John Calipari has done it again. He has managed to bring an even bigger spotlight to Lexington, Ky. His NBA combine weekend began today and was televised on ESPNU. Some might view his methods of promotion as sneaky, or illegal, but in the end it’s simply brilliant.
The idea of having an open practice for NBA scouts is beneficial for several reasons. First of all, he was able to bring some more attention to a program that gets more than its fair share. He is always ahead of the curve. He is so progressive and innovative and rarely gets credit for it. People would rather waste their time trying to figure out some way that this type of idea is illegal instead of acknowledging its originality.
He was able to get repreventives from all 30 NBA teams in one spot at the same time. This is great because this type of a scene is something that these kids need to get used to. They came to UK because they wanted to be noticed. They want to have the best chance to succeed and play professionally. This type of attention is something that will be looming over them for as long as they attend the university. This may also reduce the headache of having NBA reps in and out of practice on multiple occassions going forward. Holding this big event will likely allow Calipari to focus his efforts on his team instead of who’s coming in to watch them practice.
This idea also acts as yet another recruiting tool. You’d think the incredible facilities and banners would draw enough attention to the program. Calipari insists he didn’t do it to attract future recruits, but I’m not buying that. Yes, he really does put his players first, but he’s also a brilliant tactician. He’s always thinking ahead as all great coaches do. Moves like these might be the tipping point in winning over kids who are trying to decide between Duke, UK, and North Carolina.
Some people complain that this is unfair, but everybody has the opportunity to do something like this. Unfortunately for other schools they don’t have the deep NBA quality talent that this squad does. It’s just mas “unfair” as Coach K being the head coach of the U.S. National team. Don’t you think kids want to come play for that guy? There’s nothing illegal about using your hard work to your advantage. Coach K spends a lot of his time with the National team. He works with the best players on the planet and recruits notice that. Tye same type of thing goes for Calipari. Recruits see who he has pushed into the NBA. He and his staff work incredibly hard in their recruiting efforts. Why shouldn’t they be able to capitalize on the recruiting advantages that this type of event creates?
Calipari did warn his peers that since he was the one promoting this new idea, it would likely be banned in the future since his name carries such a negative perception.
This was yet another progressive, well thought out idea by one of the nation’s best coaches. It won’t be long before other teams try to adopt similar stratigies, that is if the almighty NCAA will allow it.
Photo by: Bob Donnan/USA Today