What is the deal with UK and Coach Cal?

  • Banned

    I’m a little confused here. Watching the college draft the last few years, it’s hard not to think that Kentucky and Coach Cal get who they want. So I ask what is the deal.

    Did they miss the boat? Was the recruiting report flawed? Again what is the deal? When we lost out on Randle I thought what in the world? (I really thought he was in the bag) Then came Wiggins and two days later I was able to accept that KU had recruited the #1 recruit of the class. (so I thought)

    Don’t get me wrong the season is very young and Wiggins is starting to find his game, and may live up to all the hype thrust unto him. (I’m starting to believe)

    However Wiggins is a no brainer. Anybody that watches and loves the game of basketball knows the guy is going to be good. (really good)

    Yet as I said before, “What is the deal”. Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t remember reading or seeing anything where Kentucky or coach Cal were pursuing or looking at Embid. What is the deal? HCBS took one look at the guy and said come to KU. I am really confused here. Why would a program like Kentucky and a coach like Cal pass on a talent like Embid? Was he to raw? Was he ranked to low? (even though he was climbing like no other)

    My opinion. Coach Cal didn’t think he could teach him and make him great. His young and fresh skill set was to much for coach Cal to handle. I’m starting to think coach Cal thinks he’s a NBA coach. Only looking for ready made talent. Because as you and I have seen Embid can play. (understatement)

    I’m so glad we have a HC that knows real talent we he sees it, no matter how raw. I’m also so glad we have a HC that knows how to harness and grow that talent. Wiggins may well very well wind up being the best college basketball player this year, but something tells me Embid isn’t going to be to far behind. (and neither will Seldon or Ellis for that matter)

    My point? KU makes players. Players don’t make KU. Whether one and done, three year player, or someone that stays four years. When you leave KU you’ll know how to play the game we call basketball.

  • @DoubleDD Embiid was not well known until late in his senior season, I believe. I think UK already had locked up Randle by then. I don’t know if they recruited Joel or not, but his finalists were KU, Florida, and Texas.

  • @DoubleDD love that “KU makes players” I also think recruits are taking notice. Watching Cal last pm against Arkansas, can’t help him. I see nothing impressive about his coaching skills. Enjoyed your post!

  • Kentucky also got Dakari Johnson, who was Embiid’s teammate and rated higher than him, number 1 center by most.
    We were actually still recruiting Dakari even after we got Embiid, most likely because Embiid was considered a 2-3 year project and Dakari an OAD.

    I agree with your last line.

  • It should be said, in all fairness, that Calipari is on record as saying he would prefer the 2yr college requirement (no more OADs…it would be 2ADs). Obviously he would like that, as it would certainly cut down on his recruiting urgency to get a stacked frosh class every year…

    I also enter into evidence Doron Lamb, the 6’3 combo guard who on his final choice picked UK over KU. He stayed at KY for his soph season, and was a critical part of their championship win (he hit 4 BIG treys in the '12Champ game against us–> ouch!!!). Maybe we give credit to Cal, or maybe we just say every talented kid will-get-better-in-year-2 if he stays (& solely credit Lamb for staying and making the correct decision). Doron Lamb DID what Josh Selby should have done.

  • Also, I have NO issue with Kentucky. While Cal might have proved his ‘system’ vs. a particular short-handed KU squad and won a NChamp., I still think Self’s teaching and coaching are superior, with the devil being in consistent execution of all of Self’s details by KU’s players.

    I am totally content to let Cal vs. Self play out in the real world. If Cal’s kids stayed for 2-3 years, his squads would become naturally more dangerous and consistent. But Cal’s current system barely lets that happen, as its “fresh meat every year”. Its like Calipari’s team could be even better, but he would have to get 2ADs, and actually spend more coaching in trying to develop them. I would get pretty frustrated (as Cal did during last season’s KY crash&burn) just dealing with freshman every year. Contrast that with the 2008 KU champ team with juniors & seniors and a couple of key sophs (Sherron and Shady). Everybody had experience, chemistry, and that team almost coached itself. They knew the plays and trusted each other. Still the Self/KU benchmark…(lets see what we can do this year).

  • As others have mentioned, Embiid was unranked well into his last HS season. It was towards the end when coaches started noticing him.

    Calipari sure was a sorry sight last night, With a sweat soaked shirt he looked particularly un-compossed…and obviously hot under the collar.

