Recent news tells us that Coach Cal spent time visiting 2012 5-star prospect Archie Goodwin yesterday in Arkansas. Goodwin not only dropped 32 points, but he dropped a few telling lines, as well.
To Nation of Blue, Goodwin texted, “I got the offer from Kentucky.”
The offer from Kentucky. Not an offer, the.
Goodwin also said, “It means a lot to me because I have the option to play for a coach that everyone dreams about playing for,” which we have all gotten used to hearing now that Calipari has signed three straight number one recruiting classes.
We also know we’ve waved goodbye to the days when we sat around and worried if elite-level players would bother to look our way, because frankly, they didn’t. But now, instead of just an offer on a kid’s long list, the chance to play basketball at the University of Kentucky is the hottest commodity on the recruiting market. On the AAU circuit, if there is a chance Coach Cal will be at the gym, the elite of the elite nervously discuss between themselves how excited they are. The best high school players in the nation get nervous about the Kentucky head man watching them because they do not want to miss out on the chance to play for the coach who gets high level performances from his players and wins, all while putting their success and dreams at the forefront.
My, how the times have changed.
These days, you’ll find kids telling tall tales regarding the UK offer, as they hope or even suspect that it may come eventually. Honestly, more times than not, it doesn’t come. The reason for that is because Coach Cal is making the offer as exclusive as possible. He is branding Kentucky basketball in a way that it has never been branded before. It is the new home of the stars, where dreams come true, especially if they involve making it to the hallowed ground of the NBA. The firm offer from Calipari has taken on a ceremonious aspect. Sure, he may mention to a guy, “We’d like to see you playing for us one day at UK,” but most of the elite players are now aware that statement is not enough to be able to commit to the Wildcats.
“Calipari guaranteed an offer in the next two weeks,” Goodwin also mentioned.
Guaranteed an offer? Doesn’t that mean you have an offer? No. Archie’s comment here signals how big of a deal it is to the kids to receive the offer because it is now a formal ordeal. As mentioned above, its become ceremonious: a player’s family and close friends may be in attendance when Coach Cal formally puts the papers in front of a kid and let’s him know that all he has to do is say the magic word and he is as good as family to the Big Blue Nation. It truly is a reason to celebrate.
Being able to have the chance to play in white at Rupp Arena is no longer a common thing. Because Calipari can’t know what roster spots may be open at the end of the year and because he has the full attention of the best of the best, the UK offer can only be doled out to a few deserving prospects. These kids know that. Duke and UNC attempted this branding in a similar fashion, but the level that John Calipari can take it is one that the college ranks have never seen before.
It feels great to be a fan during this re-explosion of Kentucky across the recruiting and college basketball world again. I can’t imagine how great it feels to be an eighteen year old kid and know that you can come UK and play for a coach who will do his best to see you reach the top. After all, isn’t that what dreams are made of?