Even though the media’s been trying to pit John Calipari and Bill Self against each other as rivals for years, there’s never been any real animosity between the two, except for maybe some jealousy on Self’s part for Calipari’s success on the recruiting trail. Calipari’s 3-1 in games against Self, all three of his wins coming at Kentucky. They’ve squared off in the National Championship game twice, with Self winning the 2008 title over Calipari’s Memphis squad, and, of course, Cal winning the 2012 title with Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, etc.
Yesterday, Self was asked about his relationship with Cal and told reporters they’re “very cordial and all that,” and, in fact, he wouldn’t mind breaking bread with him sometime in the future:
“Cal and I are fine, very cordial and all that stuff. We haven’t broken bread together lately at dinner, but I don’t do that a lot with a lot of coaches. But I would welcome it.”
I think Self’s asking Cal out, don’t you? Are there any good Italian places in Lawrence?
There’s the Larry Brown connection between the two, Calipari working on Ted Owens’ and Brown’s staff at Kansas from 1982-1985 and Self working on Brown’s staff as a grad assistant in 1985.
“He has Kansas ties, obviously, working here,” Self said of Cal. “I’m sure that, although he left before I got here, I’m sure he’s much older, but I’m sure that there’s always been a connection because I was with KU with Coach Brown and he was with KU with Coach Brown and Coach Owens.”
(Hang on there, buddy, Cal’s only three years older than you. Besides, who’s the one wearing the hair piece? I digress.)
After managing his fair share of one-and-dones at a program that demands the best, Self says he has a lot of respect for Cal.
“I don’t have any issues with Cal whatsoever. I think he’s done a remarkably great job at a place that is not an easy place to coach,” Self said. “I think people look at Kansas and Kentucky and Carolina and Duke, and there’s more, there’s more blue-blood schools out there, and you just think, well, you should win, you’re at these places. Well, that is partly true. That is partly true, but there’s a lot of different type waters you’ve got to navigate in order to make it a pretty smooth place, and you know, he’s done an unbelievable job at doing that there in Lexington.”
Yes, he has.