Over the years, John Calipari has earned a reputation as the best recruiter in college basketball, but it wasn’t always easy for Cal to land the top prospects in the country. On the latest episode of Calipari’s Mailbag, Cal recalls a time when former UMass star Lou Roe played a prank on him. Roe, who played at UMass from 1991-1995, told Cal he was committing to Syracuse instead of UMass and let Calipari believe it for a few seconds before telling him he was only joking.
“He calls me and said, ‘Coach, I’ve decided to go to Syracuse.’ And I just slumped, I’m on the phone, I’m like — he goes, ‘I’m only kidding, I’m coming to UMass.’ I said, ‘Lou, if I could reach through this phone, I would slap you right in the face right now.'”
This was early on in Calipari’s career at UMass, before he was landing five-star after five-star, which made the prank especially cruel.
“This was a big deal at that time. Lou Roe was a big deal,” Cal said. “At this point, we’re just trying to survive.”
Now, kids know better than to pull one over on Cal.
“As I’m older, I think they’re a little bit afraid to do that stuff to me. But when I was younger, yeah, they did that.”
Check out the rest of Calipari’s mailbag episode at CoachCal.com.