In the past couple hours or so, Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that Kentucky coach John Calipari is intrigued with the Chicago Bulls’ coaching job and ESPN’s Andy Katz has reported that he has no interest in the Chicago Bulls. What would sports rumors be without conflicting reports?
In Wojnarowski’s post he states that “sources say the combination of roster talent, tradition and market make Chicago one of the few NBA jobs that could pry Calipari out of Kentucky” and “Calipari “hasn’t connected” with Kentucky’s athletic administration in his first year on the job, and that could contribute to his willingness to rekindle a long-standing goal of realizing NBA success.” OTR guesses that Calipari doesn’t view his stint in New Jersey as a success?
In ESPN’s article, Leung writes the exact opposite and expresses how Calipari’s “been recruiting kids to Kentucky and making sure to foster an environment of winning.” ESPN seems to be taking the “Calipari loves Kentucky-everything from the students to the weather-he would never leave” angle. A cute, safe angle to take.
OTR is leaning with Yahoo! Sports on this one. Calipari is not a loyal guy. Chicago means more money and he’ll do anything to get ahead. He’ll hire the father of the Naismith Prep Player of the Year as Coordinator of Basketball Operations, just so he can recruit that prep player. He’ll hire the McDonalds’ All-American game MVP’s personal strength coach as his adminstrative assistant, just so he can recruit that All-American. And the last two college programs he coached before Kentucky were both involved in events in which their season was vacated do to recruiting violations (UMASS ‘95-’96, Memphis ‘07-’08). Calipari was never considered “at risk” in those investigations, but it seems trouble likes to follow him.
Even with all of this wheeling and dealing under the table, Calipari has never won anything. He went into this year’s NCAA tournament with easily the best and most-talented team in the field of 64 and couldn’t get past West Virginia in the Great Eight.
In OTR’s eyes, Calipari is overrated as a coach. Winning games with high school All-Americans is one thing. Heck, give Mike Rice a couple of them in Rutgers and he might be able to win some games. Actually winning it all with those players is taking the next step as a coach and Calipari has yet to do that. He’s had the best team numerous times in the NCAA Tournament and nothing to show for it.
If I was a Chicago Bulls fan I wouldn’t be jumping for joy about the Yahoo! Sports report. I’d be praying that ESPN’s is the correct one.