Jay Mariotti normally knows a sleaze when he sees one. After all, when looking in the mirror everyday he sees a guy who seems to be pretty sleazy himself. So Jay writes that John Calipari is a sleaze and just generally does a hit-job on Calipari for following the rules set out by the NBA for when collegiate players can declare for the NBA Draft. Also, while doing a hit-job on Calipari he advises Jabari Parker of Duke (coached by Coach K, who by the way, has had two one-and-done players over the last three years and will probably have another this year, along with potentially two more next year) to stay in school. Why? I would have no idea. Mitch McGary, Nerlens Noel, and Marcus Smart are great examples of why staying in school as "the right thing to do" more often than not is the financially dumb thing to do.
I don't know what else I should expect from a guy who has an issue with Barack Obama filling out a bracket. It seems Obama knows more about college basketball players than Jay does, which means Obama spends most of his time talking basketball and not running the country. It doesn't annoy me that Obama fills out a bracket and then goes on ESPN to reveal his bracket. It's all a part of efforts, like appearing on "Between Two Ferns" and Michelle Obama appearing on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Kimmel," to appeal to "the kids" and further an agenda/program they have. Obviously Obama isn't furthering a program by filling out a bracket, but I chalk that up appealing to "the kids" and trying to seem down-to-earth. Either way, it's sort of silly to get up in arms about Obama filling out a bracket. It's needless, but not a huge drain on his time.
I'll start with Jay's column about what a jerk John Calipari is. I feel like I end up defending Calipari more often than I would like to, but simply because many sportswriters seem to think it's his fault the NBA has instituted the one-and-done rule. Calipari didn't think of the rule and is on record as saying he doesn't like it. He simply plays within the rules of the one-and-done rule and that irritates writers like Jay Mariotti for some reason.
Don’t bother conducting a scientific poll. Without debate, John Calipari
is the most loathed man in college basketball, primarily because what
he preaches is not college basketball but something you’d have seen
Kevin Trudeau hawking about college basketball on a 3:30 a.m. TV
informercial (Note: Trudeau was just sentenced to a 10-year prison
sentence for consumer fraud).
AND JOHN CALIPARI SHOULD BE IN JAIL FOR CONSUMER FRAUD TOO! HE SELLS TO RECRUITS THAT HE WILL GET THEM DRAFTED BY THE NBA AND THEN HE DOES THAT, WHICH IS DEFINITELY FRAUD!
Under the phony premise that his players are his only real priority as a
coach — his leadership book, to be strategically released in time for
the Final Four, is called “Players First’’ — Calipari is on an
evangelical soapbox to prove he can point one-and-doners immediately to
the NBA while they try to win a quickie NCAA championship for Kentucky.
Except for the fact Calipari has won a championship while placing his players into the NBA after one season, this definitely could be considered fraud. It's also pure speculation to state that Calipari doesn't care about his players. I can't read minds and Jay Mariotti can't read minds, but Calipari's disappointment with the performance of his 2012-2013 Kentucky team was pretty obvious when he spoke about how his team lacked discipline. I guess that wasn't sincere enough for Jay.
Of course, all he’s doing is playing to the soft academic weaknesses of
teenaged hoops prodigies — “Gee, if I play for him, I can blow off
school and be in the NBA the following June,’’ goes the thought process —
so St. Cal can pick the players he wants and annually reload his
assembly line of talent.
He doesn't pick the players he wants. He just beaten by Duke for a recruit from Ohio and he has missed out on several other recruits and he lost out on the #1 point guard in the 2014 class to SMU. Yes, recruits want to play for Kentucky to get drafted, but top recruits also choose to play for other schools who can also get them to the NBA after one season in college. Student-athletes are required by NBA rules to stay in college for a year, spend a year overseas or petition the NBA to allow them to enter the NBA Draft if they can prove they are a year removed from their high school graduation. As I've said many, many times before, one-and-done is an NBA rule not an NCAA rule.
Once he won a national championship with two such one-and-doners
(Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist) two years ago, Calipari had
his street cred.
