It did not take very long for the talking heads of college basketball to line up behind their keyboard and laud Mike Krzyzewski for winning a National Title with a group of one-and-dones. Kentucky's magical run at an undefeated season ended and their excitement grew. Then they beat Wisconsin and the giddiness was palpable.
Once Coach K walked away with the #1 recruiting class this past offseason, the die was cast and the hype machine was set to "unbearable." Seemingly overnight, Coach K had beaten John Calipari at his own game. The 'slimy' Calipari had been unseated as the king of one-and-done.
The entire time that Coach Calipari had been at UK his method of recruiting every top player he could he was deemed as ruining the game. He was labeled as 'The Sleaziest Coach in a Sleazy Game' by Charles Pierce. Even a large portion of the common non-BBN fan actually thought that the one-and-done was actually Calipari's rule, even though he is ACTUALLY against it.
However, now that Coach K was in that game, it was suddenly okay to adopt that method. In fact, it was downright admirable of Saint K to turn the one-and-done into the now-acceptable way to win in College Basketball.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. And sometimes, even if you can beat 'em, join 'em and have an even better chance.- Jason Lisk
The uniforms were blue and white, and three of the starters were freshmen, including two likely NBA lottery picks. But that wasn't Kentucky coach John Calipari's "one-and-doners" facing a veteran Wisconsin team for the NCAA national championship Monday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.
That was Duke, the paragon of virtue in college basketball, the place where "student-athlete" is a term that doesn't provoke snickers. And it was Mike Krzyzewski, transforming himself into "Coach Konvert" and placing his faith in a bunch of 19-year-olds to produce his fifth national title.- Greg Logan
Does that mean Coach K has turned to the dark side? Nope. He's just adapted to the current climate of his sport, albeit a little more slowly and less flamboyantly than Calipari.- Stewart Mandel
A guy whose program was the province of four-year players in the early ‘90s has now beaten Kentucky's John Calipari at his own game - the one-and-done game.- Pat Forde
How Duke and Mike Krzyzewski are winning at Kentucky's one-and-done game.- Ian O'Connor
Copy-'Cats: Coach K returns to title game by borrowing UK's blueprint.- Pete Thamel
Feel free to check out this fantastic piece by A Sea of Blue's Glenn Logan as he dove into the hypocrisy.
A funny thing happened on the way to a Duke One-and-Done Dynasty though...the game is not as easy as you may think. It may look easy; John Calipari assembled the best team in America talent-wise in 2010, only to see them all leave.
He reloaded in 2011 and got to a Final Four with a new team, then took another new team to a dominant season and national title in 2012.
He got another magical run in 2014 to the National Title game, and was two wins away from a perfect season last year. The ONLY hiccup was a 2013 team that had zero depth and lost the heart and soul of its team to injury in Nerlens Noel.
So now Coach K is learning on the fly that this method is not an automatic Final Four (even though Cal makes it look that way). It is an arduous task to reset your team every year and rely on kids that have been entitled their entire careers. It is even harder to ask those kids to gel in a matter of months, sacrifice for the name on the front, and play the best defense they can.
All while hustling every second of the game with Cal on the sidelines feverishly screaming in your ear and doing everything but undressing you in front of the crowd with a microphone.
I would say that Calipari has it down to a science, but there is very little if any science involved. Cal has to A) get the best of the best to come to Lexington with players as good as them and share minutes. Then he has to B) mold them into some semblance of a 'team' by March and hope they position themselves for a good seed until then.
It is not a science as much as it is hustle, grit, determination, patience, and art.
So, having said all that, you would think that the aforementioned media heroes would be lining up to criticize Coach K, right? You would think that they would be lining up to write about how tough it is to win with the one-and-dones, right? Spoiler alert: do NOT hold your breathe folks; it does not fit the agenda of coloring Cal as the evil empire losing to the bastion of good that is Duke University.
Here is the rub...we are Kentucky basketball, our very own coach 'Proudly Wears The Black Hat,' and so should we. I am not complaining of the double standard, but I am certainly going to call out those that chose to refuse to recognize it.
There is a lot of season left. Duke is going to drop out of the Top 25, and they are sliding toward bubble status as they sit at 4-4 in ACC play. However, they could turn it around. We saw our 2014 team do it. We could even flame out early with our guys. That is not my point. The crux of this article is that anyone that watches the game should appreciate the difficulty that comes with the way John Calipari runs this program.
Cal is the perfect coach for this university and this fanbase, and I could not be happier having him here. I look forward to the continued crap burgers he dishes out during his time in Lexington.