As rumors swirled about Kentucky coach John Calipari jumping to the NBA to coach the Los Angeles Lakers, the coach himself remained focused on his current team in the wake of a 60-54 loss in the national title game against the Connecticut Huskies. As SI.com reports on April 8, Calipari dismissed the rumors.
Before the game Kentucky Wildcats alum Rex Chapman got the pot stirring with the following tweet.
“Was messin’ ‘round on Sat nite re: Cal. But word is –win or lose 2nite – it’s a #DoneDeal …Cal 2 La-La-Land 2 coach Mamba’s Lakers. #NoBS.”
After the title game an emotional Calipari addressed the rumors by subtly stating that the Lakers already have a coach.
“The Lakers have a coach. Kentucky has a basketball coach. I got the best job in the country. I’m not going to even dignify that stuff.”
It would’ve been highly unexpected for a coach to announce taking another job in the wake of a championship loss, especially a college coach whose job is to console his young players. The possibility of Calipari coaching the Lakers is not dead just because he says so. Coaches have been known to change their minds when they have time to think about the possibilities.
Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart is one person who remains confident that his coach will return to Kentucky. After the game he also addressed the rumors.
“Cal’s been great, he’s been a great ambassador for this program and he cares a lot about Kentucky. So clearly we love how he represents what we do.”
Barnhart went on to say that Calipari “looks good in blue.” But if the money is right, purple and gold may also look good to Calipari who could have the opportunity to redeem himself in the NBA after being unsuccessful the first time around as coach of the then New Jersey Nets.
As of now John Calipari is just concerned with the group of young men who came up just a little short in brining another title to Kentucky.
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