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One and Not Done: Meeting John Calipari for the first time

This may not be the film that Kentucky fans wanted, but it is exactly what all college basketball fans needed.

NCAA 1st Round: South Carolina v Memphis Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

I was able to watch ESPN’s newest 30 for 30 a few weeks ago, and it was not at all what I expected.

This film is not an infomercial for Kentucky basketball. It is not even about Kentucky basketball. “One and Not Done” is John Calipari’s story.

Emmy Award-winning producer and director Jonathan Hock tells the story of a young man, from a family of immigrants, climbing the college basketball coaching ladder all the way to the basketball Hall of Fame.

John Calipari, not unlike many of his players, sought to use basketball to change the cycle of poverty that his family found themselves in after coming to America. His ultimate goal was to become a high school teacher and basketball coach. This ESPN 30 for 30 covers why many people are thrilled that did not happen, but also why some might wish it would have.

In this documentary, we get to see how Calipari, many times by stumbling into opportunities, got his start in coaching. From volunteering at Five-Star camps to taking jobs nobody else wanted, we see how Calipari’s “biting and clawing” mentality got him to where he is and how it forced him to be an innovator.

The cast is flooded with both supporters and haters of Coach Cal. Former players Lou Roe, Derrick Rose, Marcus Camby, John Wall, Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns, and others share their experiences with Calipari. They talk about their recruitments, his approach as a coach, and how he has helped to change their lives.

Current and former coaches and media members also get their camera time to talk about what they love - or don’t love - about the way Calipari goes about his business. Many people criticize his recruiting techniques. Some question his ethics and moral compass. But most critics just seem to despise his moxie.

Yes, the film thoroughly covers the controversies at both Massachusetts and Memphis. We get intimate details of his short-term NBA coaching career. There is a ton of University of Kentucky game and practice footage.

But in the hour and 41 minutes of run time, viewers will finally get to see the person who is John Calipari. Not the guy from the Cal Cast. Not the face of Kentucky basketball. You won’t even see the "you're gonna hate me because I come to your town and we beat your team" clip. This film is not about that.

Calipari’s voice is heard throughout “One and Not Done.” He is candid. He is vulnerable. And, perhaps for the first time, we get a glimpse of who he really is and exactly how this controversial basketball figure came to be.

“One and Not Done” premiers Thursday at 9 p.m. Set your DVR for this one, it calls for multiple viewings.