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Coach Calipari's Combine Already Paying Dividends For Kentucky Basketball

Yes, Calipari is a genius, this we know. What we also know is that he knows how to make that genius work for Kentucky.

Ronald Martinez

We talked about how John Calipari’s version of the NBA Combine he put on at the end of last week for some 90 NBA scouts would have an impact. Not only would it have a potential impact on the play of the 2014-15 team by reducing the number of NBA scouts at Kentucky practices and the concomitant distraction by reason of those scouts, but also the almost certain impact the event would have, especially after ESPN made the decision to televise it, on the recruiting process.

Coach Cal’s combine made an impression on 2016 (or maybe 2015?) Thon Maker, according to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog. Consider:

[Thon Maker’s guardian Ed] Smith also said John Calipari’s Kentucky combine made an impression, and that Kentucky could be a future landing spot for Maker.

"There are programs that have dealt with players such as Thon," Smith said. "I think what you do is (look at) the experience of the coach and the experience of the situation, and (Kentucky) gives him an opportunity to be under the wings that type of leadership. That’s one of the aspects that attracts Thon." [My emphasis]

So there you have it — an "unfair" advantage, as described by the venerable Jerry Tipton and rebutted by Hank in his commentary the other day. I would only like to point out that while it is true that not every program can draw the interest of ESPN or the NBA scouts by putting on a combine-like event, there are certainly more than just Kentucky. No doubt Duke could do the same to a very similar effect, and also schools like Florida, Texas, Arizona and North Carolina just to name a few. That they either didn’t have the foresight or the chutzpah to do what Calipari has done is a problem for them, but not for us. "Unfair?"  Hardly.

Fortune favors the bold, it is said. Calipari is nothing if not bold.