Love And Stock Prices Fill The Spring Air in Kentucky...

  • It always seemed like the perfect match; Kentucky fans with John Calipari. There is no other school out there who has proven more that they would do anything (and I mean, anything) to win a national championship.

    But, evidently, not everyone thinks it is the perfect match. And yes… I’m talking about John Calipari. Once again, Calipari has inserted his foot in his mouth. (intentionally)

    The love affair with the perfect match seems to be floundering. Calipari has a new love, and that attractive package isn’t accessible at the D1 level. John has a big-time man-crush on LeBron James! Will someone get them a room?!

    So on this lovely spring day, Kentucky fans may not be smelling the roses with John this morning. Once again, they are being reminded that love can be temporary; the only thing inevitable is heartache. The mating call of the bird is followed by the sting of the bee.

    “I’m not in a position where I would leave Kentucky right now.”

    Let’s read that again, but this time emphasizing the key words…

    “I’m NOT in a position where I would leave Kentucky RIGHT NOW.”


    “Not right now” does not mean “no.” “Not right now” means “I’d like to, maybe in the future.”

    As Jayhawk fans, we’ve had to deal with these word games before with our own coach, Bill Self. Typically, Self is very careful with his word selection and how things come across in communication. He, recently, had to walk back an interview where he said he would show interest at coaching the best talent in the world in the NBA.

    “I only said, ‘Sure, I’d be open to it,’ ” Self replied.

    Ever since that interview, Self has picked his words with more care, making sure fans realize he is not interested in leaving Kansas. The latest statement coming out of Lawrence is quite specific, “Bill Self wants to watch NBA, not coach it.”

    But with John Calipari, I don’t expect him to back away from his statement. Calipari IS the used car salesman who currently has hold of an entire fan base in love with his '69 Mustang GT350. That price tag of $74,000 in the window? "That was the old price, but I’ve decided I want to keep this gem (as he invokes heartache to the fans). It would take a far higher price to get me to reconsider selling it, " Calipari stated.

    The only thing sure of John Calipari is that his price (salary and other tangibles) are fluid, and move with the market based on daily volatility, just like the stock market. And the guy on the stock floor shouting out offers is none other than the man himself, John Calipari.

    People always talk about Calipari in a framework of love and hate. It really isn’t fair to judge the man (the coach), but more his actions. I’m sure he’s a different guy away from basketball. The way to judge John, the coach, is in a framework of toleration. How much can people tolerate from John? Even in Kentucky, where “anything goes” for national titles, one has to wonder… how much can the great people of Kentucky tolerate from John Calipari?

    Guess we will eventually find out, but meanwhile, John has removed the price off his Mustang and put a sign “not for sale” in the window, to make sure and attract a higher bid in the future.

  • @drgnslayr Ironic…uk fans gush over their high profiled coach that is being slumlorded by the NBA and he just may skip town for an NBA team. The fans are too infatuated with him and their lips are too tightly puckered to his azz, they don’t see the writing on the wall.

    Oh well, there’s going to be a mess and that house of cards will come falling down really hard. I’m just waiting for it all to burst into flames. UK fans will be screaming a different tune if they end by vacating their illustrious record during his tenure. It’s almost sad. I really hope for their sake, he’s been legit and “above board.” Why do I laugh and doubt that concept so much? Calilpari and legitimacy and “above board” seem like oxymorons.

    BUT, he is a great coach.

  • @drgnslayr

    Regarding what UK fans are willing to put up with…

    “I can’t believe this. All the money we pay these boys, and they still can’t get my defense right.” –Adolph Rupp, quoted in “Raw Recruits: The High Stakes Game Colleges Play to Get Their Basketball Stars–And What It Costs to Win” by Alexander Wolff and Armen Keteyian (published by Pocket Books Division of Simon and Schuster, 1st Hard Cover Printing, April, 1990)

  • Squid will leave…eventually.

    Worst case scenario Brad Stevens replaces him.

    Best case scenario Bruce Weber replaces him.

