Kentucky 9 - Duke 3 - North Carolina 3 That's the number of players each school produced that are on Sports Illustrated list of the top 100 players in the NBA. So why do any top recruits pass up being coached by Cal for less productive coaches?
Duke has one player in the top half of that list. It's Kyrie Irving at number 21. Kentucky has 4 players in the top 25 including DeMarcus Cousins at #23, Karl-Anthony Towns at #14, John Wall at #13 and Anthony Davis at #8. Eric Bledsoe came in at #38 and the fast rising star, Devin Booker, was #64 after being #100 last season.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski has a reputation as being a great college coach. But this is where the philosophy of John Calipari differs from coaches like Krzyzewski - Cal believes that college basketball should prepare players to make a living playing the sport. Many people balk at that idea but when it gets down to it that's why most kids go to college - to get a good job.
Coach K has a string or recruiting successes which, given this list, surprises this writer. Few players at high level programs don't have aspirations of playing basketball for a living whether it's in the NBA or overseas.
Cal believes that if he develops players for a future in the sport that the wins will take care of themselves. He has been right about that so far with UK being in the hunt nearly every season Calipari has been their coach. They have a title with 3 title game appearances and another Final 4. They lost in the regional final twice. They finished a season at 38-1 coming very close to being the first undefeated team since 1976.
Cal's system appears to be beneficial for his players and for UK fans. It is without doubt a better system for the players. This top 100 list is evidence of that.