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Wednesday / February 21.
  • Calipari Says Kentucky Could’ve Been UCLA

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    PISCATAWAY, N.J. — UCLA has won 11 NCAA basketball championships, the most all time.

    Kentucky is second with seven.

    Yet Kentucky coach John Calipari says the Wildcats could have approached UCLA’s total if the one-and-done rule were not in effect.

    “It’s not the ’70s,” he said Friday at Rutgers at the first annual clinic to benefit “In Brayden’s Eyes, The Brayden Carr Foundation.” “Could you imagine if I had these guys three and four years? It would be UCLA.”

    Under legendary Hall of Fame coach John Wooden, UCLA won 10 NCAA titles between 1964-75, including seven in a row.

    Yet while Wooden’s players — including Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton — stayed through their senior years before going pro, Calipari, at both Memphis and Kentucky, has become famous for coaching a slew of one-and-dones like Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, John Wall and Brandon Knight.

    Of course, if there were no one-and-done rule, Kentucky probably wouldn’t get some of the players they have gotten because there would be no opportunity for them to play if the older players remained.

    “People that say, ‘Well, he likes one-and-done,'” said Calipari, who has taken three schools to the Final Four but has yet to win a championship. “I hate one-and-done. Why would I want one-and-done?

    “I’m getting guys, I’d like to have them four years. We’d win a whole lot of games. But that’s not the rule so now we end up losing three and four and five and maybe six this year to the NBA.”

    “If you’re happy for the kids, you just try to figure it out later.”

    Knight went No. 8 to the Detroit Pistons in this year’s NBA Draft, and has four current Kentucky players going in the top 18 of the 2012 NBA Draft.

    Freshman power forward Anthony Davis is projected as the No. 1 pick, freshman power forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of St. Patrick is No. 8, sophomore wing Terrence Jones is No. 12 and freshman point guard Marquis Teague is No. 18. Sophomore shooting guard Doron Lamb of Queens is projected to go in the second round.

    Already looking ahead to 2012, Calipari has landed a verbal pledge from Top 10 shooting guard Archie Goodwin, and Kentucky is in the mix with a number of elite players, including Shabazz Muhammad, Alex Poythress, Mitch McGary, DaJuan Coleman and Devonta Pollard.

    Kentucky will end up being No. 2 in the nation in many preseason polls behind North Carolina, and Calipari seems to think that’s about right.

    “Carolina’s really good and they got everybody back,” he said. “We played them. They beat us once, we beat them once. Obviously, we lost most of our guys and they got everybody back.

    “Ohio State’s gonna be really good,” he added. “Connecticut’s gonna be really good. Kansas is gonna be really good.”

    (Photo courtesy Daily News)

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

    • calipari gets rose, evans and wall go elsewhere. it’s all about pt. you can only play 5 players at a time. top5 elites will not sit on the bench.

    • so honest cal says he would have 10-11 + ships
      how many does he have now ?
      what’s his excuse ? ncaa rules ?

    • lamb came off the bench a lot last year. he was a top 20 recruit. gilchrist will likely start the year coming off the bench as well. he was a top 5 recruit. no reason you can’t have 6-7 really elite level players on a roster, like this year uk team.

    • Heck, Brooklyn’s Buchanan High School could have been UCLA if it was a college.

    • Sure John.. You certainly don’t have the coaching ability of Coach Wooden – let alone even middle of the road coaches – to come even remotely close. (That fact that you would ever compare yourself, hypothetically or not to JW just made me wet my pants in laughter).

      You’re a used car salesman who manipulates under privileged kids with flash – and you cheat at it as well. You’re a black eye on the game Pal. Mind your delusions.

    • yeah….wooden and ucla never cheated!

      who is the delusional one?

    • cal is barely realizing what everyone has been saying all along…You can’t win with one and dones. Simple fact. Plus his kids wouldn’t pass coursework and quit going to class after first semester anyway. LOL Anyone else notice changes in his recruiting habits lately? He went all in for Perry Ellis cuz he is a 2-3 year guy with high basketball IQ. Isn’t it funny how uk fans bashed cal before he got to uSUCk, and wanted Billy Donovan as their next head coach? Now they praise him, after calling him a slimy cheater. haha

    • You’re a used car salesman who manipulates under privileged kids with flash – and you cheat at it as well. You’re a black eye on the game Pal. Mind your delusions.
      I could not have said it better myself a program killer he is. He is a teflon Don that nothing ever sticks to. I wonder if he promised them the Marcus Camby package

    • @BostonCat
      after a while it gets old, especially when neither you nor the link to which you refer have any idea of the chronology of the 60’s. negativity against wooden has now morphed into a fairy tale. you’ve got the rational brain of an iphone wannabe owner

    • @BostonRat
      Yeah, we saw the HBO special too. Every major athletic program has gray area.

      Are you seriously comparing the ethical nature of Coach Wooden vs. Coach Pal?

    • “ethical nature”….how about we start with some common courtesy or some level of mutual respect instead of reduce your argument to not so clever name calling?

    • @BostonCat
      then show some common courtesy to start. and again, i think you should do some THOROUGH research YOURSELF before linking to some hack(who probably reffed another hack who in turn reffed another hack) who feels an overdone hack job on john wooden would look good on his resume. you’re like that kindergarten kid who’s the last to hear a phrase started by the teacher and passed through the rest of the class.

      be original.

    • “Heck, Brooklyn’s Buchanan High School could have been UCLA if it was a college.”

      Heck again….Calipari’s probably right…..even Kentucky could have been UCLA if it was a college…..