Most Recent Posts
- Calipari will be honorary pace car driver for Kentucky Speedway NASCAR race
- Neal Brown on Mobley, Sanders, Miller, Borden, Shields, Kendrick, Timmons and more
- Humphrey “grateful” that Archie Goodwin got to play under John Calipari
- Brown says line, receiver are offensive recruiting needs; OL Kelly commits
- Goodwin getting “postive feedback” from workouts with various NBA teams
- Ohio twins will transfer from Pittsburgh to Kentucky
- Photo Gallery: Alex Poythress at Camp Cal
- Ohio RB Mikel Horton did all he could to help convince Georgia RB Boom Williams to commit to UK
By LARRY VAUGHT
Finally there has been a few days where Louisville coach Rick Pitino can feel like heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s having a better week than Kentucky coach John Calipari.
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not happened often in the last year Ã¢â‚¬â€ and certainly didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t last week when Calipari convinced Indianapolis junior point guard Marquis Teague to commit to UK instead of Louisville where he had been leaning for months. Remember, TeagueÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s father and uncle once played for Pitino and one of his former assistant coaches now works at Louisville. But he still picked Kentucky.
This week, though, the Cards landed 6-10 center Gorgui Dieng, a Senegal native. He averaged 15 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocked shots per game at Huntington (W. Va.) Prep School and was named MVP of last month’s Kentucky Derby Festival Classic.
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s better than Calipari did because Wednesday he lost North Carolina power forward C.J. Leslie to North Carolina State. Considering Calipari has landed John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, Enes Kanter, Brandon Knight, Doron Lamb, Stacey Poole, Michael Gilchrist and Teague since arriving at UK a little over a year ago, it had almost become a foregone conclusion that if he wanted a player, he got him.
Calipari has taken the state Ã¢â‚¬â€ and national Ã¢â‚¬â€ spotlight from Pitino. Kentucky has gone from a team without direction like it was for two years under Billy Gillispie while Pitino had Final Four contenders to a team positioned to be a national championship contender annually. Louisville barely made the NCAA field this year and doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t look like a championship contender next year.
Pitino does have a cool new arena to move into soon, but he also still has to deal with the extortion trial of Karen Cunagin Sypher, the woman he admitted to having a one-night affair with and then had her to try to extort money from him.
SypherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s trial is scheduled to start in June and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s more bad publicity that Pitino certainly does not need. Meanwhile, Calipari has become the darling of the Big Blue faithful and seems to always have a national media presence. He was even on stage Tuesday with rapper Drake during a Memorial Coliseum concert.
Pitino did a magnificent job restoring the UK program to respectability and winning a national championship before bolting for the NBA. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s never had the same success at Louisville and has been unable to match the frenzy he created with UK. But Calipari has put the sizzle back into UK basketball.
Pitino has the lead over Calipari this week. Of course, that could well end Friday if Oregon forward Terrence Jones picks UK. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s much higher rated than Gorgui Dieng and would put Calipari one up on Pitino again this week.
Calipari made it clear when he came to Kentucky that he couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t wait to compete with Pitino. So far, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ahead and seems in position to keep widening the margin over the coach who once did so much for Kentucky basketball.