  • I recall reading that Billy Donovan had invested a LOT of time trying to get Joel and was not happy that he picked us.

    @JayHawkFanToo Scott Drew looked just as sorry last night when Tech beat Baylor. Baylor failed to make a field goal in the final 4:24 of the first half. HaHaHaHaHa (giggle) (clap)

  • Kudos to Norm Roberts for recognizing that 7’ vein of gold we mined from Billy D’s territory.

  • If you are implying the Squid is lazy, I wouldn’t disagree with that. A whole slew of coaches missed out on Embiid. He was behind Dakari Johnson on the depth chart at the Rock, and I think most of the teams were hotly pursuing Johnson, including us. I modified my earlier statement due to my faulty memory which somehow forgot that Embiid had committed so early last year. Maybe the Mildcats didn’t pursue Embiid because they were holding their schollies for the imagined “bigger fish” they thought they could reel in- maybe the Squid’s only coaching abilities are simply throwing a basketball out on the floor, and he thought Joel would be too much work.

  • @RockChalkinTexas There are few coaches that I really would criticize for their coaching, but Scott Drew is one.

    My most vivid memory is how poorly in prior years that his teams have played zone. They seemed like that team where the coach said, “hey, we’re playing zone today.” But they play it quite a bit. A little hazy here, but I recall a day/evening watching Syracuse, and then Baylor. And it was like professional zone then amateur zone.

    It’s kind of like they’re a zone and a man team. It’s hard to be both.

    Much like Rick Barnes, “underachieving” is a word many times associated with Scott Drew based on talent.

  • @KUSTEVE Right, Johnson played ahead of Embiid. And @FarSideHawk is right. We did continue to recruit Johnson. He committed to UK in Jan/2013 after we signed Embiid. So Embiid was signed before Johnson’s recruiting was done. Further, Randle didn’t sign/commit until the spring. Again, Embiid was signed in Nov/2012. From what I have read, UK wasn’t even recruiting Embiid.

    And just to add to that, I don’t think UK overrated Johnson. He’s a fine player. But he is nowhere near the talent that is Joel Embiid, as you imply.

    Sometimes in recruiting you get lucky based on time and circumstance. It worked out well.

    At kusports.com last fall, I was skeptical of Embiid solely because of his ranking … then I watched some video. As useless as video is for perimeter guys, it is very helpful on big guys in discerning skill, such as footwork, use of opposite hand, shooting touch, athleticism, and post moves. Embiid was all of that. Some big guys you see are just playing over the top of your normal high school or AAU big guy, and that’s useless in assessing how good they might be. Embiid was much more than that.

  • @HighEliteMajor I am scratching my head wondering where I was at in November 2012 where I would miss Joel Embiid verbally committing to the Jayhawks. Forgive me, my memory doesn’t serve me well.

  • Here’s a coaching resume for you:

    The last 8 seasons, overall record of 260-40 (.866). 3 Elite Eights, 3 Final Fours, 1 Sweet 16. 1 National title. That’s a heck of a run. That’s Calipari. And let’s not get into the whole, but one of those Final Four’s was vacated - I judge based solely on what happens on the court and that team won a bunch of games between the lines.

    Last year was the first time since 2005 that the Sweet Sixteen was played without Calipari’s team, and only the second time the Elite Eight didn’t feature Calipari’s team. That’s amazing, and makes it hard for me to say he can’t coach/ develop players. You can’t sustain the kind of success he has had if you just roll the balls out and hope for the best. Last year’s UK team is the outlier, due to injury.

    If Ben McLemore had gotten hurt with 8 games left in the regular season last year, as Nerlens Noel did, KU would have been in trouble. That would have been the K-State game (a game in which BMac went for 30, oddly enough), coming off the 3 game losing streak. If McLemore goes down and is lost for the rest of the season, I hate to think what would have happened to KU’s season. UK sputtered to a 4-4 finish, then lost the opening game of the SEC tournament, and the first round NIT game.

