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Calipari talks recruiting, says he’s overrated as a recruiter

Tuesday has been a rough day for John Calipari, considering he lost one of his top recruiting targets, a player he has pursued for two years, in James Wiseman. Calipari seemed dejected throughout his afternoon press conference, and the topic of Wiseman was unavoidable, even if the five-star prospect wasn’t mentioned by name.

We don’t get every kid,” Cal said to start the Q&A. “We get the ones we are supposed to get. It just kinda plays out that way and it always has. It’s not changed my approach to this.”

However, he does wonder if times are changing and kids these days want to hear things will be easy, which has never been his message at Kentucky.

“I gotta be able to sleep at night, knowing that I’m being honest and not embellishing. I’m not saying that against anybody else. Everybody recruits the way they recruit. But you’ve got good programs and good coaches and that’s why we don’t get everybody we recruit. We’re not the only ones out there trying to get good players and trying to help kids.”

When asked about Kentucky’s standing with the elite big men of the class, now that Wiseman is out of the fold, Cal told reporters, “We still have some guys there. It’s funny how it always plays out. The staff’s working at it. There are things that happen, things where, all of the sudden something changed — What happened there? It’s how recruiting is.”

He then said, “Me, personally… I’m overrated as a recruiter. I just try to tell them this is how it is and it’s hard. I want to under-sell and over-deliver.”

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

63 Comments for Calipari talks recruiting, says he’s overrated as a recruiter

  1. Kat4Life
    2:53 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

    I want to oversell and under deliver? Huh ?

    • Drew Franklin
      3:01 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      The other way around

    • Bluebloodtoo
      3:09 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      Said properly, that’s how you get customers for life. In your version, i hope you are selling very large items that only occur once in a lifetime, but even then word of mouth will ensure that you lose a high number of potential customers. That’s really the only sustainable way to sell.

  2. UKLugo
    2:58 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

    Sounds like some Carey foreshadowing.

  3. pcashen
    3:01 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

    He haven’t been happy since monk and fox

  4. Shively1978
    3:08 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

    He’s kinda got a point though. Times have changed kids want everything handed to them they dont want to work for nothing. Most of them put them out in a field stripping tobacco or something of that nature they wouldn’t last an hour. Sad that we have let things get this way.

    • Han
      3:11 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      Said every old person since the beginning of time.

      Get off my lawn, lazy good for nothings!

    • BigolBlue
      3:21 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      Well your name says 1978. If thats the year you were born or those were your prime years. You sound like an old man. The gen before you said the same about you im sure

    • Shively1978
      6:31 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      Yeah I’m sure they did and yes that’s the year I was born but it’s never been this bad. I’m not saying all kids are that way but think about it. Sports are a lot different now than they where even twenty years ago. There was no one and dones. You had to be really really good to get to the NBA. There was no getting drafted on potential. Yes maybe I sound like an old person but with each passing generation it does get worse.

    • JoeMoney333
      3:23 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      Field stripping tabacco is a measuring stick for you? You’re a special kind of grumpy. Lol

    • 4everUKblue
      3:36 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      Say what you want and call him and me whatever you like, but he has a good point even if it pisses you younger ones off. Kids these days want that instant fix/gratification, just open your eyes, look up from your smart phones and pay attention to what’s going on in the world.

    • catsarerunnin
      3:48 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      Got to love the millennials. They know EVERYTHING. Fire Cal and hire one from this site. We will never lose a game. We will win a title every year. It’s that simple.

    • BigolBlue
      9:24 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      Cats runnin is the prototype bad fan. Just like banana. Its you old geezers that worship Cal. 1 title

    • bigbluebanana
      9:45 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      I’m your age you cuck. You still have no rebuttal to my “who has done better at UK than Cal?” question. You’re the one that sounds all ‘get off my lawn’ with your CONSTANT b!tching. You have no argument ever other than griping. $20 says you drive some sort of lifted truck and that Herro is your favorite player.

    • Bluebloodtoo
      3:50 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      I’d argue that everyone here is right. I do think things have changed faster lately, but every generation does have that complaint. And I’d qualify as an old person to at least half of these readers.

