Why John Calipari — AKA King Pyrrhus — Won’t Win Next Year
By now you’ve heard John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and two other freshmen (plus one junior) are ditching Kentucky for the NBA’s greener (figuratively and literally) pastures.
And Kentucky Coach John Calipari is kinda sorta maybe pissed:
I don’t agree with the rule now. I think that, one, kids should be able to go directly to the League if that’s what they choose to do. And if they go to college, they should stay two years or maybe three. The way it is right now it’s really hard…
True that. First Derrick Rose ditches Coach Cal after one year after Memphis*, then Wall and Cousins can’t make it past 12 months in Lexington.
So what can a college coach do? Reignite the recruiting fireworks — Kentucky now claims the top recruit of 2010 AND 2011, along with Turkish ex-professional Enes Kanter and highly-touted swingman Stacey Poole.
That’s three likely freshman contributors next year, plus one for 2011, and Calipari still has a few more months to sign more elites. MSNBC supposes Kentucky might finish with “the biggest two-year recruiting haul in hoops history.”
So congrats, Kentucky. You’re riding the momentum of a fantastic recruiting streak, undoubtedly helped by the signees (who often persuade other high school stars to join them in their ivory towers).
But let’s step back — does this actually guarantee victories? Coach Cal’s recruiting hauls from last year netted the SEC Crown (barely), but their collegiate careers never lasted past the Elite Eight. Should we suppose another freshman-heavy squad (which 2010-2011 certainly smells like) should go any further?
Frankly, no. Check out the starters of 2010’s title game: four seniors, three juniors, three sophomores and ZERO FRESHMEN. Zilch. Nada.
Coach Cal may have won the battle today, but as King Pyrrhus learned, he likely lost the overall war. Kentucky has the headlines today, but its perpetuation of this one-and-done trend (an admitted assumption, albeit a damned likely one) means Duke, Gonzaga, or another experienced school will get the pub in early April**.
In summation: Coach Cal may bitch, but the dude hasn’t learned. Granted, it’s tough to reject McDonald’s All-Americans, but a reanalysis of Wildcat recruiting might be in order. Could too much success during the Asculum of recruiting season undercut the overall fortunes of the Pyrrhic War/March Madness?
* Of course, Calipari did leave Memphis under the, ahem, not best of terms as well …
** Because March Madness ends in April. Genius scheduling, N-C-two-A.