    If KU goes 4-4 down the stretch rather than 7-1 with losses to Iowa State, Oklahoma State and K-State plus the Baylor game they lost anyway, they finish the year 23-8 (11-7 in conference). 11-7 makes them 4th in conference and pits them against Oklahoma in the Big 12 tourney. Lose that game and suddenly KU is 23-9 and probably looking at a 6 or 7 seed without McLemore. For reference, OU was a 10 seed in last year’s tournament, albeit with a weaker non-con. Does KU survive the first round as a 6 or 7 without McLemore? Does KU get knocked down even more (8, 9 or 10) considering their resume without BMac (wins over Texas, WVU, Texas Tech and TCU - the worst 4 teams in the Big 12, losses to Baylor, ISU, OSU, KSU and OU - the five best non KU teams in the Big 12).

    As I said yesterday, luck is a huge part of things. If KU had gotten really bad injury luck like losing their best player, I’m guessing anything beyond the round of 64 would have been unlikely for last year’s squad.

  • You can look at Cal’s results and from that decide he’s a good coach. Or you can look at how his piers rank him, and he’s in the middle of the pack.

    The one known area of excellence for Cal is recruiting. Who is to say what the worst coach in D1 basketball would do with all the talent Cal brought in?

    I’m not a fan of Cal, but I give him credit for having patience… all those freshmen every year must make life crazy. I’m sure he has the right personality to do it, too. His over-animated coaching style appearing to be trying to reach kindergarten kids makes comical basketball to watch, but I bet it serves him well. I don’t know how any kid with half a brain would want to be coached like that. I guess it says something about those who sign on.

  • @KUSTEVE Joel only played his junior year behind Dakari and then went to The Rock so he could get more playing time. They played together at Montverde Academy.

  • “When you leave KU you’ll know how to play the game we call basketball.” If I was a troll, which I hope I’ve proved I’m not, I would take that line and make some remarks about how our guys do in the pros. 3 Self players from KU are making it in the pro’s so far, Mario, and the Morris twins. BMac I think will be good, but he’s not showing it so far. Withey is getting a minute a game. Darrell I think might have been better, but injuries may have diminished his game. Brandon is starting to get playing time, but we’ll see if he returns from his injury.

    I don’t know why our players don’t do better in the pros. In some ways I don’t care. I want to see KU win.

  • I don’t care for his personality, but I believe Cal is good for the game. Yin and Yang, so to speak. He can coach and recruit, that has been proven. He nurtures unusual relationships, imho, with his recruits borderline befriending them, which I believe might be detrimental in the overall scheme of things. I’ve always considered my best teachers the toughest ones, and might have slightly taken advantage of the easier ones.

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    @DoubleDD Deal? Cal can’t coach. He was fortunate to win NC with the players he had then. He certainly had the talent with Memphis, but even then I doubted his coaching. His team last year with Noel, pretty much confirmed my suspicions.
    Now this team is on the same track as last year’s. I can give a Natl Champ coach one bad year. But two bad years? I think it’s a sign of poor coaching. I think his players are in this as individuals. Cal is a non-factor and the team isn’t responding to his coaching.
    I was really convinced when he yelled a derrogatory name to Terrance Jones. You don’t yell, “Stop playing like a stupid…” on natl television. If this is how he coaches, then apologizes? No wonder these guys are confused. He’s passive aggressive and reducing himself to personal attacks. Coaches motivate, teach, and inspire. I think Cal is opposite of this idea. These players have made Coach Cal, not the other way around.
    Can anyone remember or know of any of his past players making any positive comments about his coaching? Anyone? I’ve heard many players/recruits say nothing but great things about Bill Self.

    Makes you wonder now exactly why John Chaney threatened him on national television. It also makes you wonder why Bobby Knight, one of the greatest coaches to coach, would call Cal out too. I guarantee you these coaches know what Cal is doing with players and recruits. My guess is, recruits and parents are telling coaches exactly what he’s doing, but nothing can be proven. This is all uk fans will say is, “prove it.” They know where’s theres smoke, there’s fire. Why would a reputable coach like John Chaney put his rep and character on the line to make this scene on tv? Why would Bobby Knight go on national tv and risk his rep to say something if it weren’t true? I truly believe they know more and the bball community knows more than we’ll ever know. All uk fans can say about Knight is make fun of him and insult him as an analyst. We’ll see who gets the last laugh when all the smoke is settled.

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  • true, can I get a little help on the background to that? I could only make out “you remember that, I’m gonna beat your a%%” What is the deal here?

  • @truehawk93 What do you do with Roy Williams, then? Good coach? He’s got two national titles. Bad coach? At Carolina he has lost in the Round of 32 three times and gone to the NIT once. He’s had three years with double digit losses at UNC.

