It’s Time for Real Conversations About the Kentucky Head Coach Role

della

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@Random UK Fan , respond to @della and let her know she can't hurt your feelings.
And @lurkeraspect84, it was a lot longer than that, don't be shy young man. 🤣
The funny thing is that I was being serious about Cal. I think he is a good coach. He brings in great talent. A new coach would be hit or miss. Y'all were ranked high all year long and had a great record. He righted the ship from last year mightily. I would be reluctant to throw him over board.
 
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della

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Another aspect to consider is the SEC has changed from years ago. It is no longer UK and one other contender in the SEC. bama, UT, Arky, Auburn, UF and even LSU were contenders and I think this is the new reality. The SEC is taking CBB more seriously and that makes UK's challenge more difficult.
 

cdbearde

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The funny thing is that I was being serious about Cal. I think he is a good coach. He brings in great talent. A new coach would be hit or miss. Y'all were ranked high all year long and had a great record. He righted the ship from last year mightily. I would be reluctant to throw him over board.
You would love for UK to have a coach that is caught up in his old ways and will not change as the game has. I understand and appreciate that. 👍
 
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della

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You would love for UK to have a coach that is caught up in his old ways and will not change as the game has. I understand and appreciate that. 👍
You know what I'm saying is what I believe in the fact that I wouldn't trade Barnes for anyone and yet we got put out in the second round.
 

della

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You would love for UK to have a coach that is caught up in his old ways and will not change as the game has. I understand and appreciate that. 👍
That really isn't true of Cal. He mastered the one and dones and then changed it up and picked up nice pieces with playing experience. Look at Oscar Tshiebwe, that was Cal breaking the mold and hitting a home run.
 
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cdbearde

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That really isn't true of Cal. He mastered the one and dones and then changed it up and picked up nice pieces with playing experience. Look at Oscar Tshiebwe, that was Cal breaking the mold and hitting a home run.
Yes, but he will not change the things he needs to change, I could list them, but that is not for me to do so on a message board, if we were to talk in person you would see my opinion. And della, I am very vocal and very opinionated person. This site is just fun to me, I understand the passion of every fan on here, and respect everyone. Just saying I love it.
😎
 

della

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Yes, but he will not change the things he needs to change, I could list them, but that is not for me to do so on a message board, if we were to talk in person you would see my opinion. And della, I am very vocal and very opinionated person. This site is just fun to me, I understand the passion of every fan on here, and respect everyone. Just saying I love it.
😎
Do you think it is as simple as that? (changing some things) I think being a great team is a mix of great coaching, great talent, no injuries and luck. I think Cal like everyone else is doing everything he can to put together a super team and make them as successful as possible.
 
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cdbearde

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Do you think it is as simple as that? (changing some things) I think being a great team is a mix of great coaching, great talent, no injuries and luck. I think Cal like everyone else is doing everything he can to put together a super team and make them as successful as possible.
Simple? No, but he needs to change a few things he does and doesn't do, but it will not happen, he is old and stubborn like me.🤷‍♂️
 

della

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Simple? No, but he needs to change a few things he does and doesn't do, but it will not happen, he is old and stubborn like me.🤷‍♂️
That might just be a UK thing. So, don't criticize yourself. :D
 
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lurkeraspect84

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FOfVRsCX0AYMbxP
 

GE Nole

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I just don’t think UK has the talent they had 6-10 years ago. The poster who said UK was more talented than Duke, UNC, or Gonzaga? Ehh. Not in my opinion.

Just because a kid is ranked 17th in the recruit rankings doesn’t make him immediately great at college basketball. Some kids are ranked high on potential that may or may not be tapped into gradually over the next 5 years.

A guy like Armando Bacot, who’s been around for 3-4 years AND was a 5 star himself, is a better college player than most freshmen, even a top 20 freshmen. The truly game changing freshmen are ranked in the top 3 to 5, and Kentucky ain’t really getting a lot of those guys lately. Jabari Smith would have made Kentucky a totally different team. Same thing with Scottie Barnes or Cade Cunningham last season.
 

Random UK Fan

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I just don’t think UK has the talent they had 6-10 years ago. The poster who said UK was more talented than Duke, UNC, or Gonzaga? Ehh. Not in my opinion.

Just because a kid is ranked 17th in the recruit rankings doesn’t make him immediately great at college basketball. Some kids are ranked high on potential that may or may not be tapped into gradually over the next 5 years.

A guy like Armando Bacot, who’s been around for 3-4 years AND was a 5 star himself, is a better college player than most freshmen, even a top 20 freshmen. The truly game changing freshmen are ranked in the top 3 to 5, and Kentucky ain’t really getting a lot of those guys lately. Jabari Smith would have made Kentucky a totally different team. Same thing with Scottie Barnes or Cade Cunningham last season.
Totally agree with this. The talent level just isn’t the same these days for UK. But . . . A few years ago it was “decided” that a balance of a great freshman or two, along with some upperclassmen seemed to be the right recipe.

UK also poked a hole in that theory. . . at least for UK. It’s got to be something else since freshman aren’t the answer, and a ratio of talented freshman and upperclassmen was a bust.
 

GE Nole

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Totally agree with this. The talent level just isn’t the same these days for UK. But . . . A few years ago it was “decided” that a balance of a great freshman or two, along with some upperclassmen seemed to be the right recipe.

UK also poked a hole in that theory. . . at least for UK. It’s got to be something else since freshman aren’t the answer, and a ratio of talented freshman and upperclassmen was a bust.

I don’t know that it’s a bust. Yall just haven’t had great freshmen. Again, if you had Jabari this year, I’m guessing things are different.

