This just in: every move John Calipari makes pays recruiting dividends.
Hanging with Charlie Sheen? Money.
Posing with arch-nemesis Rick Pitino? Also gold.
Being chosen to drive the Kentucky Speedway pace car? Got his name in the papers.
Losing in his hometown in the first round of the NIT? OK, maybe I’m stretching the premise here.
But you have to admit, choosing to coach the Dominican National Team – a lesser light in international basketball circles – has paid off in a big way for Calipari. And it may be the gift that keeps on giving, according to Ben Roberts of the Lexington Herald-Leader.
John Calipari and Orlando Antigua coached [Karl] Towns for two summers with the Dominican national team. That relationship helped them land the 7-footer, who remains UK’s only commitment in the class of 2014.
Now another 2014 prospect with Dominican ties is emerging as an elite player in the class, and Kentucky’s coaching staff is in a prime position.
Angel Delgado — a Dominican native — came to the United States last year and has been steadily climbing the recruiting rankings.
Delgado is 6’9″ and reported to be a great rebounder with a motor that doesn’t quit. That may not be enough to jump him over the likes of Cliff Alexander and Trey Lyles on Coach Cal’s big board, but it wouldn’t exactly hurt the program to nab an athletic project who might stick around and be a glue guy for more than two semesters. Then again, Zagsblog.com says Delgado is coming on like gangbusters, so let’s not underestimate him.
One thing seems sure, Coach Cal has the first shot at Delgado if he wants him. All because he – and now his assistant Orlando Antigua – have put in some time coaching basketball for a small Caribbean nation.
All I can say to that is: Get on his level. The guy is in another time zone in terms of recruiting.
Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.