    • TonyMontana
      3:53 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      These athletes are extremely hard working and driven from what I have seen. They have major goals and train hard everyday of their life to get 5-star status. I dont think they want to be babied.

      Everybody is losing their mind here. We still have more 5-star recruits than any other team in the past 3 years, did you know that? We’re the only team with two Top-10 recruits for next year, did you know that?

      Yes… I feel the pain, we should be winning more and we’re missing on the Top 5 guys for whatever reason. But lord have mercy, do you remember the Billy G days? You wanna go back? We’re lucky to be who we are and get who get and be coached by Cal. You are taking what you have for granted, big time.

    • 4everUKblue
      5:44 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      It’s funny how the same “fans” that were complaining about Hami not playing his first season are the same ones complaining that he should be benched the second season.

    • 4everUKblue
      5:55 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      And to be clear, I was not knocking any of our players, Cal may not get all the best but the ones he gets are high character young men and that’s one of the things I like about him. He does not sacrifice his integrity or the Universities for the sake of getting a recruit like many other coaches do, and we all know who they are if we’ve been reading the news.

    • slangterm
      9:15 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      Doesn’t sound old at all. Sounds like a man. I’m 36, and these kids think that’s old. People dont wanna work, that’s fine, you get what you earn.

    • BigolBlue
      9:23 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      Slang. Im 33. But i dont talk like an old man.

  5. StuckinLville
    3:08 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

    Change ur pitch! Ur always ahead of the pack until they catch up so switch it up

  6. Skooms
    3:10 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

    I’ve never knocked on Cal’s recruiting, but if you go back to his intro press conference he said one of the reasons he was hired is because he gets the “best of the best” high school recruits. That was true 10 years ago, but something has changed in the last few years. We could point to Coach O leaving, but Cal still landed the Monk, Fox, Bam trio WITHOUT Coach O. So that shows that although it may not be easy, he can still do it. By the way, Coach K’s class for next year is even in worse shape than UK’s and it’s not looking like it’s going improve much. I wouldn’t be surprised if he calls it quits finally in the next couple of years.

    • 4everUKblue
      5:56 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      Can you say duffel bag drop?

    • BigolBlue
      7:34 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      Thats all 4 ever says. So cal musta been clean when he was gettin the top guys

    • bigbluebanana
      7:45 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      Calling someone else out for being repetitive…that’s rich coming from your top mind.

    • chris43
      8:27 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      I’m not exactly sure what’s changed but it’s obvious something has. We don’t seem to get the elite cream of the crop guys like we used to (top 5). I’m a huge Cal supporter BUT sometimes you have to change with the times and stay a step ahead. I wish that we’d attempt to recruit more shooters. Not to get it twisted…it’s extremely hard to win a championship. But if you’re going to attempt it with one and dones they’re most likely going to have to be cream of the crop players (SGA types are far and in between). If you’re getting the 6-15’s with the better ones leaving…most likely you’re finishing how we have been lately sweet 16-elite 8 etc. that’s still very good bite Duke is closing on us fast. If ya can’t get cream of the crop I’d be fine with a few down years…get a couple one and done guys each year and after that…find 3-4 year players who you can develop. I realize much easier said than done.

  7. az1006
    3:11 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

    Look, if Penny didn’t get hired at Memphis, Wiseman was coming here. Penny didn’t “steal” Wiseman…If Penny were coaching somewhere else, he probably would have gotten him there too. It’s clear the kid wanted to play for Penny, because he knows him. Knows him well, actually. It sucks, but there isn’t much Cal or anybody else could have done. Penny is going to dominate recruiting in and around Memphis, but it remains to be seen how that translates on a national scale.

    • Han
      3:14 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      Penny’s no longer coaching AAU, so his direct connection ends soon. Memphis hired him to get Wiseman (and Jeffries). Whether he continues to get top kids from the area or not depends on how he does at Memphis. Pastner started out as a great recruiter, even undercutting us, and then people saw he couldn’t coach or handle the egos of the players he got.

    • jaws2
      3:16 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      Finally, logic prevails!! BRAVO!!

