ASPIRING NCAA REFORMER
Calipari took over at Kentucky in 2009 and reached the Final Four in '11. His Wildcats were ranked No. 1 before losing 73--72 to Indiana last Saturday.
DAN PATRICK: Do some players use your program as a one-year rest stop on the way to the NBA?
December 19, 2011
JOHN CALIPARI: I don't like one and done. I don't think it's good for college basketball. I don't think it's good for pro basketball. I don't think it's good for high school players. Because you have 150 [kids] thinking they're one and done.
DP:How many of your players think they're ready for the NBA?
JC: Let's look at Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. He doesn't want to hear about it. He wants to be a good college player. That's all he's worried about. I don't think Anthony Davis is reading into all this stuff. They want to be good players this year.
DP:If I ask you in March, will you give me a different answer?
JC: Sure. My hope is they all could go. It's their choice.
DP:Are you surprised when some of your players stay for their sophomore season?
JC: I don't recruit players telling them they'll be one and done. At the end of the year, if they have that opportunity, I'm for them. If you're a top 10 pick and you don't go, I'm going to ask you, Why are you staying? And you better come up with good reasons.
DP:Do you know how many wins you have in your career?
JC: I know it's not 500 [laughs], because they said I don't have 500. [The NCAA ruled Kentucky's Feb. 26, 2011, win over Florida wasn't Calipari's 500th because 42 victories at Massachusetts and Memphis were vacated.] I woke up the next day and asked my wife, "How old am I?" She said 52. I said, "No, I'm 50. They vacated two years."
DP:Did you fight that decision?
JC: It's not what it did to me. Everyone knows the games were played. C'mon, those players earned those [wins]. There has to be a better punishment.
DP:What would you change with the NCAA right now?
JC: I see [the NCAA] going to go to four superconferences. You'll have a football playoff. They'll play their conference tournaments, the winners will play off in the semifinals and finals. And then those four superconferences will have a basketball playoff. Maybe invite parochials and another 10 or 20 programs. We'll have our own governing body and determine things like when our season starts. Why is our season over two semesters? Our season needs to be over one semester just like football. You want to have expense money? In the 1950s and '60s they used to have laundry money. Movie money. That didn't make them professional. Now it's [called] "pay for play." It's because you don't want to spend the money on these kids.
DP:Mike Krzyzewski has the NCAA record with 909 wins. Do you have a shot at 1,000?
JC: Are you out of your mind? I asked [former Kentucky coach Joe B.] Hall, "What's a long run here at Kentucky?" He said 10 years.
DP:Can you last 10 years?
JC: No, I don't believe so. I don't want to become an old, bitter man.
DP:You're a young, bitter man.
JC: I'm not bitter. I want to live a life after I'm done coaching.
DP:But when you're done at Kentucky ...
JC: I'll be done.
"Some guys have said it around the locker room. [Opposing teams] can keep doing whatever they want to do. If they want to underestimate me, that's fine; I will keep catching balls."
—Packers receiver Jordy Nelson on his teammates' claim that opponents underestimate him because he's white
LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu has a healthy respect for Alabama RB Trent Richardson after facing him on Nov. 5: "I thought I had a pretty good lick on him, but he just kept on going," Mathieu told me. "He's a beast." ... I asked the Bears' Devin Hester if his NFL record for combined kick-return touchdowns is enough to get him into the Hall of Fame. "I think so," Hester said. "Whenever you break a record at your position, you become the greatest of all time." ... Russell Wilson is listed at 5'11", which may scare away NFL teams. But the Wisconsin quarterback, who has thrown 31 TDs and three interceptions, argues he shouldn't be measured flat-footed: "I'm 6'1", 6'2" on my toes, and that's how I play." ... Archie Manning caused some controversy by saying his son Peyton and Andrew Luck couldn't coexist on the Colts next season. Archie told me that Peyton wants to be in Indy and Luck is too good to sit, but admitted he's biased. "I'm not a general manager," Archie said. "I'm a daddy."