    I don’t even know what to think of this year’s UNC team. Currently winless and dead last in the ACC. Wins over Louisville, UK and Michigan State. They also have three home losses (Belmont, Miami and Texas). If they rack up double digit losses again this season, that will be four times in 11 years. If that happens, is Roy Williams a bad coach?

    Personally, I don’t think so, but if you judge only the resume, forgetting whether you like the personality or not, it’s tough to say Roy Williams is clearly a better coach than Calipari. UK seems to be improving. Carolina looks to be imploding. Lots of season left, but its a fair question I think.

    How about Billy Donovan? Two national titles. Followed up with three straight years of double digit losses (two NIT appearances in that time). Five double digit loss seasons in the last 11 years. Also has been to the last three Elite Eights. Is he a good coach? A bad one? Unknown?

    How about current defending national champ Rick Pitino. In the last 11 years he has logged SIX double digit loss seasons. He only has 3 conference titles in that time (in the meat grinder of the Big East, but still). Good coach? Bad coach?

    I think all of the guys I just listed are good or very good coaches. But every single one of them has had more bad seasons than Calipari over the last 11 seasons.

    Calipari has 2 seasons with double digit losses. Advanced to AT LEAST the Sweet 16 in SEVEN CONSECUTIVE SEASONS. Missed the tournament twice (his double digit loss seasons). He’s had one down year at UK (last season) and one down year at Memphis (2004-05, before the seven consecutive Sweet 16s). Other than that he has been winning, and winning a lot.

    Bill Self may be the only coach in the country that has NOT had a double digit loss season in the last 11 years, or missed the tournament. Even Coach K lost 11 games in 2006-07. So yes, Self is elite, but if you consider Donovan, Pitino and Williams top notch, Calipari has to be considered on that level, too.

  • @DoubleDD

    Question: What is the deal with UK ad Coach Cal?

    Answer: Nike.


  • @truehawk93

    Chaney was a thug that sent one of his players to the court with specific instruction to seriously hurt another player. I have zero respect for Chaney.

    Chaney link

    Any coach that puts one of his own players in that situation has no business coaching.

  • @truehawk93 : First, let me say I agree with your solid points. When you quoted Calipari as saying “stop playing like a stupid _____”…it only reminded me what Self yelled at Naadir only 3min into a game about a week ago: “What the f— are you doing?” I also am reminded about red-faced Self shield his own lips with his hands to exactly avoid the lip-readers…

    To me, this is all funny stuff, and a part of the man’s game that high-level Div.1 basketball IS. I call it locker-room talk. You will hear far worse, far more often on an NFL sideline. I chuckle even now remembering Charlie Weis collecting his offense on the sideline in a homegame this season and started booming at them verbally. I was in row40 on the alumni side, but as people figured out what and who that booming tongue-lashing was, they started clapping in support. Which was fine: we expect better out of KU football.

  • Banned

    @justanotherfan When you recruit the talent Coach Cal has been getting you’re going to win some games. I think you’re missing the point here. Coach Cal doesn’t make players better. The players he recruits make him look great. Ask yourself this question? Why didn’t Coach Cal even look at Embid? The guy is turning out to be the greatest big man to play the game in decades. Where was the interest? Where was the scholarship? Why wasn’t the great Coach Cal as you call him looking at Embid? That is the question. Meaning Coach Cal only want’s ready made players.

  • @DoubleDD

    You asked a question, the question was answered and yet here you are again asking the same question. Do you really want to know the answer or are you more interested having other posters to agree with you?

    As many have mentioned, Embiid was a complete unknown and unranked by all the reporting services at the start of his Senior HS season. Calipari’s bread and butter are top 25 players and McDonald All American candidates (where KU’s is more top 100); Embiid was neither and Calipari had signed Dakari Johnson, the #2 center. It was only later in the season that Embiid was noticed and a true stroke of luck that KU got him. Like Calipari, most every major college recruiting team missed on Embiid. By the time the season ended, Embiid stock had risen but he still did not even make the McDonald’s All American team; the first time we were able to really see hm was at the Nike All Star where he looked really tall, and really raw.

    We are extremely fortunate that Embiid is developing into a superb player; there are many tall, similarly built African players warming the benches at schools all over.

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