Actually, he won it with three one-and-done players, including Marcus Teague. But what are facts, even facts that could further prove Jay's point? He's got no time to look this shit up. Research is for bitches and bitches get grabbed by their hair when they are acting up.
“We don’t just play college basketball,’’ St. Cal announced as the season began. “We ARE college basketball.’’
Calipari has a lot of bravado, which may be annoying, but certainly doesn't make him a sleazeball.
No, you are a feeder system — for the grateful NBA,
Every college basketball program is a feeder system for the NBA, not just Kentucky basketball. Some colleges feed the NBA more than others, but NCAA basketball is set up as a feeder system for the NBA. So criticizing Calipari and the Kentucky program for being a feeder system to the NBA is a bit disingenuous. They aren't alone in this regard.
And until this past Sunday, a whole lot of us were delighted to see
Kentucky, a season after failing to reach the NCAA tournament,
struggling with maturity, cohesion and listening issues and appearing
ready to exit early from this year’s tournament.
Of course Kentucky was a #8 seed, so an "early" exit would most likely the first round, unless Wichita State had gotten upset in the first round by Cal Poly.
Imagine: Only months after suggesting his team might be the first ever
to go 40-0, St. Cal was taking 10 losses into the Midwest Regional. He
was a walking embarassment — petulantly blowing off a post-loss press
conference, complaining his team was “the most overanalyzed team in the
history of sports’’ (didn’t he suggest Kentucky might go 40-0?), then
complaining that his players were “counting on me too much.’’
Wait. Players First, right?
The fact Jay can't spell "embarrassment" correctly and that Calipari is sort of a hypocrite for talking about how Kentucky was overanalyzed aside, Calipari wasn't saying he didn't want to coach or care about his players, but he is commenting that his players were waiting on him to provide instructions rather than simply going out on the court and playing to their ability.
And those same players were counting on Calipari too much when they
needed him most? Opinions were mounting that he was the next one done at
Kentucky, eyeing the New York Knicks.
This isn't Calipari's fault. There is no indication he has attempted to pursue the New York Knicks job. Jay seems to have a double standard for head coaches, because I don't read about him criticizing Tom Izzo for having any iota of interest in the Cleveland Cavaliers job a few years ago nor the fact Izzo keeps getting connected to the Pistons job. Jay also doesn't seem to mind that Coach K has almost taken an NBA job twice (that we know of) during his coaching career. But hey, these two coaches like their players and Calipari is always looking for something better, right? That's the narrative.
Some were demanding his ouster, sensing St. Cal was much more a
recruiting con man than an actual coach. His daughter, Erin, defended
him on Twitter: “People saying my dad should be fired, he won 81% of his
games @ UK. Coach K 79% Duke. Roy Williams 78% @ UNC. Pitino 74% @ UL …
We waited for the crash.
Instead, Calipari’s parachute opened.
He got his team to play very well against Wichita State and the Harrison twins realized, "Hey, if we drive to the basket a lot I'm not sure very many guards in the country can stop us!"
While presumed future NBA stars Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker were
flaming out of the tournament with eyesore performances, Calipari
watched in bliss as the embattled twin brothers, Andrew and Aaron
Harrison, combined for 39 points and lottery pick Julius Randle
contributed his usual double-double in eliminating a 35-0 force that
nearly won the national title last April.
These presumed future NBA stars are coached by Bill Self and Coach K, both coaches who have coached one-and-done players before, yet get a free pass from Jay because they haven't coached enough one-and-done players. There apparently is a limit on how many one-and-done players a coach can have before he no longer cares about them as people.
Calipari, understand, has a bad hip. It didn’t stop him from leaping and hopping by the bench as the buzzer sounded.
Clearly he is faking this bad hip. John Calipari commits consumer and insurance fraud. Arrest this man immediately!
The purists almost had their man nailed to the wall, at long last.
