John Calipari On How To Lose Friends And Irritate People

I'm still getting caught up from my 14-year-old's four-day state 4-H horse show in Middle Tennessee (she got a 7th, a 6th, two 4ths, and two 1sts in her two-foot jumping classes -- big Daddy woo!), so y'all have probably already seen this, but John Calipari is crazy.

Yeah, Kentucky had five players selected in the first round of last week's NBA Draft, three of them in the lottery. That is an outstanding achievement. Fantastic, terrific, amazing. Almost whatever superlative you want to use to tag it. It's astonishing. Really.

But none of those words were good enough for Cal, who instead actually managed to overstate things:

For me – and I know they’re may people mad when I say it – but because this is a player’s program, this may be the biggest day in the history of Kentucky basketball.

That hyperbolic statement, of course, elicited a chorus of groans from the gallery, most of which repeated the last phrase and omitted the disclaimers and qualifiers. For what it's worth, A Sea of Blue, a blog whose authors we greatly respect around here, calls such criticism "silly," and says the critics are just missing the point, that point being that Calipari's goal is to win by having more talent than any other team and that his statement was merely a recruiting pitch calculated to lure more talent to Kentucky so that he can continue his quest to disprove the theory that a program can't win with high player turnover.

Maybe, but at least one former Kentucky player didn't much care for the quote. Dan Issel, the Wildcats' all-time leading scorer, just thought it was stupid:

The dumbest thing I've ever heard. If the goal is to be a feeder team for the NBA, maybe that was the greatest day. I thought the goal was to win a national championship.

Again, maybe, or maybe dumbest was actually yet to come when Calipari attempted to explain himself:

I made the statement, and I'll make it again, that [the NBA Draft] was the biggest day in Kentucky basketball history, and I wasn't talking to the past. I was talking to the future.

Whaaa? I'm out of time this morning, so I'll leave it to y'all to unpack that last one. Get some coffee, because it will take some time.

P.S. Yes, I once described Lane Kiffin as the anti-Dale Carnegie and followed it up with a "woo." Isn't perspective fun?

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