Coach Cal vs. The Rick: The Smackdown Continues

John Calipari has announced he’s going to coach the Dominican Republic’s basketball team this summer.

Would he have made such a move, had his not so friendly adversary from down the road — that would be Rick Pitino in case you’ve been asleep the last few years — not announced he was going to coach Puerto Rico’s national squad?

Of course, as is his wont, when the situation didn’t totally suit the needs of The Rick, he cast aside those duties with the same dispatch he goes Rodrick Rhodes on any recruit who doesn’t meet his needs immediately, if not sooner.

So, if Coach Cal just shows up in August for DR practices, he’ll have Marques Teagued The Rick yet again.

Since Calipari arrived in Lexington, the rivalry between Pitino and him has been pretty one-sided. In Big Blue’s favor.

* * * * *

Some friends had an interesting interlude with Calipari (and some of UK’s football staff, and Cal’s guest Larry Brown) during Derby.

Seems my buddy found himself in the private Turf Club area with that gang on Derby Day. This friend is a die hard U of L fan of lifelong standing.

He advises that Calipari was approachable, genuinely friendly and talkative.

Which personality traits are the antithesis of those exhibited by U of L’s coach. At least, according to many I’ve talked with along the way who have encountered Pitino in various social situations.

And, frankly, none of this would be relevant to what I do here. Which is talk about sports.

But for the fact that Pitino’s squads and staff have been a relative revolving door during his stint at U of L. Which is not to mention how, when applying a cost/ benefit analysis to Pitino’s U of L regime, he has seriously underperformed.

For the most part, Pitino’s recruiting has been underwhelming, given his reputation, the school’s tradition and facilities and the resources provided to Pitino to get the job done. Just the opposite of Calipari, who has recruited like none before him in the history of the sport.

It seems fair to ask, if the personalities of the two coaches is an explanation for the difference? Do recruits sense that Calipari is genuinely interested in them and what’s best for their careers, and come to play for him? And, do some sense the coolness and self-preservative reserve that is a Pitino character trait, and thus go elsewhere?

Just wondering?

– Seedy K

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