    • BigolBlue
      3:22 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      Its not so much just wiseman. Its all the players hes missed combined and the mediocracy lately. And lack of titles

    • bigbluebanana
      3:49 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      Yep, hate landing those AD type of consolation prizes. Poor us.

    • az1006
      3:26 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      Memphis saw the crop of high-level recruits they had coming up (specifically Wiseman) and Tubby was a terrible fit for Memphis from the very start. It was a matter of time, so they expedited the process to get him out to bring Penny in. In all reality, talks with Penny, boosters, those that would fund the buy-out for Smith and Penny’s contract, etc. probably went on for months behind the scenes, even before Tubby was let go. This was a business decision. If James Wiseman weren’t from Memphis, Tubby would probably still be the coach, and Wiseman would have committed to Kentucky six months ago.

    • az1006
      3:31 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      Big Ol Blue, that’s your opinion and you’re prerogative to have it. I just don’t agree. The lack of titles is, honestly, the dumbest argument in the world when you consider how much has to go right to do it. Having a team capable of doing it should be the standard, and Cal’s kept up that end of the bargain.

      It’s a bit frustrating that he’s missed on the top echelon guys the last couple of years, but he’s still getting ridiculous classes. “Mediocrity” is a relative term. Look at what Duke had last year, and they didn’t even make the Final Four. If Luke Maye’s jumper rims out, maybe we win another title. It’s a crapshoot, even if you have the most talent. Having a seat at the table is all you can really ask, and Cal’s continuing to deliver that (even if the recruiting rankings don’t meet your ridiculous standard).

    • henderblue
      10:42 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      You tell it az1006. All true ^^^

    • bigblue2284
      4:10 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      az fans get focused on titles because Cal put the expectation there. I’m not saying it wasn’t there before but he pushed the expectation at his first BBM. We aren’t reloading with NBA talent but with overrated HS players who are looking to coast by and be drafted on “potential”. I wonder how Tandy feels watching all these 5* PG Cal choose over him?

    • Soylentbeans
      4:44 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      Yeah because players like SGA just coast by. Sure Some kids do just want to coast by. I’m sure everybody probably has a couple people at there place of employment that just want to coast by.

      Also I’m super glad that you can already tell that Tandy is going to be a better college guard than any o f the guys we have and the ones coming in next year. Please tell me my future.

    • bigblue2284
      4:51 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      I think Tandy will be as good as any PG on the current roster if that’s what your asking me. SGA is antidotal not the norm, we have seen far more Skal, Vanderbilt, Washington, Diallo types than SGA. You want to use one player exceeding expectations as your bases, I’ll even throw you a bone and give you Booker as another. Don’t act like that happens more often than not because thats foolish.

    • Soylentbeans
      5:55 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      I saw what you were saying and even agreed with you to a point. I just dont see it the same as you. I think the ones that just want to coast by are fewer than those that dont. We have maybe 1or 2 every year that want to sleep through there 1 year not like 5 or 6.

    • bigbluebanana
      7:50 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      Exceeding expectations: MKG, AD, Teague, Knight, Lamb, Liggins, Terrence Jones, Randle, Harrelson, WCS, both Harrison’s, flipping Ulis for crying out loud! And you only throw a bone with Booker? GTFO of here man, how clueless are you?

    • 4everUKblue
      5:58 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      Well hell let’s just hire Bigolbluedumbass as our coach, that would solve all our problems.

    • henderblue
      10:41 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      Problems solved right there…BigolBluedumbass

  8. clarks
    3:40 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

    worlds ending cal cant recruit can only get #2 class blah blah blah.we will be fine and in the hunt next year and we not out of it this year.we all knew this was very possible when penny was hired.

  9. kysportsblog
    3:40 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

    Cal isn’t willing to do some of the stuff other people do, like maybe hiring the kids AAU coach. Kentucky will be fine. One guy doesn’t ruin a season.

    Follow me on Twitter: @kysportsblog

    • UKfan1979
      4:35 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      Just keeping it real here: Cal may not have taken part in any AAU shenanigans (that we know of), but it’s naive to think any coach can get a steady influx of NBA talent for 8-10 years without bending the rules here and there.

