John Calipari aims to find the next batch of Kentucky Wildcats
John Calipari, you just led the Kentucky Wildcats to the national championship! What are you going to do next?
Anyone who knows anything about the 53-year-old coach knows his answer to that question would have nothing to do with a Disney theme park. But he is going on a trip — a recruiting trip, naturally, right after a quick visit with his daughter in Massachusetts.
“Right now I’m going to have two days, and then I’ve got to go out recruiting Friday. ... I’m just looking forward,” Calipari said after the Wildcats’ 67-59 victory over Kansas in Monday’s title game. “Let’s keep marching.”
Maybe that’s just how the guy likes to relax. After all, recruiting is something he’s extremely good at. He has had the top-ranked recruiting class in each of his three years with Kentucky, with five players from his first class going in the first round of the NBA draft and three more reaching the pro level last year.
A common criticism of Calipari has been that all the great recruiting he’s done over the years has never translated into a national title. He’s come close, reaching the NCAA semifinals with Massachusetts in 1996, the championship game with Memphis in 2008 (both of those results were later vacated by the NCAA, although Calipari was not implicated) and the Final Four last season.
Now that criticism no longer applies to Calipari, who is likely to lose a large chunk of his championship team to the NBA once again. Senior Darius Miller won’t be back. Chances are, most or all of Calipari’s starting lineup — Final Four Most Outstanding Player Anthony Davis, fellow freshmen Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague and sophomores Doron Lamb and Terrence Jones — won’t be either.
And all that is just fine with Calipari. It just means more notoriety for the program — and more relaxing trips for him.
“What I’m hoping is there’s six first-rounders on this team. We were the first program to have five, let’s have six,” Calipari said. “That’s why I’ve got to go recruiting on Friday.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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