I haven't even completed the first sentence of this and I can already feel Kentucky fans taking it the wrong way. So let's get this straight. What John Calipari is doing is remarkable. On the recruiting trail he had ESPN's No. 1 class in 2009, 2010, 2011 and the No. 2 class in 2012. And after yesterday's Harrison Twin announcement, he's on his way back to No. 1. On the court he's the head coach of the defending National Champions. And off the court he owns social media, and he's the hippest guy in the business.
So it's easy to complement the guy, and he deserves it.
Now, to continue down the road of reality.
Sports Illustrated published a piece in the wake of yesterday's recruiting coup, in which Andy Glockner made a number of statements which sounded like something a fan would say walking out of an arena after a big win (think Christian Watford standing on the scorer's table after IU had beaten UK – I'm guessing the Hooiser fans said some fairly outrageous things that day, one of them being, "we're better than Kentucky.")
When it comes to future top players Glockner states that "how many of those guys Cal will land will depend much more on how many spots he'll have available and who actually returns than whether he'll legitimately lose them to other programs." Caught up in the heat of the moment it seems that Calipari can land anyone he wants. But that's simply not true. He still has to bust his ass everyday on the recruiting trail, and still, players go elsewhere. Maybe not many, but suggesting that no one can legitimately beat him for a recruit is nonsense.
And he was just getting started. Later on he rolled out this one: "The last time the college game was this skewed may have been the salad days of the UCLA dynasty." This skewed? How skewed is it? John Calipari has won one Title. John Wooden won ten. Glockner then goes on to let us know that "no one is prepared to compete with this."
Seriously? I can't believe that a writer as good as Glockner really believes this. Just look down the SEC road in Gainesville. Florida already has more consensus top-100 players on their roster than any other school in the nation. And they've got a couple of top-10 guys already signed for next year. Not to mention three more on campus this weekend. Or what about Louisville and Indiana? They are ahead of Kentucky on virtually everyone's preseason top-25, and while writer's opinions mean absolutely nothing in the outcome of a season, it is clear that Kentucky isn't expected to dominate college basketball. How about Duke? How about North Carolina? How about any of the coaches who have won more Titles than Calipari? John Wooden once won 88 straight games. John Calipari didn't even win his own conference tournament last year.
Since Wooden retired we've seen some fairly remarkable feats. Indiana went undefeated. Duke won back-to-back Titles. Florida won back-to-back Titles. Hell, Connecticut won three Titles. To suggest that all of this can be glossed over on the lineage of Wooden to Calipari is a disservice to the sport.
Yes, what Calipari is doing is remarkable. But before we declare it something of historic proportions, maybe he can win some more games.