At the University of Kentucky, they expect perfection from their men’s basketball program. No exceptions. No excuses. That’s why the school gave John Calipari a 7-year extension to stay on at Kentucky to keep Big Blue Nation at the top of the college basketball world.
Because of that extension & trust that Kentucky is putting in Calipari, he now becomes the most scrutinized coach in all of college sports, more than Nick Saban at Alabama, Billy Donovan at Florida, Tom Izzo (Basketball) & Mark D’antonio (Football) at Michigan State, Charlie Strong (football) at Texas, Mike Krzyzewski (Men’s Basketball) at Duke.
Kentucky basketball alone is treated with the same intensity as the entire SEC is in the south. The team is expected to not only make it to the NCAA Final Four each year, but if there isn’t a banner hanging from Rupp Arena, the fans will be calling for a coach’s head.
While many fans have warmed up to Calipari because of how he has led the Wildcats to the National Championship in 2012, Final Four appearances in 2011, 2012 & 2014, Elite Eight in 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2014, & the Sweet 16 in those same years, the fans always worried because many people know that Calipari has an NBA past & has always flirted with the idea of coaching in the NBA again.
Yahoo! Sports reported this morning that Calipari was weighing a 7-year, $60 million deal to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team that is on the rise with young players such as Kyrie Irving, an outside possibly of LeBron James & a top pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. Calipari realized that he has the pick of the litter in college basketball & can sell young players on coming to the winningest program in college basketball with a wild fan base & would be able to compete for National Championships each season.
This past season, Calipari had one of the best freshman classes in the country with Julius Randle & the Harrison twins anchoring the team. The team faltered through the season, went from being a preseason favorite to a #8 seed in the NCAA Tournament & went all the way to the NCAA Championship Game before losing to UConn. Recruiting skills or not, Calipari can coach with the best in college basketball history.
However, this year his recruiting will be outstanding, with having 4 of the ESPN top 100 players coming in for the upcoming season – Trey Lyles (#2 PF), Karl Towns Jr. (#3 C), Devin Booker (#3 SG) & Tyler Ulls (#4 PG), so the Wildcats will be ready to dominate this upcoming season, & they have the Harrison twins & Willie Cauley-Stein coming back for a junior season. Along with having some great prospects committed for 2015 & 2016, the Wildcats are ready to continue the dynasty at Big Blue Nation for a while, & Calipari will be the man running it.
For the extension that he received & the cash he will receive, he has to win. No question about it. The pressure will be on, but Coach Cal has handled the pressure as well as his basketball team handles business on the court – with winning.