Before last season, Kentucky had gone on a huge Final Four drought. The last time Kentucky was in the Final Four was in 1998. UK had some very close calls and great teams since '98, but never got back to winning tradition under Smith and Billy G. Enter John Calipari and that all changed.
The media does not give Calipari near the credit that he deserves. He has done a phenomenal job so far at Kentucky. Coach Cal has only been here for three seasons, yet has now taken UK to the Final Four twice. It took Rick Pitino 7 years to say the same.
John Calipari is a recruiter first. That is his bread and butter. He has become the king of "One and Done" and makes no apologies for it. Upon taking the Kentucky job, he told media that in order to be the best basketball program, you have to recruit the best players. In his third season, he has had the number one recruiting class in the nation all three years. This has resulted in 1 Elite 8 and now 2 Final Fours, and maybe the championship. It is going to be hard to argue against his recruting if the Cats can pull it out 2 more games.
Besides being a super recruiter, he is also a tremendous coach. It takes really something special to infuse high school all-americans with defensive mindsets. There is also the issue of ego that Calipari must deal with. In order to run a team filled with elite athletes, you must convince each player that the team is more important than the individual. So far , Calipari has mastered this.
Mitch Barnhart(Kentucky AD) will be remembered in the future as the AD who lured Coach Cal to Kentucky. In only his short time at UK, Calipari has made so many strides to bring Kentucky back to the top of college basketball. He is a coach who shares the same pride in winning as the Kentucky fan base. I predict he will go down as one of the greatest to be on the sidelines at Kentucky.