Yahoo! Contributor Network
This article was created on the Yahoo! Contributor Network, where users like you are published on Yahoo! every day. Learn more »Yahoo! Contributor Network
Kentucky basketball fan reaction: Rumor has it that John Calipari “wants back In” the NBA
Rumors are swirling that Kentucky Coach John Calipari wants to return to the NBA.
John Calipari took over for Billy Gillispie in 2009. The Gillispie era was not one that we would like to remember. They were an NIT team in his last season. Coach Cal (a former NBA coach with the New Jersey Nets) came in to replace Gillispie. In a mere two seasons, he has put up a 64-11 record, two SEC Tournament titles, an Elite Eight appearance, and a Final Four appearance. Four of his recruits are in the NBA.
Because of the low bar set by his predecessor, most of us expected Calipari to make a title run in three or four years at best. Calipari has turned the program around in only two seasons.
This all sounds familiar, though.
Back in 1989, Rick Pitino took over for Eddie Sutton. The Sutton era ended with the program in trouble with the NCAA due to a recruiting scandal. Like Calipari, Pitino (a former NBA coach with the New York Knicks) swiftly brought the Wildcats back to national prominence. It took him longer but the program was in worse shape. Pitino led the Cats to the Final Four in 1993, a national title in 1996, and to a finals loss in 1997. Just like now, the rumors were swirling that Pitino was interested in the NBA. At the time, it seemed crazy. Pitino was revered in the state of Kentucky. He had a loaded team that would go on to win the title in 1998. However, Pitino did leave Kentucky to coach the Boston Celtics. That led us to the Tubby Smith era. Pitino has said what a big mistake it was to leave Kentucky.
Coach Cal may not leave like Pitino did, though. Calipari seems to like working with young players. He has talked about building a legacy at Kentucky. His recruiting class for 2010-11 is another great one with four of the top 25 players in the country. If he wants to, he can put up multiple titles and is in the right place to do it. After the wins over Ohio State and North Carolina, Cal talked about how much he loved Kentucky and wanted to stay a long time.
Calipari could stay at Kentucky for as long as he wants. In the NBA, he might last five years at most. Also, he could have gone to the NBA two years ago if he wanted to. He probably knows that NBA players don't want to be yelled at over and over. He will never be remembered for anything accomplished at the NBA level. At Kentucky, he could be an icon like Adolph Rupp or Joe B. Hall.
Don't sweat this, Big Blue Nation. Having a coach sought after by the NBA is better than having a coach who nobody wants. We have been there and done that.
Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Sign up here to start publishing your own sports content.