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This comment by King Ghidora about coach John Calipari caught me eye the other day:
“I’m starting to think that maybe Cal is the best coach to ever walk the sidelines at UK. Yes I know that’s blasphemy to many but what he’s accomplished in this era rivals the best things Rupp did. It was a lot easier for Rupp to recruit the best players IMO because many teams didn’t give a hoot about basketball. Many did of course but still it’s not like today where every school in the country realizes the awesome moneymaking potential of a good basketball team. Heck they had assistant football coaches and guys from the PE department coach many of the SEC teams back in Rupp’s era. Rupp lobbied hard to get the SEC to take basketball more seriously. Cal doesn’t have to do that.
With the 4 straight #1 recruiting classes, the national title, 5 players going in the first round draft, two players drafted first and second, two #1 draft picks in 3 years, a final 4, undefeated in the SEC, and all this in a time when recruiting wars are epic battles is just amazing. I can only wonder what he could have done with a 40 year run in Lexington. And I have barely scratched the surface on what Cal has brought to the table. His accomplishments just keep stacking up and there doesn’t appear to be any end in sight. Several polls have the Cats ranked #1 for next season.”
What Calipari has done in three year is amazing. But rather than rate where he belongs on the all-time UK coaching list after just three seasons, it brought another question to mind: Where would you rank Calipari among UK coaches when it comes to in-game adjustments?
How does Calipari stack up against Joe Hall, Eddie Sutton, Rick Pitino, Tubby Smith and Billy Gillispie (yes, we have to acknowledge he really did coach at UK for two years)?
Hall, Pitino and Smith also won national titles. Sutton might have if his run at Kentucky had not been so disjointed by personal issues. But which of those coaches, including Calipari, made the best in-game adjustments?