Kentucky's John Calipari should get credit for ... ?

Leading off: Don’t hate Calipari, just hate his game

Published: Sunday, Apr. 6, 2014 - 11:51 pm
Last Modified: Monday, Apr. 7, 2014 - 1:56 pm

Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari doesn't wear a black hat and greasy, handle-bar mustache. But as for being college basketball's villain, nobody wears the reputation better.

That's because he takes advantage of college basketball's one-and-done system better than any coach since taking the Kentucky job. Many say it's Calipari's exploitation of college freshmen that has ruined the game. But Calipari didn't create the rule, - the NBA requires players to be at least 19 years old and be out of high school for at least one year - he just goes about it better than the rest.

Since becoming the Wildcats' coach five seasons ago, Calipari's teams have reached the Elite Eight four times, and the Final Four three times.

Tonight against Connecticut, Calipari will look to win his second national championship. He'll start five freshmen in the NCAA Tournament final, the first time that's been done since Chris Webber led Michigan's Fab Five in 1992.

Nobody gets the most out of raw talent in such a short amount of time than Calipari. He builds championship-caliber teams like a Detroit assembly line makes cars. Once one is out the door, it's on to the next.

Calipari is the Pied Piper of high school basketball talent, teenagers looking to bridge the gap between preps and pros. Since the 2009-10 season, 17 of Calipari's Wildcats - more than four per season - have been drafted into the NBA.

Led by power forward Julius Randle, all five of tonight's starters could be drafted this summer, potentially four in the first round.

Like a proud teacher on graduation night, Calipari will be at Madison Square Garden on draft night to congratulate his team.

Then it's to the next.

Today’s poll

Kentucky’s John Calipari should get credit for ... ?

• Being a great college basketball coach

• Exploiting young talent for his success

• Neither

• Both

Vote above, or go to sacbee.com/sports

Weekend results

Should the Kings bring back TV broadcasters Grant Napear and Jerry Reynolds?

• Both of them: 44%

• Napear only: 7%

• Reynolds only: 14%

• Replace both: 36%

Total votes: 385

Read more articles by Victor Contreras

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