I have done more than one post on what John Calipari has done for UK, so that is not the purpose here. What I am going to focus on, is what has now become the juggernaut and what drives it, and where it is going. Confused? Don't be. Unhappy with what the Big Blue Nation is turning into? Well, that one might be a little harder to fix, because the changes they are fast a-comin'. And there is no end in sight.
So, have you blinked since Coach Cal was hired? If you did, you missed something. That's life with Cal at the helm. Fast paced, in-your-face, we are not just going to beat you, we are going to steamroll you. We are now going to be doing the UK version of the L.A. Lakers "Showtime". Everyone wants to be at a UK game now. We got rappers, movie stars, sports icons, and politicians at games now. And those are the in-season events. We play basketball at a level that other places just can't play it. Not the game itself, the game is now an "event". Bring on the fireworks, the TV crews, and anyone else you can think of.
For those of you who think that I am mocking this, you could not be farther from the truth. I am in awe. I have been from day one. Lexington, KY is truly the hub of college basketball now. And no one got a payoff, no one got a $100 handshake, no one cheated on an exam, and no one blew off the University. We have good grades from our players, and we have high marks from the NCAA. The "in-depth reporters" of the nation know there is nothing dirty going on, and there are no Emery Air Freight envelopes popping open. We are clean. And we are Champions. And for all of those folks out there who are gritting their teeth and dying on the inside, having heard the facts stated above, I can only say this: Get Over It!
But the real question here is this. Was this all a part of John Calipari's Master Plan? Did he know everything he was going to do when he got here? Did he know what this approach was going to cause? Could he for see the NCAA being one of his biggest supporters in this game of thrones? Or were we already headed this way before his arrival? Were we going to become what we are eventually, no matter who was at the helm? If given enough rope, would Billy Gillispie have hung himself, or hung his detractors? Are we so big, and so strong, that we make the coach, instead of the coach making the program? I know we like to think so when we talk about the letters K-E-N-T-U-C-K-Y across the chest of those jerseys. I know we like to think that the reason that we have so many All-Americans and future NBA players, and things like the Kentucky Coal Lodge is because we are a program like no other, but what if John Calipari had not come along? Could Tom Izzo have pulled this off? Could Thad Motta have made Lexington the Mecca of College Hoops once again? Could Roy Williams or Bill Self have done this much? Are we truly bigger than the game?
What is the next step in this process? No more NCAA? Superconferences? What does John Calipari have planned for an encore? Will this thing become something more? What lies ahead for our conquering hero? For Kentucky? For College Basketball? One thing is clear. The path has never before been wider. The world has never been more open to change than it is right now, and we know that as in all things, a species must evolve with their surroundings or die. When the last glass of champagne is empty and the last piece of confetti falls from the sky in an NCAA championship celebration, what will Kentucky's place in the history of the game be? I feel like an 8 yr old boy waiting for his first Christmas present that signifies that he is becoming a man. Waiting to see that BB gun, or maybe that .410 shotgun, or that pocket knife or a real man's wristwatch is more than I can stand some days. I can honestly say that I have no idea what he is going to come up with next, but I sure do want to be here to witness the show.