John Calipari went on “The Dan Patrick Show” this morning and talked for 20 minutes about his plan to fix college basketball. We’re not sure whether the interview was live or pre-recorded, but it did not include an update on Jarred Vanderbilt’s injury, nor did it include much talk about this year’s team, other than their decision to do the Facebook all-access show. Mostly, it was all of the same old stuff Cal’s been saying about how to reform the system, but because I love you, I listened anyways.
Here are the highlights.
Calipari was asked about Penny Hardaway
Last night, a report came out that Memphis is strongly considering replacing Tubby Smith with Penny Hardaway, who currently coaches top UK target James Wiseman at Memphis East. While Patrick did not mention Wiseman by name, he did ask Cal about Hardaway, which led to Cal saying a lot of nice things about the four-time NBA All-Star.
“Penny is just a great guy,” Cal said. “Terrific. Does a great job with the kids. He’s a Memphis icon.”
If Penny ends up at Memphis, it’s not just going to be Wiseman he and Cal fight over in years to come. Let’s just hope Wiseman loves Kentucky more than he does the idea of following his head coach to his first college job.
“I always say I’m overrated as a recruiter.”
Inevitably, Patrick asked Cal which recruits have gotten away over the years. Cal didn’t name names, but gave his usual reminder that he doesn’t always get the players he wants.
“I miss on many more than we get. I always say I’m overrated as a recruiter.”
The negative nellies will have a field day with that one.
The Facebook show’s about to get real
Cal spent some time promoting “Inside the Madness,” Kentucky’s Facebook all-access show, which he admits he didn’t want to do at first because “I don’t do all-access shows, I just don’t.” That made me laugh out loud because Kentucky did two prior to this one, but whatever. Regardless, up until now, the show has been a pleasant peek behind the curtain of the youngest team in college basketball history, with the most recent episode showing the Cats’ romp over Louisville. Calipari teased that it’s about to get real as the episodes get into Kentucky’s struggles in SEC play.
“Now, all of a sudden, we’re on a four-game losing streak and they’re saying can we put this mic on you? I said, how abut I put the mic around your neck and choke you? But we went through it and I treated it like they weren’t there. It’s transparent. You get to know these kids.”
“Everyone thinks that these kids don’t belong on a college campus. That is so wrong.”
Calipari spent most of the interview detailing his plan to fix college basketball, which we’ve heard time and time again. Cal doesn’t think it’s a good idea to let kids go straight to the G-League because it would devalue high school education and the system would abandon those that don’t make it. Tony Korhheiser and Michael Wilbon discussed Cal’s comments about that on PTI this week, which must have struck a nerve because Cal was FIRED UP.
“Wilbon and Kornheiser are going back and forth about my statement of don’t devalue education and Tony says, that shouldn’t come from Cal. Wait a minute, why? I like Tony. I really like Tony. Are you telling me that my kids don’t belong on a campus so we shouldn’t talk about it? Are you’re talking about kids, well, they left, that devalues education. No, it doesn’t. One, they all have lifetime scholarships, Dakari Johnson, Julius Randle, now John Wall, Brandon Knight have already started coming back to finish degrees.”
Cue the lifetime scholarship and APR talk. You know how that goes.
“I’m exactly who should talk about the academics. This stuff where these kids don’t go in the second term, that’s a bunch of crap.”
“You think they trust some white guy walking in and giving them money?”
Calipari went on a lengthy rant about how the Players Association should be the ones giving prospects loans so their families don’t have to take them from shoe companies, etc. Listening to it, it’s hard not to think of some of the players and families that have come through the program in recent years like Eric Bledsoe and Bam Adebayo.
“When you open up their refrigerator and there’s a can of corn in there and someone’s offering them money they’re going to take it but they don’t want to take it. They’d rather do their own thing with their family. You know why? No one’s ever done anything for them. You think they trust some white guy walking in and giving them money? They don’t trust that. They know what this is.”
Stop suggesting the baseball rule
In the past, Calipari has advocated a move to the baseball rule, but has backed off that recently, arguing that it wouldn’t work for basketball because there are multiple classifications in minor league baseball (A, AA, AAA), meaning you can last for a long time in the system. That wouldn’t work for basketball.
Calipari’s plan to reform the system
If the one-and-done rule goes away and kids are allowed to go to the pros straight out of high school, Calipari proposes:
1. A combine for high school juniors: “Do a combine for juniors. Take 100 of them. Tell the ones that need to go to college, you need to go to school. You 15 or 12, you need to go directly to the NBA. Let them know.”
2. Let the Players Association give out loans: “You decide to go to college, let the Players Association give these family loans so they can travel with their teams. If they choose to move to a town where their son is going to play, they can take a loan to do it instead of having families move to towns, how the heck did they get there? Let that be legal.”
3. Treat college players like Olympians: “These kids own their rights, their name, their likeness, their autograph. If they want to sign autographs for money, let them do it, it’s theirs. If the school wants to control it, fine. If you want to put it in a fund, fine.”
If none of the that happens…
1. Encourage more families to get disability insurance: Calipari said there’s already a system for the top prospects to get loans through disability insurance with Lloyds of London, but it’s not used enough.
2. Treat college players like Olympians: Again, this should be an easy fix.
3. Get rid of summer basketball or “Make it legal”: It’s no secret that a lot of the third-party nonsense happens on the AAU circuit. Calipari said either get rid of summer basketball or make dealing with agents legal.
“We shouldn’t have summer basketball. For me, I’d rather be with my own players and own family. Second thing, If the coach cannot control it, make it legal. Because if I have no control over it and you’re gonna say I’m responsible for it? Make it legal.”
Above all, do what’s right for the kids, not what’s right for the NBA
“I’m not here to say I want one-and-done. I’m here to tell you what’s best for these kids. Going right out of high school for 15 [prospects]. Do we upset this whole system for 15, 12, 8 kids? Seven kids, 9 kids, 12 kids? Even if it’s 20 kids?”
“We’re talking about African American young people. What are we doing for them? How do we make sure they’re making the right decision for themselves, which is going to affect them the rest of their life?”