We all pick up perceptions of people, it is an easy thing to do in the society we live in. We do not have to ever meet someone to get a good idea of what they are like as a person thanks to social media, TV, radio, etc.. Sometimes those perceptions are dead on,sometimes they are way off and then there are times when those perceptions are forced to change a little.
John Calipari has always left a bad taste in my mouth, even when he was at UMass. There was just something about the way he acts on the bench and in interviews that just gets under my skin. The rappers around the locker room, the tantrums he sometimes throws on the bench.You add the fact that both UMass and Memphis got in trouble for NCAA violations after he left, it is easy to see when some in the media and college basketball fans do not like him.
But lately I find my perception of Calipari being forced to change. I don’t completely want to change what I think of the man if I am being honest, but some of the arguments I had about the way he did things are either being proven wrong or he is changing.
One of the main reasons I didn’t like the way he runs a program is the fact that his freshman would leave so quickly and show very little excitement for really being apart of the university, his first team at Kentucky comes to mind. Now he seems to be getting players who want to be in college and want to develop their game, maybe even win a national championship. Players like Willie Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress have silenced most critics to Calipari’s one-and-done system. Cauley-Stein was considered by many to be a top 15 draft pick, hard for me to say Cal only gets one-and-dones now.
To go along with the one-and-done criticism is that his players do not care about academics. Well the UK men’s basketball team had a perfect APR score for the 2012-13 school year. His team this past season had a GPA of 3.11.
Other critics have also questioned whether Calipari is really a good coach or not, saying things like “anyone can win games with that much talent” or “he is just not an X’s and O’s kind of coach”. Welp, he certainly did something with his team this past season with that famous “tweak”. He some how got a team who was on the bubble in February to a team that almost won the National Championship.
But isn’t Calipari going to leave as soon as he gets a shot to go back to the NBA? He has had several opportunities to leave now since coming to Kentucky and he keeps staying. Just in the past few months he has been mentioned for the New York Knicks, LA Lakers and most recently the Cleveland Cavaliers job. Calipari keeps shooting down rumors though.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are still things that bug me about John Calipari. But I must say there are things that I used to think about him that I can’t anymore. The good news is that he is Kentucky’s coach, so I can always rely on that for my dislike for him.
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