  • Banned

    @truehawk93 --The thing is Cal fits UK like a glove. I mean really the dude has UK written all over him. However the thing with Cal and the UK love affair. Is Cal better keep bringing the top recruits. If he doesn’t those wildcats well tear him apart. The Big Blue Nation don’t play and have no loyalty.

  • @truehawk93

    “I’m just waiting for it all to burst into flames”

    Like next March if they don’t win it all?! And then the stock drops on some of those players who came back…

    Maybe Cal will become Spoelstra’s video editor. Hey… it worked for Spoelstra.

    Coaching the Heat would be the perfect job for Calipari. He wouldn’t have to worry about the details of coaching (since Riley is really the coach) and he can just look like he knows what he is doing because they win plenty of championships with LeBron.

  • @drgnslayr

    Very unfair to Spoelstra. By all accounts Riley is pretty much removed from coaching and “Spo” does all the coaching.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Spoelstra does the operational part of coaching, and that does include some key decisions. But you won’t ever see Spoelstra move the team away from Riley’s direction.

    How do you think he got that job? How many other situations are there where a video editor gets named head coach of a NBA team?

    I give Spoelstra a lot of credit for advancing like he has. He is a success story. But he was in the perfect situation (and only situation) where he could get that job. Riley wanted someone who was intelligent, and was not a previous NBA head coach that would butt heads with him on philosophy.

    Actually… I think it was the right move. And it is working out. You have to understand Riley in this deal. He’s not your typical NBA GM. Just ask Van Gundy what happens when a coach challenges Riley.

    Plus… add in all the egos on that team. Spoelstra doesn’t challenge any of the players for top billing.

    Spoelstra is a good fit for the Heat.

  • @drgnslayr

    Again, you have your facts wrong. Spoelstra was originally hired as video coordinator way back in 1995 and held that position for two years after which he was promoted to Assistant Coach/video coordinator, After two yeas at that position, in 1999 he was promoted to Assistant Coach/Director of Scouting. He was the Assistant Coach when the Heat won the Title in 2006. In 2008 he was promoted to Head Coach, a position he has held since then and won two titles; Only Popovich has more titles than Spoelstra. His career is no different than that of other coaches, both college and NBA, that started at the lower ranks and moved up.

    He was NOT promoted from video coordinator to Head Coach as you indicated; he was the Assistant Coach for the Heat for 9 years before he was promoted to Head Coach; as comparison, former Jayhawk Jaque Vaughn was an Assistant for only 3 years before he became a Head Coach. Spoelstra is considered one of the more technology savvy and harder working coaches in the NBA. By all accounts, Riley is not , and has not been for a while, involved in the day to day coaching any more than any other team President and Spoelstra does the the same amount of coaching that other NBA coaches do; don’t forget that on his last season as Head Coach, Riley went 15-67. Again, you are being very unfair to Spoelstra…

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Agreed about Coach Spo. One other thing to consider at the NBA level - for coaches that are not involved in player personnel decisions, they have to align their strategy with the personnel acquisitions of the front office. By all accounts, Spo has designed the defense the Heat run - aggressive perimeter trapping, complex backside switching - based on the fact that he has two elite perimeter defenders in James and Wade, along with several mobile big men (Bosh, Birdman, Haslem, etc) at his disposal. Obviously, that same defense wouldn’t work for a team like the Pacers because Hibbert isn’t equipped to trap the ball 35 feet from the basket.

    @drgnslayr simply put, a Coach cannot move away from the direction of the player personnel decision makers, otherwise he will be trying to fit square pegs into round holes and eventually he will be out of a job.

    That’s why you see so many coaches that also want personnel decision making power. It’s tough to cook up the meal you want when someone else is buying your groceries.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    I was aware of Spoelstra’s path from being assistant coach.

    Hey… I mentioned he is the right guy for that job. And I’m sure he is tech savvy… probably more than any other coach. All I’m saying is you won’t see him challenge Riley. I also said he handles day-to-day operations.

