03.30.09

Calipari’s Pitino Emulation Hits New Heights

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts, General at 11:51 am by

The Memphis Commercial-Appeal‘s Dan Wolken reports University Of Memphis head basketball coach John Calipari held a team meeting this morning and strongly hinted to the squad that he’ll be coaching Kentucky next season.

While Calipari did not say explicitly what he planned to do, players left the meeting convinced that Calipari would take the job. According to the source, Calipari told the team that Kentucky was the Notre Dame of basketball.

Meanwhile, ESPN.com reported Monday morning that Calipari met with Kentucky officials over the weekend to discuss an outline of a deal to replace Billy Gillispie.

A source told The Commercial Appeal on Sunday that Calipari had expressed interest in the job and could meet with Kentucky this week but that a meeting was œnot definite.

Memphis officials, according to multiple sources, had no direct knowledge of a meeting between Calipari and Kentucky if one indeed took place over the weekend. Kentucky still had not asked Memphis for formal permission to speak with Calipari as of 9:45 a.m., according to sports information director Lamar Chance.

Either way, Memphis is expected to make a strong bid to keep Calipari with a financial package that would make him the highest paid coach in basketball, according to another source.

While it’s hardly too early to wonder where Memphis might turn if/when Calipari’s hiring in Lexington becomes official, let’s consider the real victims of the Wildcats’ likely coup ; Memphis’ returning players Jeff Caple and Travis Ford, who are both denied the opportunity to extract greater compensation from Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, respectively.

5 Responses to “Calipari’s Pitino Emulation Hits New Heights”

  1. Jason Cohen says:

    Seems inevitable. Can’t imagine any of these other guys, be it Izzo or Sean Miller, would actually want to work for Mitch Barnhart. Question is, will Memphis go after Billy Gillispie? After all, they obviously don’t mind hiring a coach whose reputation has taken a hit!

  2. David Roth says:

    I was talking about just that option with a friend of mine the other day. As bad a fit as Cal seems for UK — he doesn’t win (or do anything else) in a terribly genteel way, pals around with Worldwide Wes and assorted other weird figures — he should at least win there. And Gillespie, at a school that will take basically anyone (including rent-a-player one-and-dones and JuCo players, the latter of which was especially BCG’s forte at UTEP and A&M) and doesn’t mind a little grease, should get right back on top. If Memphis loses Cal and doesn’t get Gillespie or someone like him, I think the CUSA goes from almost-entirely-not-relevant to not-relevant, quick.

  3. ryan brown says:

    The first name that came to my mind and is being floated around here in Memphis is Mike Anderson. Not sure he’d want to make the jump from the Big12 to C-USA but Memphis isn’t exactly Rice or Tulsa. They sell out an NBA arena every game and the coach of the Tigers might as well be mayor(and whoever they hire would certainly do a better job than the current office holder.) Anderson knows this and might feel it a better fit for him than Mizzou? At least thats what Tiger fans are hoping.

  4. David Roth says:

    Well, fans of one particular species of Tiger. Maybe not the other.

    Anderson’s interesting, but I kind of think anyone playing his style of basketball could probably still do pretty well with Memphis. I’m seeing on ESPN that a bunch of players have talked about following Cal to UK should that happen — and I have to assume Tyreke Evans is gone to the draft — which would strip the cupboard pretty bare. How bare depends, I guess, on whether the players following Cal are named Xavier Henry or The Giant Fat Backup Frontcourt Dude.

    But Cal sure did a lot to brand Memphis as a major program, and someone like Gillespie — or Mike Anderson, who’s definitely had success recruiting and playing some difficult guys — could keep it going as something like what it is. Some sort of return to earth definitely seems likely to me, but as long as whoever the new coach is recruits decent players and keeps Cal’s open practice policy, I imagine they’ll at the very least keep outdrawing the Grizz.

  5. ryan brown says:

    Breaking news from the Commercial Appeal….

    Cal Really Enjoys Donuts!

    http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2009/mar/31/tigers-coach-john-calipari-said-be-making-decision/

    This place is about a 5 minute jog(gotta burn of the calories from the jelly rolls somehow) from my house and was mobbed with camera crews this morning.

    Cal has been pushing the boosters and athletic department to hire former Tiger assistant, Tony Barbee, should he leave. Not that it will happen(he’s done zero at UTEP) but the ego of the guy to say I quit but here’s who’ve you’ve got to hire as my replacement.

    Regarding his players following… obviously not everyone can go but I could see some of them, if not following him, transferring elsewhere. the recruits will either follow or reopen their recruitment. I could see Cousins and Nolan going to UK but I think Henry goes to Kansas and certainly Wall drops Memphis unless they hire his AAU coach as the new Tiger coach.

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