Joe Posnanski of NBC Sports has a compelling take on what makes John Calipari so special, in light of all the NCAA’s talk about ‘student athletes’ and ‘special kids’, and Posnanski argues that the lack of illusions presented by Calipari makes him a unique figure.
The article is well-worth a read, even if you are a Calipari detractor or someone who prefers seniors or graduate transfers over succeed-and-proceed freshmen. One sentence struck me particularly:
This is college basketball in a time when the NBA refuses to fund a viable developmental league, when the NCAA refuses to budge on amateurism, when college athletes talk about forming unions and when the NCAA basketball tournament is a multi-billion dollar business.
Posnanski has shed light on the genesis of Calipari’s being. Fine, the NCAA wants to make money off these athletes, but allow the kids, the ones who the NCAA saves it is serving, to join the game too. Calipari was the first of the modern generation of coaches to understand that, and he is likely the only coach who, at his core, continues to truly understand it.
As you prep for the Final Four this evening, you owe it to yourself to read Posnanski’s piece.