The rivalry that currently exists between Duke and Kentucky in recruiting isn’t clouding John Calipari’s judgement on what Mike Krzyzewski has accomplished.
“He’s an icon,” Calipari said Tuesday on the College Hoops Today Podcast. “He’s more than a basketball coach. Anyone that can do this for 40 years and change the way he’s doing things and still have success is at a different level. They run an unbelievable program and they have a for a long time.”
Calipari has accomplished many things during his Hall-of-Fame career, but he’s never played the Blue Devils in the NCAA Tournament.
“It would mean more for the sport than it would for me,” Calipari said when asked what it would mean to coach against Duke during college basketball’s most fabled showcase. “We had two opportunities to play them. In 2010, we would have played them in the Final Four if we beat West Virginia, but we went 0-20 from three-point range. Then in 2014, we were up four late against Wisconsin in the Final Four and didn’t close things out. If we would have won those two games, we would have played Duke, but it wasn’t in the cards.”
Both programs are now competing for the top prospects in high school basketball on an annual basis.
The Blue Devils and Wildcats are both consensus top-five teams heading into the 2016-17 season.
Jon Rothstein has been a college basketball insider for CBS Sports since 2010 and is the lead college basketball columnist for the FanRag Sports Network. He is also the host of the College Hoops Today Podcast via Compass Media Networks, which is available via iTunes. Rothstein is also a regular in-studio correspondent for both WFAN and CBS Sports Radio. He currently lives in Manhattan.