Friday, December 31, 2010

Is John Calipari a Genius?

The coach of the Kentucky Wildcats has certainly been involved in his fair share of controversy.  It all began when he was the coach of the University of Massachussets, when some of his players accepted gifts and money. It continued on with similar problems in Memphis and now he has found himself in Kentucky.  He is not the most liked guy in college basketball, but he continues to win and bring in star recruits; however, I don't think his method towards building a college basketball team is the smartest way to manage a college basketball team.  Now you're probably thinking, what do I know? I'm 5'11 and stopped playing competitive basketball at the age of 14, but his team shows its own weakness: too many good players focused on the NBA.

In his last two seasons coaching, Calipari has had Derrick Rose and John Wall.  Both are stellar point guard talents and were also the last two #1 overall picks in the NBA draft.  After hearing that, you're thinking he has had two very good basketball teams, and yes they were tremendous.  In 2009 Calipari led Memphis to the NCAA championship game and lost.  Earlier in 2010, Kentucky went 35-3, but lost in the Elite Eight int he NCAA tournament to West Virginia.  He saw great success in the two seasons, but in the end he lost, which is all that matters.  He had arguably the two most talented teams in the country both years, but that type of success is hard to maintain.  He relies on star freshmen to win his games, but the lack of experience on his teams has made these teams an underachieving bunch come the NCAA tournament.  In 2009 it was poor free throw shooting, in 2010 they shot 34% from the field.

This season, Calipari is putting his hope in to freshmen: Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones, and Doron Lamb, who are the teams top three scorers so far this year.  Again, you may be thinking, this is a tremendous opportunity for three freshman to gain experience so that next season or the year after that, they will be the best team in the country; however, these players are looking to enter the NBA draft next season.  That makes it even more difficult to win a championship because not only does the team rely on Freshmen, but they'll be gone next year and a few more Freshmen will come in to lead the team.

Compare Calipari's method to building a team to the current coaching legend: Mike Krzyzewski of Duke.  His teams have potential NBA players, but a majority of the Duke Blue Devils stay all four seasons.  Kyle Singler probably would have gone in the top 15 in the NBA draft last year, but he chose to stay and try to win another NCAA championship.  Krzyzewski attempts to graduate his players and that allows his teams to always be in contention and have a longer lasting success.  Unless Calipari is able to find a group of freshmen that have a great chemistry with each other and are able to win the championship, Kentucky will have trouble winning the title.  Finally, I find it nearly impossible for Calipari to win two championships in a row because his players would probably want to enter the NBA.  Yes, Calipari is one of the best recruiting coaches in the NCAA, but I don't see Kentucky winning a championship in the near future.  

No comments:

Post a Comment