Kentucky fans don’t want to hear John Calipari saying the goal of the season was to get eight guys drafted, not win the national championship. Kentucky fans don’t realize what Calipari is doing.
Calipari is making the ultimate sales pitch to recruits and parents of recruits. Do you honestly believe he doesn’t want to win the national title? Have you not heard his players speak?
His goal and the goal of every coach in college basketball is to make lives better for their players after they graduate. Whether it’s getting them drafted, getting them on a team overseas or setting them up for a successful career in a field outside of basketball, it’s all part of coaching. It just so happens that Kentucky is the best at getting players drafted, so that’s part of Calipari’s job.
If Calipari didn’t care about winning titles or winning in general he would have head back to the NBA. He could take whatever team he wanted there and prove that he can still coach in the NBA. But, there’s a reason he passed on options like the Cavaliers and Pelicans.
Rob Dauster at CollegeBasketballTalk made a great point in discussing Calipari selling the program by making comments like this. Dauster said the following:
“This is nothing but a recruiting tactic. Cal’s not stupid. He knows that the biggest reason he’s been to four Final Fours in his six seasons at Kentucky is that he’s turned it into a draft factory. He knows that his ability to convince elite recruits to spend their seven months of basketball purgatory in Lexington is the engine driving his Kentucky program. And he knows that one of the biggest reasons he’s able to continually land players like Karl Towns and DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall and Skal Labissiere is that he makes it very clear he’s going to shove them off to the NBA as quickly as possible.”
You know what? He’s not wrong. There’s a reason Kentucky has been the best program in college basketball since Calipari took over as the head coach. The sole reason is Calipari making sales like this.
Getting someone like Eric Bledsoe to buy in playing alongside John Wall in the backcourt during his first season. Bledsoe could have went anywhere in the country and been the star, but essentially played third fiddle on that team. What about convincing senior Darius Miller to move to a sixth man role on the national title team? Miller was a three-year starter and now being asked to come off the bench? Guess what? It resulted in a title and Miller getting drafted.
This might be his best sales job yet. Coming off a year where the platoon system was the talk of the country, Calipari needs to get people back to remembering that was a one-time deal. If you don’t think recruits want to hear they can make millions of dollars by going to Kentucky and then getting drafted, I’d like to sell you some Radio Shack stock too.