BJ Boston wasn’t a great freshman. Neither is TyTy or Wheeler this year.

You had a really good one in 2020 with Maxey but there was no tourney. 25-6 finish suggests y’all could have made a run.

Tyler Herro was great and y’all made the Elite 8.

Again, lately the talent just hasn’t been there.
 

Villian07

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I mean i guess saying the talent isnt there is relative. They had talented 5 star/high four star recruits that dont even get any clock. Kids that would be the gem of alot of recruiting classes are an afterthought there, for the next batch of frosh.

But yes definitely not as talented as some of the previous rosters. Cal def does better with a top 5 draft pick, but i dont think hes the only one. Just one of the only one who consistently lands top 5 picks and has a sample size worth looking at. But at the same time weve seen plenty of #1 picks elsewhere not even make the tourney.
 
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GE Nole

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I mean i guess saying the talent isnt there is relative. They had talented 5 star/high four star recruits that dont even get any clock. Kids that would be the gem of alot of recruiting classes are an afterthought there, for the next batch of frosh.

But yes definitely not as talented as some of the previous rosters. Cal def does better with a top 5 draft pick, but i dont think hes the only one. Just one of the only one who consistently lands top 5 picks and has a sample size worth looking at. But at the same time weve seen plenty of #1 picks elsewhere not even make the tourney.

Agree that it’s not ALL about top end talent. But if you’re a fairly young team (or have older guys who are in year 1 of your system), those young guys need to be elite, not pretty good.

And let’s not act like UK didn’t earn a 2 seed. Obviously the upset is a tough pill, but it’s still just one game. Cal coached them to a 2 seed this year.

It’s not like this is Johnny Jones or Lorenzo Romar missing the tourney with elite talent.
 

Big_Blue79

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The NCAA fanbase seems to be divided into 2 factions;

A) “All that talent and no trophies”

or

B) “Stop it.”

When the “all that talent and no trophies” faction would fire up 6 or 7 years ago I thought it was premature due to getting to final fours or just missing, but the last few seasons (excluding last season due to COVID) UK has been underwhelming, with our 5 star teams being bested by teams with fewer stars but scrappy ballers.

It has become clear to me that Cal can only succeed with overly-superior talent, which has not been seen for a while In Lexington like in the past with exception to Oscar. Someone will say “ . . . and replace him with who!?” One answer to that is; A no-name coach can deliver repeated early-exits just as easy as Cal has.

So, are UK fans just spoiled or should a Blue Blood take a gamble with someone new now?

1. The "hurr durr talent" takes have been, are, and will always be devoid of any critical thinking or nuance. It confuses athletic potential with expected current output, ignoring the aging curve/experience, skill development, practice time restrictions, continuity, and roster fit, among other things. Plus, it's the go-to argument from Auburn AND Kansas fans (and the dumbest UK fans, who are legion), which alone creates a (rebuttable) presumption that the argument is dumb.

2. That said, there are specific critiques of Calipari that absolutely apply. The first is related to point 1, as Cal's recruiting and marketing philosophy inherently creates a situation that devalues the factors noted above that (along with athletic potential) leads to winning basketball games in the present. For all the moral good (yes, it's better that athletes derive revenue from their work, and yes it's an overall moral good even though Cal milks it for his own benefit even while apparently sincerely believing it), it has severe drawbacks for winning games at UK.

3. The other specific critique of Cal that is inarguable is that there is quite literally nothing in the universe that is tighter than his butthole in a close, late game. It's reflected in the many instances of stall ball (intentional or not) that makes the already difficult chore of watching a Cal half-court offense even harder to stomach, and the circumstantial evidence is that it affects the players. This is partly related to having young, constantly churning rosters, sure, but if you have eyes you can see this happening from his time at Memphis through the latest NCAA Tournament disappointment. He needs his Lane Kiffin to Alabama moment - an assistant coach that can help revive a boring and stale offense and reinvigorate his career.

4. That being said, Cal shouldn't be fired because, as fun as college basketball is, there's no universe where it's worth $60 million to buy him out. FFS, spend that money on something worthwhile (this also applies to the athletic budgets at most football "skewls").

5. That said, if he left I wouldn't shed too many tears. I'd sincerely thank him for all that he brought to UK (and for helping push the focus and benefits on players) while also looking ahead to change. Ideally, it'd be like a mutual breakup, where both parties are sad that the good times ended but also happy to go on their separate ways.
 

Big_Blue79

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Just because a kid is ranked 17th in the recruit rankings doesn’t make him immediately great at college basketball. Some kids are ranked high on potential that may or may not be tapped into gradually over the next 5 years.
Spitting straight facts over here.
 

ExitFlagger

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Spitting straight facts over here.

I don't know about everybody else, but I couldn't care less about recruiting rankings. Bryce Thompson was a 5 star and he did almost nothing well. Meanwhile, Agbaji was nowhere near the top 100.

That's not how I judge talent/ability. I judge by what I see. And Calipari has had plenty.

I think almost anyone would agree that a few of his teams didn’t have the right combination of talent/experience to go far (like last year and 2013), but most of them have.
 

GE Nole

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I don't know about everybody else, but I couldn't care less about recruiting rankings. Bryce Thompson was a 5 star and he did almost nothing well. Meanwhile, Agbaji was nowhere near the top 100.

That's not how I judge talent/ability. I judge by what I see. And Calipari has had plenty.

I think almost anyone would agree that a few of his teams didn’t have the right combination of talent/experience to go far (like last year and 2013), but most of them have.

Sure. And to be fair, most of Cal’s teams have gone at least to the second weekend.
 
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