By LARRY VAUGHT
Seeing other schools have combines for NBA scouts or do other things that John Calipari has done at Kentucky is the “ultimate compliment” any rival could give UK and Calipari. However, he also knows a thing or two about borrowing ideas.
“Can I just tell you, everything all of us do is stolen from somebody. The people that are around me that give me ideas that I pass along or we try, the one thing I never do, I never give credit to anybody but myself. So I take all of the ideas. So everybody thinks that all of the ideas are mine,” he joked.
“ Let me just tell you something. Whether it’s staff, whether it’s what we’re doing on social media, there’s always a group. I don’t want to be in there trying to think I have all the answers because I don’t. The reality is this is a group effort here.
“When they talk about it takes a village, to coach at this place, if you think you’re going to go here and do this by yourself, good luck. That’s when they find coaches in the fetal position under the desk, like where is he? He’s hiding under there. You can’t do this. And you got to listen to everything.
“And the reason is, if we’re going to stay the gold standard, we’re going to stay ahead of the curve, well, then, when people try to do the things we’re doing, we’re trying to do more. We’re trying to do something different. We’re coming at it a different way. That, for me, to be honest, is the fun part. Coming up with things and getting in a group, what do you guys think? There’s many things that we’ve thrown out or tried, didn’t work. Or we’re like, ooh, don’t do that. A lot of that in-house stuff that I thought let’s do this, and they all laugh. Are you crazy? You know what that would do? But it’s fun. This is different. The way we’re doing this is different.”
He said his players have “lifetime scholarships” to come back to UK to finish their education if they leave early for the NBA and many are already doing that.
“They get involved in the community. You know the fund-raising we bring the team together and do. You know what we try to do. We’re trying to do everything here and making sure you don’t get away from the fact they want to be the best version of themselves on the court,” Calipari said. “Their families want to be comfortable that they’re going to be the best version of themselves off the court, and that’s what we’re trying to do here.”