During the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin, Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari met with the media on Monday morning to discuss the upcoming season. He was asked by Jerry Tipton if, given the massive turnover the roster has seen year after year, if he was going to “rethink getting all freshmen”, and if Calipari would look at “getting some upper-classmen and developing them and mixing in freshmen.”
To the surprise of nobody, Calipari has no desire to change his system.
“Well, I recruit the best players I can recruit, the most talented kids, who are good kids and who are willing to share,” Calipari said. “If they’re not willing to share, I really don’t care how good they are, they’re not coming with us.”
As he often does, the coach went on to emphasize the important of teamwork and sacrifice with his players. Furthermore, he added that he has no idea what will happen each season. “I mean, I have no idea how many guys are gonna go or stay,” he said. “That’s a family decision each one of them make. And then, whatever happens, it hasn’t seemed to hurt us. We just, we get kids and go.”
Calipari went on to address the notion that he should recruit lower-ranked players, who would conceivably stay more than one season and become veteran leaders on the team. He had a very interesting insight into that theory.
“I’ve had people say, ‘Why wouldn’t you just take a top sixty or a top seventy’...do you know these kids think they’re one-and-done too?” When the reporters began to chuckle, he added: “You’re laughing; they think they’re one-and-done too.”
Calipari went on to elaborate on his theory behind going after the best of the best, rather than settling for lower-ranked players who might not hang around. “I’d rather coach the guy who has a chance to be one-and-done and thinks he’s one-and-done, than the guy who has no chance of being one-and-done looking at me like, ‘You’re not playing me enough’.”
His final statement, however, said all you need to know about recruiting in Calipari’s mind.
“I’m just recruiting the best players.”
John Calipari’s full comments can be seen in the video below.