If there’s such a thing as Zen recruiting, John Calipari is the master of it.
Coach Cal has a way of showing up in the right places and knowing the right people. Even when he’s not phoning a high school kid or visiting a prep school game, he’s putting forth the image of a winner, and someone who is ineffably cool. He somehow manages to radiate street cred despite being a 53-year-old man with slicked-back hair.
Nobody has embraced the internet as a recruiting tool like Calipari has. Just this week, he casually tweeted a photo of himself backstage at a Jay-Z concert, with the headliner — bathed in the spotlight — just over his left shoulder. He threw in an image of him alongside Nets coach Avery Bradley and another with Magic Johnson.
Well played, sir. Well played.
He even made light of his checkered history with the hip-hop mogul in another tweet, as reported by Kentucky.com:
“I told Jay-Z that I might get fined $50k for being in HIS locker room tonight. He said “I got you”. #Lafamilia”
With that tweet, Calipari is referencing the $50,000 that the NBA fined Jay-Z for meeting with UK’s players in the Nets locker room in Newark after the Cats clinched a berth to the Final Four two years ago.
That meeting and subsequent fine spawned the opening lyric to one of the most popular songs on Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne album a year later.
It’s actually rather amazing how Cal does it. As intentionally public as it is, it never feels forced. Very few other coaches have managed to come even close to his mastery of internet cool. That’s why everyone else is still, well, watching his throne.
(photo from @UKCoachCalipari)
LaMelo Ball vs. Zion Williamson was insane, but it wasn’t quite crazy enough to wake up the sleeping toddler that Williamson’s coach is holding in his arms:
This is peak AAU basketball.
It will never be more AAU than that.
In a showcase game in the adidas Uprising event in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, LaMelo Ball — the youngest member of the Big Baller Brand — faced off with Zion Williamson, who is a force on youtube and a highlight machine.
The crowd was insane for the game:
According to a report from ESPN, there were even concerns about whether or not the game would actually be allowed to be played; the police and fire marshall considered shutting the event down.
Williamson, of course, put on a show in warmups:
At the time of this posting, there were more than 60,000 people watching a livestream of the game on BallIsLife’s facebook page:
(UPDATE: It’s now over 70,000)
The bracket of the 2017 Puerto Rico Tip off was revealed Wednesday, setting up a showdown between a 2016 Final Four participant and the 2016 Big 12 tournament champion.
South Carolina and Iowa State headline the event, which will be played Nov. 16-19, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.
The Gamecocks are on the top half of the bracket, opening against Illinois State while the Cyclones are on the bottom half, squaring off against Appalachian State.
Boise State vs. UTEP is the other top-half quarterfinal while Tulsa vs. Western Michigan is the other.
The championship game of the Puerto Rico Tip Off on Sunday, Nov. 19.
Just what you wanted to see, a video of former Michigan State star Denzel Valentine throwing an alley-oop off the glass to current Michigan State star Miles Bridges in a Pro-Am in Michigan:
A day after Grayson Allen threw an alley-oop to Trevon Duval for Duke’s entry into the #DriveByDunkChallenge, Kentucky’s team of freshmen decided to do one of their own:
That would be, in order, Johnny David, Jarrod Vanderbilt, Nick Richards, PJ Washington and Kevin Knox abusing some poor sap’s rim somewhere in Lexington.
But was that better than John Calipari’s attempt?