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Whining in Memphis

calkinsMeet Geoff Calkins, Robin to Dan Wolken’s Batman

You had to know the folks in Memphis would chime in, right?  They’ve seen their coach bolt and take “their” recruits to Kentucky where they locked up a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and are getting hyped like few programs of the past.  Meanwhile, Memphis has been relegated to a 3-seed in the NIT, just 2 years after playing for all the marbles.  Enter Geoff Calkins, a Commercial Appeal writer who has his finger on the pulse of Memphis.  Are Memphians rooting for Kentucky and John Calipari?  Of course not!  Here’s an excerpt:

…it’s time that we, as a city of diverse people, come together to pull for one thing.

Kentucky, falling flat.

John Calipari, choking.

In the first round, if at all possible.

Let him lose to East Tennessee State and Murry Bartow. Or let him lose to Rick Barnes and Texas. Let him lose because he forgets to call a timeout. Let him lose by blowing another big lead.

Just let him lose.

Can we all rally around that?

I thought Dan Wolken was the king of sour grapes, but then I meet this guy. But you know, Memphis fans may have a legitimate beef.  Can you imagine how good Memphis would have been this year had Calipari stayed and kept his original recruiting class?  I’m not sure Kansas would have been able to stay within 10 points of them.  If a similar situation happened at Kentucky, you know we’d be crowing about it, too.

But something like that would never happen at Kentucky.  The thing that Memphis fans forget is that they are just a layover for coaches on the rise.  2008 was the pinnacle of Memphis basketball.  They were playing on borrowed time with Calipari at the helm, and, in retrospect, are probably lucky they kept him for as long as they did.  So is it fair their team was practically decimated when Cal left?  Probably not, but it definitely should have been expected.  And did they really think they would keep recruits if Cal left?  Why were those recruits coming in the first place?  It certainly wasn’t for the Memphis fan base, the city or program prestige.  It was for the coach.  If I were a Memphis fan, I wouldn’t be too worried about Calipari anymore.  I’d be trying to make sure I kept ahold of Josh Pastner.

Article written by Patrick Barker