Can the Kentucky Wildcats win the NCAA Tournament again in 2013?
"Can a new Champion repeat" has
always been the next day media focus in all sports. The New York Giants won the Super
Bowl and one of the first questions asked of head coach Tom Coughlin was’” Can
you do it again coach?” On the PGA Tour, winners of the first Major
Championship, especially the ones, who are ranked in the Top-50 and have yet to
win one, are asked immediately if they can win the next major next month. Most
of the responses are a significant gasp for air, as the champion can’t enjoy the moment without having to look to the future.
The Kentucky program now is a
different animal. Coach Calipari was adamant stating that six of his players
will be drafted in the first round of the NBA. That is a clear message that if
any of the elite High School players in the nation want to accomplish a NCAA
Men’s Basketball Title and then a few months later get drafted in the First
Round of the NBA then Kentucky is the place to go.
John Wooden of the UCLA glory
years is no doubt the greatest coach to ever be on the sidelines in college
basketball. He was a great x’s and O’s coach and he may have been a greater
recruiter of talent. Not just the best talent in the land, but the best talent
in the land that buys into his program and the foundation of how they play the
game. So, although a great legendary coach, let’s not forget too that he did
have thoroughbreds and major depth coming off the bench.
In the NBA Coach Jackson is
viewed as one of the best ever as he was able to attract the best talent and
then mold them together to play as one cohesive unit, not all of the time, but
when it mattered most.
As you can see, there is a
template now built in college basketball by John Calipari. He has the proven
now that he can take a bunch of elite high school players, who led many of
their teams single-handedly to State Championships and then transform their
approach to the game to be able to blend and augment the other players on the
court almost seamlessly.
The best example of that was just
last night as the Player of the Year, Anthony Davis was scoreless well into the
second half of the game, but was dominated the game. That rare combination of
blocked shots, contesting shots, great defending hand quickness and footwork, and
REBOUNDING was overwhelming the entire Kansas team and more importantly made
Davis’ teammates play at a higher level. Davis was Player of the Year, but had
the lowest scoring average ever and this too reflects the completely unselfish
and trusting character of this Kentucky team.
So, now that the old mold of
scoring and offensive talent gets you into the first round of the NBA draft,
Calipari’s recruiting will become more like the Harvard admissions office.
Players will come to him even more now and his job will be selecting the best
combination of players to repeat the ‘One and Done’ process.
Calipari has the ability to teach
defense to these players and they trust him completely. Many players, who are
more concerned about reaching the NBA will not completely buy into a defensive
approach because it limits them offensively. Calipari is smart because he is
willing to work with great talent for seven months as opposed to a composite of
layers with lesser talent for three or four years. More importantly, he has the
incredible ability to mold these players in a few short months into the team we
saw essentially stroll through the NCAA Tournament.
Whether you hate Calipari or not,
he has developed a perfect business model for the NBA One and Done Rule and
there is no reason that he cannot re-create this team and repeat as NCAA
Champions. Calipari has created the NCAA basketball version of the iPad and has
a tremendous lead over his competition and that gap will not be closed anytime