Rick Pitino: “No one has recruited like John (Calipar)”

John Calipari (Vicky Graff Photo)


After Louisville beat Kentucky last week, Cardinals coach Rick Pitino said UK had “dominated” the series recently — and he was right.

It was just Louisville’s second win in 10 tries against Kentucky coach John Calipari in his eight seasons with the Wildcats. Even though many of the losses were close, PItino said that did not matter.

“That’s not the way it works in basketball. You lose you lose, whether it is 2 points or 9. So, we’ve played good basketball against them, but they’ve had — and I say this not only in victories but also in defeats — there are a number of programs, Kentucky is Kentucky,” Pitino said.

“I don’t mean to demean John (Calipari) when I say this, but no one has recruited like John in the business. If you look at the NBA right now, you’ve got Karl Towns, you’ve got Anthony Davis, you got John Wall—they play great at the next level—so he’s evaluated great.

“I knew him (Calipari) when he wasn’t a great recruiter, and we played him in the Final Four when I was at Kentucky and he beat us early in the year. He is an outstanding teacher of the game—but sometimes when you get all of these great players—he puts those guys in areas that they can score.

“He’s done a great job for a long, long time — and the talent that he assembles — the thing that is impressive to me — he doesn’t miss much on evaluation. Like, (Alex( Poythress got hurt, but he doesn’t miss much at evaluating—we all miss a lot in evaluating—he doesn’t miss much.

“When he thinks a guy can play, the guy can really play. Duke’s in the same scenario now—and we’ve got a great recruiting class so. You want it to be a great rivalry, not come close, you’ve got to get a victory and we finally did.”

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