Right after Kentucky won the National Championship, tweets started rolling in about John Calipari possibly leaving the team to bolt to the NBA and coach the New York Knicks. Honestly, I thought it was funny as they said things like, “How long will it be until Kentucky get’s vacated and Calipari makes the jump to the NBA?”
However, don’t expect it happening. After helping the Wildcats win their eighth title, Calipari is focused on breaking UCLA’s record of ten National Championships.
“Kentucky is the best job in basketball coaching,” Calipari said. “Why would I leave? We just won the national title. We’re chasing UCLA.”
Calipari has been in the NBA before, where he coached the New Jersey Nets for three years before his legendary season with UMass when he led them to the Final Four. He then worked as an assistant with the Philadelphia 76ers until he headed to Memphis and coached them for nine years.
“All of those teams know I’m not doing anything,” Calipari said. “I’m not changing. I’m going to continue to see my friends who coach in the NBA and see my former players who play in the NBA. I’m going to continue to go to games.”
Calipari has done a great job on helping many NBA players reach the NBA, such as Derrick Rose, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Brandon Knight, and soon-to-be Anthony Davis. Calipari has also mastered the recruiting system of “one-and-done” players.
I think it’s a good idea by Calipari doing this. It’s better to be in Kentucky with a good program, great fans, nice area, and a great team than the Knicks. New York has been filled with drama that even Calipari doesn’t want to deal with. He’ll let Mike Woodson handle that.
This situation is much like Nick Saban’s with the Alabama Crimson Tide in college football. Everyone expects him to leave, but he’s going to stay there now for good.
Besides, Coach Cal has a great thing going for him entering next season as he plans to lead a new group of players, including top-recruit Shabazz Muhammad.
Looks to be another exciting year of college basketball next year.