Lost in the deluge of news the past few days was this gem of an article by Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel on Cal’s dream of a perfect season. An hour after the Cats had won #8, Cal told reporters he already had his sights set on a loftier goal:
“Before I leave coaching,” Cal said that night, “I want to coach a team that goes 40-0. Before I’m out of here. Before I’m done. And the reason is, they say it can’t be done. So let’s go try to do it. Let’s try to win them all.”
Cal echoed that sentiment to Skip Bayless during his appearances at ESPN on Wednesday. Before now, the idea of a perfect season seemed a little laughable…a little too “Cal being Cal” if you will. Going undefeated in college basketball is hard, but it’s even harder when you have to reload your roster every year and start from scratch like the Cats do each season. But, with an epic 2013 class forming in the wings, it doesn’t seem so unrealistic anymore:
It’s also the kind of talent that can get you dreaming of 40-0. Such an accomplishment would also take chemistry, luck, health, coaching, karma and a million other variables, not the least of which is beating SEC rival Florida two or three times when the Gators are putting together their own strong recruiting class.
Chasing the first perfect season since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers starts with talent though. Without the players, none of the other stuff matters. Calipari certainly isn’t worried about senior leadership or game experience.
“If I had my choice between experience and talent,” he said, “I’m going to take talent.”
Wetzel brings up a point I’m not sure many in the media have yet: the reason Cal keeps getting five-star after five-star is because he doesn’t coddle them, he challenges them. One of the reasons the Harrison Twins cited for committing to Kentucky was the challenge Cal presented them with:
“I think Coach Calipari presented a challenge for us,” Andrew Harrison said when he committed. “He just told us from Day 1, it’s going to be hard, it’s going to be tough and he’s going to push us to become better players.”
The next challenge for the guy Wetzel says is recruiting better than anyone in college basketball history? Perfection.