John Calipari

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John Calipari reaches out to cop in Scalise shooting

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It was an incredibly tragic morning in Virginia and across the United State on Wednesday as a gunman opened fire on a baseball practice of Republican congressmen preparing for Thursday’s Congressional Baseball Game, an event that raises money for charity.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and three other people were wounded while the gunman was shot by police and later died.

Later Wednesday, Kentucky coach John Calipari reached out to one of the two Capitol Police officers whom President Trump credited for saving “many lives” with their actions Wednesday morning.

Calipari relayed the info through a series of tweets, one of which states he invited David Bailey to a game and commended him, as well as the other officer, Crystal Griner, for their actions.

 

Calipari says TV pushing for 20-game league schedules, imperiling premier non-conference games

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College basketball’s non-conference portion of the season has drawn considerable criticism in recent years. Too few on-campus games between heavyweights and too many cupcakes populating the schedule, is the typical refrain.

What marquee matchups the months of November and December do bring could be imperiled by major conferences transitioning to 20-game league schedules and television networks are to blame, according to Kentucky coach John Calipari.

“They need more inventory for their own network so you just play more league games and then you have more inventory for your network to put on,” Calipari said on a teleconference Tuesday, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. “Hopefully in our case in this league (the Southeastern Conference) we stay where we are and if we don’t, we’ll make it work.”

The argument Calipari makes is that the two extra league games will come at the expense of high-major opponents in the non-con, rather than the buy-games that make up the bulk of many teams’ schedules.

“I think teams can use those last two games to put their own schedule together,” Calipari said. “If you need a tougher game, if you have a rivalry game, if you need an easier game, if your team needs a team they can beat or a team they’re challenged by, if they need a road game, you can do it with those two games.”

Calipari probably isn’t wrong here, in some regard. Coaches are likely to be less aggressive with their scheduling with two additional games against high-major competition built into the schedule. Coaches, on the whole, are risk averse, and putting more games that are in doubt – or at least considerably more difficult than scheduling a couple of SWAC teams – isn’t something they’ll be inclined to do, most likely.

There are a couple of curious points here, though. First off, the bulk of non-conference scheduling is awful and boring. Subtracting two games from programs’ scheduling discretion probably isn’t going to cost the sport a ton of non-conference matchups, anyway. Sure, there may be fewer of them, but the ACC and, potentially, the Big Ten adding two more league games should offset that on the whole. To the point about TV, that seems like an odd finger to point given that some of the best non-conference matchups year-in and year-out are facilitated by TV networks.

Putting another two games on the league schedule also insures an extra game at home against high-major opponents, something that some programs don’t offer at all in their non-conference schedules.

While putting an extra two conference games on the schedule may have some unintended consequences, on the whole it’s providing college basketball with more high-level games on campus. Hard to argue against that.

USA Basketball releases 28-man roster for U19 training camp

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USA Basketball has invited 28 players to compete for a spot on the U19 team for next month’s FIBA World Cup in Cairo, Egypt.

The list includes:

Desmond Bane, TCU
Bol Bol, Class of 2018
Marques Bolden, Duke
Chaundee Brown, Wake Forest
Devon Daniels, NC State
Hamidou Diallo, Kentucky
Carsen Edwards, Purdue
Malachi Flynn, Washington State
Kevin Huerter, Maryland
Louis King, Class of 2018
Kevin Knox II, Kentucky
Romeo Langford, Class of 2018
Brandon McCoy, UNLV
De’Anthony Melton, USC
Charlie Moore, Kansas
Chuma Okeke, Auburn
Josh Okogie, Georgia Tech
Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s
Payton Pritchard, Oregon
Immanuel Quickley, Class of 2018
Cameron Reddish, Class of 2018
Mitchell Robinson, Western Kentucky
Quinton Rose, Temple
Jeremiah Tilmon II, Missouri.
PJ Washington, Kentucky
Austin Wiley, Auburn
Kris Wilkes, UCLA
Trae Young, Oklahoma

The team will be coached by Kentucky head coach John Calipari. He will bring Colorado’s Tad Boyle and Wake Forest’s Danny Manning as assistants. The United States have won back-to-back World Cup (previously known as World Championships) titles.

The United States have won back-to-back World Cup (previously known as World Championships) titles. The latest came back in July 2015, ending with the U.S. defeating Croatia, 79-71, in overtime. Villanova’s Jalen Brunson was named tournament MVP.

Training camp will take place June 18-25 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. The roster will eventually be trimmed to 12.

The U19 World Cup will run from July 1-9.

