the Kentucky Effect.

  34. JollyOleElf
    4:43 pm December 23, 2011 Permalink

    Thanks Coach, the effect is winning.