The idea of "purists" in the college basketball game is laughable. Nearly all coaches end up taking on one-and-done players at some point. Even Tom Izzo took on Gary Harris who easily could have gone pro last year if he had been healthy all season. It's the nature of the game. Jim Boeheim has guys who are going to go one-and-done, Roy Williams has had players go one-and-done...it's just how it is now.
“If wins are relief, it’s time for me to retire. This was great joy
in seeing a group of young men come together and start figuring this
out. It took longer than I’d hoped,’’ Calipari said. “This team and what
people said about this team — all we’ve done all year is continue to
get better. Like every team, you hit a hole when you don’t play well.
But they believed in themselves.
“I just wish we had another month of the season, because we’re getting better every day.’’
How selfish of Calipari to say "we" as if he is part of the team. There he goes trying to take credit for what his players do on the court. It's clear by these quotes that Calipari doesn't care about his team and only wants to steal the spotlight from his players.
Remember, Kentucky rallied and nearly stole the SEC title game two
weekends ago from Florida, the tournament’s No. 1 seed and clear
favorite to reach the Final Four out of the South Regional. There might
be seven NBA futures on this team. Nothing is more dangerous in March —
and April — than pro-skilled players emerging as one with the stakes at
Imagine how good Kentucky would be if John Calipari actually cared about his players and didn't treat them as disposable goods by tossing each freshman out the door after one year so that they may achieve their goal of entering in the NBA Draft and becoming a millionaire? It's a shame Calipari puts these student-athletes in a position to achieve their dreams.
It was Willie Cauley-Stein, the sophomore forward, who said last week
that Kentucky would “shock the world,’’ adding, “There’s a lot of people
that don’t think we can make a run at it. And you know, a lot of people
don’t want to see us make a run at it.’’
These people are better known as "Jay Mariotti." And what is this? A highly-recruited player who is a sophomore at Kentucky and didn't go to the NBA Draft? I thought Calipari kicked all of his freshman out so new freshmen could take their place? My world is spinning.
“Here’s what happened with my team,’’ Calipari said. “They now are
putting themselves in a position where they’re accepting roles how they
have to play. So we’re becoming a better team. Individuals are losing
themselves into the team, so they’re playing better and more confident.
Hence what Calipari meant by stating his players were counting on him too much. They were waiting for him as the coach to put them into a certain role or worried about Calipari correcting the issue of not playing as a team when it is only the Kentucky players themselves who could correct this.
We love most March stories because they are embraceable, charming.
Nothing is warm and fuzzy about St. Cal and the rise of his
It doesn't have to be warm and fuzzy, but the high level at which they play the game could be appreciated. It was pretty cool to see the Harrison twins finally seem to understand they could dominate if they wanted to. Again, it's unfair to blame Calipari for recruiting the players he does. He is looking for a recruiting edge and his edge is that he coaches for a highly publicized school where he helps these basketball recruits get drafted into the NBA. Calipari wouldn't have to recruit these players if they could go straight to the NBA, but they can't. I recognize it's fun to hate Kentucky and hate Calipari, but let's put the blame where it belongs. Calipari isn't abusing the system any more than he is following the rules set out by the system. But of course writers like Jay Mariotti hate the one-and-done rule and naturally Calipari is a villain for not educating these players (and obviously if Calipari had not recruited him then Anthony Davis would have stayed in college for all four years, right?) and then dumping them into the NBA...which just so happens to be where these recruits want to go anyway.
Do not forget that he is the only coach who had to vacate two Final Four
appearances because of NCAA rules violations, the first at UMass
because Marcus Camby took money from an agent, the second at Memphis
because Derrick Rose allegedly had someone else take an SAT test for
Calipari doesn't have a clean history. This is true.
At the center of Calipari’s self-righteous rampage through the sport is a familiar question:
I don't understand how Calipari is being self-righteous. If anyone is being self-righteous it is Jay Mariotti for claiming Calipari is the devil for taking advantage of a rule that nearly every other college coach would take advantage of if given the opportunity.
Should college athletes be paid? Again, they are being rewarded with
full-ride scholarships that, if they chose to stay the full four years
instead of one, are worth beyond $200,000 at many schools.
