Tag: John Calipari

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Sacramento may want to hire John Calipari, but would he want them back?


The John Calipari rumors started early this year.

According to Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report, Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé would like to make Calipari an offer “he simply cannot refuse”  should he and the front office make a coaching change. With current head coach George Karl being scrutinized for the Kings’ slow start to the season, Sacramento could be in the market for a new head coach in the near future. Bucher says that the question is when, not if, Sacramento makes a change.

Kentucky currently has 21 former players in the NBA, and most of them played for Calipari. His on-court success and the relationships with players are just two of the reasons why Calipari would appeal to an NBA franchise. That’s perfectly understandable.

What isn’t understandable is why Sacramento would be appealing to a head coach who, in his first run at the NBA, took over a rebuilding job in New Jersey that culminated with his firing after 2.5 years at the helm in 1999. Sacramento has won fewer than 30 games in each of the last seven seasons, and they posted their last winning season (44-38) in 2005-06.

Add in the fact that Fred Hoiberg and Billy Donovan, both former college coaches, landed much better NBA jobs this offseason (Chicago and Oklahoma City, respectively), and it’s hard to believe that Calipari wouldn’t be able to do better than Sacramento if he were to entertain the possibility of returning to the NBA.

And even if the “offer he simply cannot refuse” were to include some extravagant perks, he’s got a damn good job in Lexington, Kentucky. It’s probably a better than coaching the Kings. He gets high-level recruiting classes that lead to annual contention for a national title, as the Wildcats have reached the Final Four in four of the last five seasons, and he’d give that up for a franchise that is currently dealing with instability in its leadership?

DeMarcus Cousins is a franchise changing talent and an enigma that, thus far, only Cal has been able to solve. It makes sense that the Kings would target him, but regardless of how Cal feels about his former center, does he really want to hitch his NBA hopes to a carriage led by Cousins and Rajon Rondo?

If the report of Ranadivé looking to make a run at Calipari is true, given what the head coach currently has at his disposal the offer he “cannot refuse” better be a good one.

Because my guess is that this news is only going to get Cal a raise at UK.

Kentucky lands five-star guard Malik Monk

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Less than 24 hours after beating No. 5 Duke at the Champions Classic in Chicago, the Kentucky basketball program received some very good news on the recruiting front.

Five-star guard Ahmad Monk announced that he’ll play his college basketball under the tutelage of John Calipari, picking the Wildcats over Arkansas. Monk is an Arkansas native, currently attending Bentonville HS and having played for the Arkansas Wings grassroots program, and he was seen as a program-altering recruit for Mike Anderson.

But in the end, the opportunity to play at Kentucky and contend for a national title won out. Kansas and Oregon were also in contention for Monk’s commitment, but many saw this as a two-horse race between the SEC programs.

The 6-foot-4 Monk joins fellow guard and close friend De’Aaron Fox and forwards Sacha Killeya-Jones, Wenyen Gabriel and Bam Adebayo in Kentucky’s 2016 class. One could also add Tai Wynyard to this class, as he’ll redshirt this season after he joins the Kentucky program in December. Monk is one of the best athletes in the 2016 class, and his ability to play either on or off the ball should mesh well with the talents of Fox.

Of course when it comes to Kentucky the returnees part of the equation is a fluid situation, with Tyler Ulis (sophomore), Isaiah Briscoe, Jamal Murray and Charles Matthews (freshmen) all having eligibility remaining beyond the current season. Who stays and who heads to the NBA will impact the way in which Calipari crafts his strategy for the 2016-17 season, but given Kentucky’s use of the dribble drive motion system there’s certainly room for multiple ball-handlers on the floor at the same time.

Monk is ranked sixth in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.com.

Kentucky lands five-star 2016 guard De’Aaron Fox

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Kentucky and head coach John Calipari landed their point guard of the future on Thursday as five-star Class of 2016 guard De’Aaron Fox pledged to the Wildcats during a televised announcement.

The 6-foot-3 Fox was one of the breakout players of the spring and summer on the grassroots circuit and many believe he’s the best guard prospect in a loaded Class of 2016. A native of Katy, Texas, Fox selected Kentucky over his other finalists of Kansas, Louisville and LSU. Fox took official visits to all four schools during the recruiting process.

A dynamic athlete who excels on both ends of the floor, Fox is one of the premier perimeter defenders in the class and he’s also made tremendous strides to become a complete guard over the last year. Equipped with a pull-up jumper and good range, Fox has also improved his ability to play point guard, as he led the Nike EYBL in assists this spring at 5.4 per game.

By adding a guard like Fox, the Wildcats will be okay if Jamal Murray, Isaiah Briscoe or Tyler Ulis opt to turn pro because it’s likely that Fox is a starter from the opening game. In 21 games this spring and summer with Houston Hoops, Fox averaged 17.5 points, 5.7 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game. Fox also averaged 2.7 steals per game and will be an impact playing passing lanes as well.

Regarded as the No. 5 overall prospect in the national class, Fox joins five-star big men Wenyen Gabriel and Sacha Killeya-Jones in Kentucky’s 2016 class. Getting Fox also puts Kentucky squarely in the conversation for the No. 1 class in the country, especially since the Wildcats are pursuing a lot of other five-star options that are still available.