  10. Headhurts
    3:43 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

    Thing is we’re not back to the Adolf Rupp days, and Cal is as good as any coach we’ve had since and yes that includes 15 seconds Rick, besides who else is out there that would put up with our crazy fan expectations?

    • bigbluebanana
      3:50 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      Perfectly put.

    • Soylentbeans
      5:58 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      It took Rupp 18 years to win his first title just sayin.

    • 4everUKblue
      5:59 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      Any sane recruit who made the mistake of reading the comments on this site would never want to play ball here.

  11. bigblue2284
    3:51 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

    When you say your recruiting the best of the best and we are the standard you get these expectations, you don’t get to cry about being held to that standard when things aren’t great. Cal created the hype and has largely disappointed except in 2012 when he had a once in a generation player.

  12. binarysolo
    4:09 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

    When your business model is putting together the top young talent and you stop getting all the top young talent, you gotta adjust.

    If you follow this template with 2nd and 3rd choice players it’s just not the same. This was loud and clear against Duke.

    Let’s see how Cal modifies his approach. He’s gonna be miserable if he stubbornly refuses to change.

    • BigBlue4Three
      4:25 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      But, but, but…”we’re the 2nd youngest team in the country” and “they don’t know how to yet” and “Kentucky isn’t for everybody” and “it’s hard” and “our fans are crazy” and “i made a tweak” and any number of other excuses and soundbites I’ve heard over and over for the last 10 years.

      Bottom line in any profession, you adapt to the changing times or you get run over. Cal refuses to adapt and his “UK isn’t for everyone; Compete against the best; No guarantees; We’ll get to the NBA quicker” recruiting schtick has not aged well.

    • henderblue
      10:49 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      You’re exactly right 4everUKblue. Hopefully recruits aren’t reading this crap.

  13. UKfan1979
    4:29 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

    How long till the Cal-to-the-NBA rumor mill heats up again? I can’t see him staying here past his son’s graduation if he’s not recruiting lottery picks every year.

  14. kybirdieman
    5:09 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

    I agree with Cal, he is OVERRATED!

  15. lexslamman
    5:20 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

    If Cal isn’t a great recruiter, then what is he?

    • kybirdieman
      6:19 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

      Should be a politician with all his B’S. You see the same every year, no on ball defense, no 3 point defense, and only score in transition or dunks, shooting is terrible.

  16. mrpokerchips
    5:44 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

    These kids and their families have to make very hard choices. We. Any begin to imagine what it looks like from their perspective.

    Our program is elite among the 300+ division one programs out there since Cal arrived no matter how you measure. We get spoiled and take things for granted sometimes.

    I’m proud of where we came from, where we are and where it looks like we are going.


  17. Shively1978
    6:54 pm November 20, 2018 Permalink

    I know it’s partially because I’m a UK fan but I just don’t see how when you look at the history it’s a hard choice. 5 different coaches have won titles in 5 different decades. What other program can say that. Duke has a good coach but he is Duke. Everytime he has been sick or out they have had a loosing record in that time. Penny hasn’t proven himself as a college coach. There are two reasons why I think Cal is struggling to get the top guys now. One they want to be The MAN somewhere and probly not happening at UK or its not guaranteed and because our fan base can be brutal if you don’t live up to the hype. But no fan base in America loves these players more than Big blue Nation either. Point UK is still the Premier program of basketball and that will not change with or without Cal.

  18. Suffering Fools
    8:27 am November 21, 2018 Permalink

    It’s well known that Coach Krzyzyzyzyz’s sales pitch is promising them the moon… “we’ll take care of you the rest of your life.” That’s always going to appeal to some kids, but it’s not reason enough to switch to the duffel-bag approach.

  19. bluecat15
    8:52 am November 21, 2018 Permalink

    Memphis relevance ???. 2008 runner-up with CAL.

  20. dgtuk
    9:24 am November 21, 2018 Permalink

    Will we ever see Swaggy Cal again? Miss him.

  21. Papaw
    11:45 am November 21, 2018 Permalink

    We believe you Cal. No argument here