Calipari signs two-year extension with Kentucky

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Kentucky continues to take care of John Calipari.

The Wildcats coach has received a two-year extension, keeping him under contract in Lexington through the 2024 season, the school announced Wednesday.

The contract will pay Calipari $7.75 million next season and increase to $8 million per season thereafter.

“John has achieved consistent championship-level performance at Kentucky,” Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart said in a statement. “No one in America is better suited for everything that comes with being the coach here. Not only has he attained incredible success on the court, he is also a leader in our community and in college basketball.

“We have been blessed to have him and Ellen here for the last eight years and we are blessed they will continue to call Kentucky home.”

Not only does the deal extend Calipari, but it continues to keep Kentucky competitive with the NBA, which would seem to be the only outlet that would even potentially tempt Calipari away from Kentucky. An NBA franchise would have to make him among the highest-paid coaches in the league to even match Kentucky financially.

Of course, given that Calipari has spurned interest from the league since returning to college in 2000, it seems unlikely that financial considerations would be the lone or heaviest variable in making a decision to move on.

Certainly, Calipari has an excellent thing going at Kentucky as the premier recruiting program in the country that has enjoyed serious success on the court, culminating in a 2012 national title and a 38-0 start to the 2015 season before a loss in the Final Four.

“The last eight years at the University of Kentucky have been a terrific ride,” Calipari said in a statement. “This extension shows our full commitment to each other. I believe this school is the gold standard and I’m so thankful and blessed that this university has given me this opportunity at this point in my career.”

The Wildcats face UCLA in the Sweet 16 on Friday.

Calipari advocates for August practice period

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John Calipari has another big idea.

The Kentucky coach, known nearly as well for his outside-the-box thinking as his recruiting prowess and 2012 national championship, is advocating for a summer period of college basketball akin to what college football does in spring.

“How about spring football?” Calipari said. “You like spring football? Something different, right? Spring football. Why don’t we have August basketball for the NCAA? There’s nothing going on in August.”

Calipari isn’t just looking for extra days of practice, he wants, in Calipari fashion, a spectacle that will put a spotlight on the sport – and his program as one of the sport’s most visible outfits.

“Let’s spend ten days of practice — how about we play against foreign teams on our campuses,” he said. “Do you really want your team to go overseas and play right now? How about we do stuff right here?

“So August, for ten days, becomes NCAA basketball. Instead of having to worry about football ending, we’re going to go before it and start in August. It’s too good of an idea, believe me. Plus it’s mine which means it’ll never happen. It’ll never happen.”

Calipari might be on to something as the August sports schedule is often quite dire, especially in the early and middle part of the month. If programs could secure some high-profile foreign teams – or even high-level scrimmages between programs – it could help drum up some interest before football season gets fully underway. The timing would be interesting, though, as that’s often one of the few periods on the calendar that often allow basketball players to leave campus for a couple weeks.

College hoops needs to expand its profile out of just the post-Super Bowl period of the winter, and Calipari offers an interesting option that’s far less dramatic than some proposals, like turning the game into a one-semester sport and playing the NCAA tournament in May.

If spring football is the model to base Calipari’s idea off of, it’s intriguing as that’s become it’s own little interesting part of the calendar for football that helps keep interest up throughout the year, even when the season is months away. If hoops could do something similar, it’s certainly something worth exploring, whether it ultimately takes the form Calipari is advocating or something else.

Coach Cal softball game raises $300K for La. flood relief

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John Calipari is known for his ability to amass talent. Over the weekend, that quality helped raise $300,000 for Louisiana flood relief.

The Coach Cal Celebrity Softball Classic brought Kentucky stars like Keith Bogans, Andrew Harrison and Karl-Anthony Towns and the likes of former UK quarterback Tim Couch and NFL Hall of Famer Chris Carter to Lexington to help aid Louisiana in conjunction with the Red Cross after the area suffered major flooding earlier this month.

“I didn’t want to really do a softball game,” Calipari said according to his website, “but then we decided to do it and then Louisiana happens and now you have a cause. … It’s kind of neat. You have a cause, you have a why.”

Towns’ team was the 18-12 victor over Team Calipari on the day.

“This is amazing,” Towns said on CoachCal.com. “This is something that we get a chance to rarely do. We get to help the community out but at the same time have fun. There’s nothing better than doing something that we would do for free but for charity. This is something we’re going to have a lot of fun doing today.”

The softball game was played the same weekend as the John Calipari Basketball Fantasy Experience which generated $1 million that will be shared with 14 charities.