By RENE CORNETTE
It’s long been the narrative of most sporting media that Kentucky coach John Calipari is ruining college basketball by recruiting one and done players. John Calipari has turned into the whipping boy for a rule he never put in place. A rule that other top coaches like Bill Self, Roy Williams and even the untouchable Mike Krzyzewski use. A rule that benefits the NBA. A rule that just by recruiting one and dones ties Calipari’s hands every year.
Calipari doesn’t keep most of his players for three or four years, but instead after pushing them to grow and develop in only one year he sends them on to the NBA to better their lives and their families. That’s not the makings of a selfish, evil coach. That’s the makings of a coach who is bettering and changing generations of families just by changing one 19- year-old kid’s life first. That doesn’t fit the narrative the sports media wants you to believe about Calipari though. That’s the John Calipari they ignore and leave out of their articles and talking points on television. That’s the John Calipari that doesn’t get clicks on their links or hundreds of mentions on Twitter. That’s the John Calipari that’s more beneficial to ignore than acknowledge because every good story needs a bad guy and the media decided long ago, Calipari would be theirs.
John Calipari’s players have been called “rent-a-players.” Rent-a-players who donate millions back to the university they attended for only one year. Rent-a-players who return every summer back to Lexington to play in an alumni game for charity. Rent-a-players whom Calipari refers to as his sons. Sons he flies to watch play in their NBA games. Sons he counsels when it’s needed. Sons he tweets about constantly while sounding like the proud father he is. Sons who he welcomes back to Kentucky with open arms because what the sports media doesn’t understand is it only takes one year for players to become family. There’s not a timeframe for that. There never was and there never will be.
Four of the top 10 recruits in the 2014 class, Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor, Stanley Johnson and Cliff Alexander announced Friday afternoon where they’d be attending college on ESPNU and none of them chose Kentucky. Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor were good to their word and chose Duke, going as a package deal. Cliff Alexander picked Kansas while Stanley Johnson chose to stay on the West Coast and attend Arizona. They are all expected to be one and dones yet shockingly they chose to go somewhere other than the University of Kentucky. I think it’s time to get a new narrative, sporting media. The old one’s not working anymore.