Yeah, but if someone decides to stay one year and enter the NBA he has the chance to earn much more than that in real money in one year, not over four years.
Should they also be paid a stipend out of the disgustingly mammoth pot
now shared by the NCAA, the TV networks and the programs themselves?
Certainly. But that won’t stop the cries of 21st-century slavery.
It may not stop those cries, but it would certainly feel more fair. A stipend also probably wouldn't stop John Calipari from recruiting one-and-done players nor prevent these players from choosing to go to the NBA after one year in college if they feel they are ready.
And that won’t stop “heroes’’ like John Calipari from swooping in and protecting these kids, Players First,
I'm not sure Calipari has ever claimed he is protecting his players. He claims he is teaching those student-athletes who enter his program how to play defense and succeed at playing the game of basketball. If this leads to the NBA, then so be it.
even when you know and I know that he’s another scam artist trying to win in a filthy sport.
Other than his past vacated Final Four appearances I fail to understand how John Calipari is a scam artist. In fact, he delivers on what his players want him to do more often than nearly every other college basketball coach. Players enter his program wanting to play in the NBA and Calipari puts them in the NBA.
Now Jay talks about how Jabari Parker can set a grand example by choosing to stay in school for one more year as opposed to entering the NBA Draft. I think Marcus Smart, James Michael McAdoo, and Mitch McGary have already set the example by choosing to stay in school. Nerlens Noel has set the example of why an athlete that has a chance to get drafted should do so. Get paid, that's the best example, because the longer you stay in college the more chances scouts get to pick you apart.
If this isn’t how Jabari Parker wants his college career to end —
breaking down in tears, trying to explain the unexplainable — then he
does have an option. He can stay in college.
And then wait another year for scouts to pick apart his bad defense or suffer an injury? No thanks.
He can defy the one-and-done expectation, remain at Duke for his
sophomore season, tell the NBA and the agents and the TV networks and
the shoe companies that they can wait until he’s good and ready.
Because we wouldn't want Parker to be chewed up and spit out by shoe companies and evil agents. He needs to stay in school where he can continue playing basketball for free and have his image marketed without any compensation in return, all while having nothing to gain in terms of his draft position from staying one more year. That sounds like a much better plan.
Does he realize what a glorious statement that would be, rejectng
immediate millions and saying yes to one more year of the college
I do, because other college basketball players have done it. Jabari Parker would in no way be the first college basketball player to reject going to the NBA to come back and play another year in college. Harrison Barnes did it, Marcus Smart did it, Mitch McGary did it, as did Perry Jones III, Isaiah Austin, Terence Jones (from evil Kentucky!), Willie Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress, James Michael McAdoo, Gary Harris, Glen Robinson III, and other players over the past decade have done the same. What's interesting about this list is that of those players that have already been drafted few actually improved their draft position by staying in school longer (except maybe Terence Jones). I don't know where Cauley-Stein/Harris/Robinson will go or if they will declare, but I already know from mock drafts I've seen that Robinson doesn't appear to be going in the first round like he may have last year.
“Incompletion,’’ he told ESPN when asked to reflect on his Duke
career, after the stunning loss to Mercer in his first and maybe only
NCAA tournament game.
Is it possible such a bitter disappointment will impact his decision
on whether to enter the NBA draft, where he could be the No. 1 pick? “I
don’t know what I’m going to do. I don’t know what I’m going to do,’’ he
said, adding that he “didn’t care about the rankings’’ of draft
Then Parker admitted that the emotion of the moment may be affecting his decision-making, which is a small little point that Jay cares to leave out. What could be gained from coming back to school that could not be gained from playing in the NBA? All that Parker can do is improve his stock to where he is definitely the #1 pick, with the trade-off of possibly suffering an injury or having a down year that causes his stock to fall. Just look at where Marcus Smart is now. He made the "right" decision to stay in school and now he's a guy who can't lead his team to an NCAA Tournament win and the incident at Texas Tech has his maturity called into question. Can he make his teammates better? Can he shoot the three-point shot better? The "right" decision hasn't helped him reach his goal of being drafted early and playing in the NBA.
