Kentucky head coach John Calipari fired back at ESPN’s Jay Bilas over the weekend for comments Bilas made on draft night. Now, he seems to have taken a shot at Bilas’ college coach.
For those unfamiliar, Bilas played at Duke under Mike Krzyzewski. Calipari was angry at the former Duke big man’s assertion that colleges don’t “produce” pros.
Today he appeared to take aim at Krzyzewski. Coach K and Coach Cal have battled on the court a few times over the years, but have competed even more fiercely on the recruiting trail.
Both programs go after the cream of the crop in each recruiting class, and both are well-represented in the NBA Draft on a yearly basis. Based off his tweets today, Calipari clearly feels his program is better at team-building.
What started as one of Calipari’s usual tweets offering commentary on his team’s development turned into him seemingly knocking Duke.
“We don’t promote two guys and push everyone else to the curb,” he wrote. “This is about all these kids becoming their best version. As this team succeeds, we all become our best version. BIG TEAM, BETTER ME. And yes, we trademarked that.”
We don’t promote two guys and push everyone else to the curb. This is about all these kids becoming their best version. As this team succeeds, we all become our best version. BIG TEAM, BETTER ME. And yes, we trademarked that.
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) June 25, 2019
The reference to “promoting two guys and pushing everyone else to the curb” looks like a reference to Duke’s Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett. Krzyzewski made those two uber-talented freshmen the focal point of the team this past season, and while it paid off with an ACC Tournament title and Elite Eight appearance, there were some who felt the Blue Devils’ roster was too top heavy and centered around the duo.
Of course, it is easy to look at Duke’s blowout win over Kentucky in last season’s opening game and just say Calipari has sour grapes. He’s also looking for whatever edge he can find when it comes to recruiting new blue chips.
However, there is no denying that Calipari has done a good job preparing his players to play at the next level and getting his team to improve throughout the season. Why shouldn’t he think his program is superior to Krzyzewski’s?
For what it’s worth, in the last four years, both Duke and Kentucky have the exact same NCAA Tournament resume: two Elite Eights, one Sweet Sixteen and one loss in the Round of 32. They aren’t scheduled to play each other in the regular season for another three years, but maybe we’ll see them face off in March soon.