Posted: 5:55 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013
By Glenn Logan
Talk about your all-time "Well, duh's," this one is probably high on the list. Kentucky's John Calipari is reckoned the best recruiter in college basketball by one of the most staggering margins I can recall seeing in Gary Parrish's "Candid Coaches" series. Consider:
- John Calipari (Kentucky): 49 percent
- Bill Self (Kansas): 8 percent
- Mike Krzyzewski (Duke): 6 percent
- Billy Donovan (Florida): 5 percent
- Buzz Williams (Marquette): 5 percent
Well, folks, this one isn't even close, nor should that come as a surprise to anyone outside the immediate family of the also-rans. This quote pretty much sums it all up:
On Calipari: "He's just that good. It's unfair and generally a waste of time to go up against him. People can speculate all they want about his practices or say that anyone can recruit to Kentucky. They are all signs of jealousy. [My emphasis]
This, too, is important:
It should come as no shock that John Calipari tops this poll considering he's basically established himself as the greatest recruiter in the history of college athletics. The only surprise is that he received just 49 percent of the vote, which suggests some of the coaches polled here were simply overthinking things.
Nick Saban might have a thing or two to say about the "history of college athletics" qualifier, but I think this is actually, with a nod to the biases among the fans of different sports, correct.
The 49% does not surprise me, nor do I think it is due to "overthinking," as Parrish suggests. I suspect it is more due to outright loathing and jealousy, and a refusal to give one inch of credit due to John Calipari. Coach Cal has enemies, and some of them are fond of lying around in the weeds and taking any opportunity that arises to make their dislike of him known, even anonymously.
But that's true of every great recruiter, so don't get paranoid. I'll bet Nick Saban and Coach K have similar situations, it's just that they can't really manifest themselves here. That Krzyzewski is this close to Donovan and Williams seems a disservice to me, and tends to validate my perception. I think Krzyzewski is a great recruiter, better than Donovan and Williams by a significant amount, way more than 1%.
But whatever. This is one of those things that gives us something to chat about, but has very little overall relevance to anything important. Since we really don't have all that much important to talk about right now that's basketball-related, this will have to do.