There is no set mandate that a gifted basketball player must turn pro
simply because he might be drafted first. It’s clear Parker’s game and
confidence level need work, dogged as he was by 4-of-14 shooting, four
turnovers and four personal fouls while continuing to have
well-scrutinized defensive issues against a Mercer team showing no
And if Parker stays at Duke then NBA scouts are going to see those defensive lapses and question whether Parker can defend at the NBA level. That's assuming Parker stays healthy of course. Parker had a horrendous NCAA Tournament and he doesn't have to turn professional, but the risk-reward and examples of past players who have come back to do the "right" thing by staying one more year show that Parker may not have anywhere to go but down. I firmly believe if a college basketball player is projected to go in the Top 5 of the draft, then 9 times out of 10 it is in his best interest to enter the draft.
If he looked like a polished NBA product only two weeks ago against North Carolina,
And you know, he looked like an NBA product most of the entire college basketball season as well.
he since has faded into a funk, perhaps feeling the burden of trying to lead Duke at least into the Final Four.
Or perhaps he is simply hitting the "freshman wall" that freshmen tend to hit, especially freshmen who are expected to be the best player on their team on a nightly basis. Or perhaps Parker was tired from having to play the power forward position (and some center) during most of the season when his natural position is small forward. Besides, the burden that Parker may have felt has nothing to do with whether he should go to the NBA or not.
The best player since LeBron James is Kevin Durant, right? About a dozen
other post-LeBron standouts come to mind, right? Yet that didn’t stop
the ridiculous hype for Parker and Andrew Wiggins, who avoided his own
second-round exit as he and Kansas fended off Eastern Kentucky.
Then Wiggins and Kansas lost in the next round to Dayton. Was it due to Wiggins being in a funk and trying to carry the burden of leading Kansas to at least the Final Four? Well, Wiggins better not go to the NBA until he can carry the burden of leading an entire team to the Final Four.
Just the day before, Parker had spoken about winning a national title.
“The only way you can leave a legacy and you can leave behind memories
is by winning a championship,” he said. “I know we just came up short
(in the ACC tournament). I’ve got to try to do something big now.’’
Has to do something big now? He has been hearing, no doubt, the
comparisons to Carmelo Anthony in terms of their offensive machinery and
identical 6-8, 235-pound frames. Mike Krzyzewski, his coach, tried to
temper the link before the Mercer game.
And the only way Parker can no longer hear these comparisons is to stay in college for more than one year. After that, there will be no more Carmelo Anthony comparisons ever.
Here is the most annoying part about Jay Mariotti encouraging guys like Jabari Parker to stay in school and to state that's the "right" thing to do. That annoying part is I don't believe Jay Mariotti or any of these other sportswriters would have passed up a big payday in the same situation just to stay in school and do the right thing. If ESPN had called Jay while he was in college (assuming ESPN was big when Jay was in college) during his sophomore year and said, "If you skip the last two years of college we will hire you now," does anyone really think Jay would have stayed in college for two more years? I highly doubt he would have. This same thing goes for these other sportswriters who encourage college athletes to pass up a payday in order to stay in college for one more year. Does anyone really think if the roles were reversed that sportswriter would pass up making money in order to stay in college?
“Jabari’s going to be an outstanding pro, but he’s right now in the
process of development,’’ he said. “To compare the two now, there is no
comparison. But in three, four, five years, Jabari, I think, will be a
franchise player. He’ll be a 25-points-a-game scorer in the NBA. But
he’s still developing.’’
Just because Parker is still developing doesn't mean the best place for him to develop is in college basketball and not the NBA. It's fun to get paid while developing. It's no fun to do it for free, unless Parker really cares that much about an education. Which in that case, he can always come back to Duke to get his degree anytime he wants.
The most responsible decision he could make would be to stay.
