John Calipari and his Kentucky Wildcats are heading to another Final Four, their third in four years. It’s Calipari’s third in four years with a line up full of freshmen. Cal’s Kids beat Michigan on a three-pointer with 2.3 seconds left by freshman Aaron Harrison.
Gone is the shock of freshmen dominating the landscape of college basketball. Calipari and company destroyed the notion that a team of freshmen couldn’t win a National Championship. The story here is Calipari should now finally be considered one of the greats who have ever coached the game.
Calipari is currently on a run of four Final Fours, three Elite Eights, one Sweet 16 and a national title to boot over the last nine years. The most amazing part, he’s on this run with two different programs. Kentucky and Memphis. It’s historic and amazing, and it’s high time that Calipari start receiving the credit he deserves. He deserves to be mentioned among the greats of the game.
Some experts will point to the troubles Calipari left behind at Massachusetts and Memphis even though he was never implicated in either case (both schools were forced to vacated Final Fours earned under Calipari after he left). They will use those cases to attack or lessen Calipari’s accomplishments. But as we’ve learned the NCAA isn’t always on the up and up on whom they decided to punish.
There are many writers waiting to pounce on every Calipari loss or bad season, but there is a reason why Calipari always ends up winning in the end. He develops talent, produces draft picks and always has his teams playing their best basketball by the end of the season. His teams ‘refuse to lose’ because their coach won’t let them lose, at anything, and so they learn how to win.
Hopefully this current run to the Final Four will once and for all stop the negative and sarcastic comments. Hopefully they will go ahead and let him take his place among the game’s greats. But I guess it doesn’t matter if they do or no; Calipari will just step right over them and take his place himself.