Whether it’s adapting to the time or not, there’s no denying that Duke and Coach K have started copying John Calipari’s every move the past few years. While Calipari has addressed the issue indirectly at times this preseason, today, he took it full on, telling reporters that the one-and-done method only became acceptable once Duke did it.
“When did it become okay to do what I’m doing??” Cal asked, to which Jerry Tipton replied, “When Duke did it.”
Cal nodded. “There you go. Then it was okay. I mean, we could sit here — you all know, you’re smiling. But every one of you could, as soon as Duke did it, it was okay. That’s fine for me because here’s what they proved: even Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, you can be about these kids and it be okay and it’s not going to hurt you as a coach, it’s not going to hurt your program. So, I was happy it happened.”
When Jerry asked why he wasn’t afraid to embrace the one-and-done model back in the day, Cal quipped, “Because I’ve been fired before. What are they going to do, fire me?”
Calipari admitted he did feel some relief when his team won the 2012 National Championship because it got the monkey off his back to allow him to do what he loves doing: helping players reach their dreams.
“Understand this, what if we hadn’t won the 2012 National Title and I was doing this? ‘He doesn’t care, care about the program, he’s just trying to’ — whatever you want to say. That’s why, when we won it, my wife came up and I said, ‘Honey, we don’t have to worry about this anymore.’ That was my comment. We don’t have to worry about winning a national title. It’s done. Let’s do what do for kids and if more of these happen, fine, if they don’t happen, fine. It is what it is.”
Calipari wasn’t done yet, aiming his fire at those critics and fans who will never be okay with his players first/NBA approach.
“If you’re about the kids, you’re not making mistakes. If you’re about the organization and the bureaucracy and all that stuff vs. the kids, you’re wrong, you’re wrong every time. So, let’s just stay focused on what we do. You may agree with it, you may not agree with it. I’m transparent about it. If you want to vote for me, vote for me, if you want to vote for her, vote for her, I’m not trying to be anybody different. This is what it is. Some people are happy, we have some, you know, old timers that will never accept what we’re doing, unless it was their grandson, then they’d do backflips and think it was the greatest thing in the world. This is unbelievable! I thought you hated it! I did when it wasn’t my grandson now it’s my grandson, this is unbelievable!”
::Grabs popcorn, waits to see the comments section::