He relates a story about the late Cawood Ledford and Rick Pitino enjoying dinner at an Italian restaurant in the early 1990's. It seems Cawood had never eaten calimari before and declined at first. The table conversation turned to UMass coach John Calipari.
Finally, giving it a second thought, Cawood decided to try the Italian delicacy. He said, "OK, let me try some of that calipari."
Reed opines that the rest of BBN is about to join him in Trying Some Of That Calipari.
Flat out, Reed says Calipari Was The Best Hire Kentucky Could Make. He Is Everything His Predecessor Wasn't - And More.
Reed gives credit to Mike Pratt for his role in hiring the right guy this time. Barnhart recognized the folly of his effort (going it alone) in 2007 and made Pratt his point man on scouting the real interest of several UK possible hires.
Reed didn't like Gillispie at all. He called the 2009 squad "the worst coached team in UK history." He further says, "Calipari will have some very small shoes to fill." He goes on and on with even stronger comments but you get the point.
Several UK boosters told Barnhart that Billy Donovan was ready to leave Florida for UK. So Pratt inquired of him first and quickly discovered that Donovan would NOT be leaving Florida for anywhere.
Next up was Tom Izzo. There may or may not have been interest but Pratt found out that it wasn't going to happen (Izzo To UK) so UK looked at others. John Calipari's name came up quickly. SEC commissioner Mike Slive (who came from C-USA) gave his Thumbs Up on Calipari.
Pratt immediately learned that Calipari had a genuine interest in coming to UK. A series of meetings (I learned separately these occurred here in Chicago) between Calipari and UK officials closed the deal. Calipari simply had to decide if he could leave behind his genuine affection for the city of Memphis and his players.
Reed concludes by writing It's The Best Hire Kentucky Could Have Made - Better Even Than Donovan Or Izzo.
Great article at www.basketballtimes.com if you subscribe.