    Spoelstra will one day be inducted in the HOF. And he’s been blessed to have perhaps the best GM out there grabbing him mega-talent. That’s the situation Calipari needs… on a team with a talent edge. I’m just not sure he could handle being under Riley’s thumb because of his ego. Spoelstra has his emotions under control.

    In general, I like Spoelstra… but I don’t respect him like I do some of the greats. He shouldn’t let his super-ego players run the team like he lets happen. Having all that talent covers up their weaknesses. If they were less talented (and losing) you would see those weaknesses… like team cohesion. LeBron treating Chalmers like his boy is ridiculous. It was great to see Chalmers finally push back. But LeBron took a chunk out of Chalmers’ pride, and it shows.

    This team couldn’t hold oxygen in the room with many of the past great NBA teams that were truly teams.

    I equate the Heat with Kentucky and Calipari. Overwhelm with shock-and-awe talent. Brute force over key fundamentals and win with overwhelming talent. Hooray!

  • I thought the Heat pulled off an impressive win in Indiana last night. Chalmers pulled after back-to-back turnovers (that’s what Self would do, too), and the excellent Norris Cole put in on Lance Stephenson. The Big2 of LeBron and DWade simply dominated the entire Pacer team in clutch time. I was impressed. But I’ve been a DWade/Heat fan since he + Shaq won it all in 2006.

    Spoelstra is probably a better coach than what people give him credit for. There are PLENTY of NBA teams with a couple of superstar players that are not getting it done…so maybe Spoelstra is taking a page from Phil Jackson’s zen-master approach of ego mgmt? And Spoelstra would be pretty dumb not to run his playstyle thru his absolutely best players. We might watch 6’7 Niang “point forward” in the BigXII handle the ball, but there is ZERO comparison to all the things that LeBron James does. He is a matchup nightmare personified, and that only takes pressure off my man DWade. I’ll say I dont fully understand the dynamic between LBJ/DWade and Chalmers, but they are pros, and must make that chemistry work…and they pretty much do. I personally feel Chalmers gave the Heat a W in 2 different Finals series, thus contributing heavily to both Championship rings for the Heat, and LBJ+DWade know that.

  • @ralster

    Great game last night. It could have gone either way but the Heat was able to pull it off despite a sub-par game from Chalmers; Norris Cole stepped up big time defensively.

    As you indicated LeBron is a match up nightmare since he can play all five positions very efficient and he is built like tank. The only other player that could do this is Magic Johnson, but LeBron is a better defender. I would have loved to see Scottie Pippen guard LeBron.

  • @drgnslayr

    Unlike college, NBA basketball teams and gameplans are built around the 2 or 3 best players on each team. The entire Heat gameplan is built around LeBron’s unique skills, as well as Wade. Everyone understands this - LeBron, Wade, Spo, Riley, etc.

    Look at the history of Pat Riley himself. When he was in LA, he ran the showtime Lakers because he had one of the best transition attacks ever with Magic, Worthy, and the rest. When he went to NY, he didn’t take Showtime with him because he didn’t have Showtime players. He built a defensive stalwart in NY around Ewing, Oakley, etc. In Miami, he built his attack around Tim Hardaway initially, then eventually Wade and Shaq. Now he has a team built around Wade and LeBron.

    Because NBA teams are built around their stars, players have to understand how they fit into the scheme. Mario Chalmers is a starting caliber player in the NBA, but he is not a star. He is a fit in player. Once upon a time, Ray Allen was a star, but at this stage in his career he is a fit in player. I heard an interview with Chalmers once that said he felt like he should be the one taking the final shot in a game. I like the confidence, but the person who decides who gets to take the final shot is ultimately LeBron James because the best player has to make that read on the fly, same as Kobe has done, same as Jordan and Bird and Magic and all of the other greats before them have done. Chalmers has to understand his role on his team, which is what you see him being reminded of when James/ Wade are in his face about things.

    After all, LeBron is more important to the Heat than Chalmers ever could be.

  • @justanotherfan

    Totally agree. Riley is a master at utilizing his best players, then building role players around them to fill in gaps and weaknesses.

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