Is it though? Ask Marcus Smart how being "responsible" paid off for him. Ask Mitch McGary how being "responsible" and coming back for his sophomore year when his value was at an all-time peak after the 2013 NCAA Tournament worked out. In terms of finances, it is not responsible to stay in school. If Parker is projected to go in the Top 5 of the draft he should definitely go to the NBA. I have a hard time seeing how staying in school and potentially hurting his draft stock is responsible.
I could think of no worse fate than Parker turning pro, being drafted by
the god-awful Philadelphia 76ers and being expected to lead that
franchise to the promised land in an overly demanding sports town. Just
19, he surely would struggle at times in his rookie season, whereas
another season at Duke under Krzyzewski would better prepare him for the
Yes, but declaring for the NBA Draft would mean Parker is actually in the NBA and he would learn to lead a franchise by actually leading a franchise that doesn't have any other leaders, where the team can be built around him and Michael Carter-Williams/Nerlens Noel. If anything, having Noel back there would do wonders to offset Parker's defensive deficiencies and help ease his transition to playing defense at an NBA level. Yeah, I bet Jay didn't think about that did he?
and give him a chance to redeem himself in March.
And how much money does redeeming himself in March make for Parker and his family again?
That also would be a gift to Coach K,
Because the one thing Coach K needs more of is gifts. He already has four Top-50 players in the 2014 class committed to Duke and has one Top-20 recruit for the 2015 class committed to Duke. Who will be around to save Coach K when Jabari Parker is gone?
He had a health scare earlier this month, not the first time, and maybe
the best plan is to coach two more seasons at Duke, coach the U.S.
Olympic team to a third gold medal in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and retire.
I don't understand why Jabari Parker shouldn't go to the NBA because he needs to give Coach K a gift and be around for Coach K's final years as a basketball coach at Duke. This doesn't make sense to me. Why does the impending retirement of a head coach mean one of that coach's players has a responsibility to stay in school? I don't see how this is relevant to the discussion at hand.
It wasn’t his best coaching performance this season, with his players lagging defensively and lapsing on fundamentals.
And of course if Coach K isn't teaching his players the fundamentals and how to play defense why wouldn't Jabari Parker stick around to take advantage of this shitty teaching when he could be in the NBA making money? Come on Jay, you say Parker will learn more staying in college and then state you don't think Coach K did a good job coaching this year. It can't be both ways. Parker isn't very good on defense yet, so why would he stick around if Coach K let his players lag on defense? That's not going to help Parker improve.
Besides Jay is wrong, Coach K didn't do a poor job coaching the entire season. There wasn't a quality center on the roster, the three seniors were disappointments or non-contributors, and the two players he built the team (Hood/Parker) around were weak on defense and had to play out of position too often. Part of the reason these two players were so weak on defense is they played out of position for most of the season (especially Parker). Either way, if Jay thinks Coach K did a shitty job coaching, then I don't see how it is responsible at all for Parker to come back for his sophomore year.
Is it time for to wonder if Harvard’s Tommy Amaker, one of his many protegees, is the best man to replace him?
Remember when this column was about Jabari Parker setting an example by not leaving for the NBA? What ever happened to that?
Everyone knows Chris Collins is going to be the man to replace Coach K. Collins is a great recruiter and just has to prove he can coach. So far, he's done a pretty damn good coaching at Northwestern.
Soon enough, he will be visiting another young man to discuss the
future. If he tells Jabari Parker to follow his heart, that artery will
lead him back to Durham.
Unfortunately, this is a case of the heart leading Parker wrong. If he's projected to be a Top 5 draft pick then Parker should absolutely enter the NBA Draft. Just take a look at recent players who have chosen to stay for their sophomore year and where they were drafted the year after. It's not a list that tells me it is responsible to stay for another year in college if the ultimate goal is to be drafted as high as possible in the NBA Draft. This is just another example of a sportswriter unconscionably encouraging an amateur athlete to hold off on getting paid when this isn't the same decision this sportswriter would make in the same situation.
Jay Mariotti sucks and it would be responsible for Sports Talk Florida to not allow him a forum to give his trolling opinions.