Thursday, August 1, 2013

ESPN ranks Calipari, Self 1-2

Kansas head coach Bill Self smiles at Kentucky head coach John Calipari as the two sit for makeup before their joint CBS interview on Sunday, April 1, 2012 at the Superdome.

Kansas head coach Bill Self smiles at Kentucky head coach John Calipari as the two sit for makeup before their joint CBS interview on Sunday, April 1, 2012 at the Superdome.


Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari, who worked on the staffs of both Larry Brown and Ted Owens at Kansas University, and current KU coach Bill Self rank as the top two recruiters of all head coaches in the country, according to a summer survey of 200 coaches by

Calipari came in at No. 1, followed by Self, Arizona’s Sean Miller, Louisville’s Rick Pitino, Florida’s Billy Donovan, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, St. John’s Steve Lavin, Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton, Baylor’s Scott Drew, North Carolina’s Roy Williams, Memphis’ Josh Pastner, Ohio State’s Thad Matta, Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, VCU’s Shaka Smart, Marquette’s Buzz Williams, Indiana’s Tom Crean, N.C. State’s Mark Gottfried, Villanova’s Jay Wright and Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall.

“Recruiting is a never-ending process,” said Self, who has signed top 15-ranked players in Andrew Wiggins (1), Josh Selby (1), Xavier Henry (8), Julian Wright (8), Wayne Selden (12), Mario Chalmers (12) and Brandon Rush (13), as well as Joel Embiid, No. 6 by ESPN.

“Not a day goes by you don’t do something recruiting-related with prospects you are seriously interested in.

“With Kurt (Townsend), Norm (Roberts) and of course Joe (Dooley, Florida Gulf Coast) just here, Danny (Manning, Tulsa) here and Jank (Tim Jankovich, SMU) before that (and now Jerrance Howard), you’ve got so many guys who have played a huge role in representing our school and selling it well. We love the product we are selling, but the product alone doesn’t sell it. We have to work, and I have a staff that does it as well as anybody.”

Of Self, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman wrote: “He fell off for a couple of years, but seems to have his mojo back in recruiting circles. He just put together a stellar class led by the nation’s top-ranked player, Andrew Wiggins.”

Of former KU head coach Roy Williams of UNC, who ranks 11th, Goodman wrote: “I was shocked he checked in this low, to be honest. Personally, I would have ranked him somewhere around fifth. Williams still gets after it on the recruiting trail, and the Carolina brand still goes a long way with kids.”

And of Calipari, Goodman said: “He’s at another level than everyone else. Seriously. It’s now an upset if he doesn’t get the top class in the country. Honestly, my 9-year-old daughter could work for Calipari as an assistant and still bring in elite talent. Calipari is that good in the recruiting game.”

For comments on all 20 coaches, go to Goodman’s story at

Townsend was named top recruiting assistant in the country earlier this week.

Turner to Late Night: Myles Turner, a 6-foot-11, 225-pound senior center from Trinity High in Euless, Texas, will visit KU for the Oct. 4 Late Night in the Phog, Turner told He is ranked No. 6 nationally by’s Jeff Borzello slots Turner at No. 2, behind KU target Jahlil Okafor of Chicago. Turner has a list of 26: KU, Arizona, Arkansas, Baylor, Connecticut, Duke, Georgetown, Indiana, Kansas State, Kentucky, Louisville, Marquette, Miami, North Carolina, N.C. State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, SMU, Stanford, Texas, Texas A&M;, UT-Arlington, UCLA and UNLV.

Oubre to visit KU: No. 19-ranked Kelly Oubre, a 6-5 senior from Bush High in Richmond, Texas, tells he will visit KU for Late Night. His list of eight: KU, UConn, Florida, Georgetown, Kentucky, Louisville, Oregon and UNLV.

Early offer for Riley: Cody Riley, a 6-7 freshman from Sierra Canyon High in Chatsworth, Calif., has received scholarship offers from KU, Arizona and USC, reports. Riley is originally from Platte City, Mo.


jayhawkinnc 8 years, 1 month ago

Self is the best clean recruiter. Calipari is the best cheating recruiter.

Benz Junque 8 years, 1 month ago

Why is it cheating for Cal but not for Self? Just curious. If Cal lands an elite recruit, many Ku fans think it is because he cheated to do so. If Self lands an elite recruit, most KU fans assume he didn't cheat to do so. Pretty foolish if you ask me.

KU has more recruiting violations under Self than UK does under Cal. Just a reminder... Let's not be ignorant fans that can't recognize that we aren't the only elite recruiting destination. Cal has a great program to recruit kids to, just like Self has at KU. To think otherwise is just dumb.

actorman 8 years, 1 month ago

It might have something to do with the minor detail that Calipari has had two Final Four appearances vacated, from two different "programs."

Wheatgerm 8 years, 1 month ago

Calipari had them vacated? How did he do that?

JayHawkFanToo 8 years, 1 month ago


You are taking a very shortsighted view of Calipari's record. He left the previous two school where he coached on probation and with vacated seasons. History suggests that the same will happen at Kentucky, once all the shenanigans with Wide World Wes and other boosters are uncovered. It is not a matter of if it will happen but when it will happen.

You can call us dumb, I call you utterly naïve.

Preston Dwiggins 8 years, 1 month ago

If that is the case for 2012, would KU get the National Title? Obviously I'm not sure how this works.

Brad Farha 8 years, 1 month ago

No. If the Champion has to vacate the win due to violations, then there is no Champion for that year.

Benz Junque 8 years, 1 month ago

If a bank owner hires former bank robbers to work for him because they know everything there is to know about the banking industry and he gets robbed, is he a criminal? NO. Is he guilty of taking a huge risk to try to better his situation? Yes.

Cal has brought in many players that virtually everyone KNEW had been very likely guilty of receiving impermissable benefits. Is that CHEATING by Cal? NO. Is it STUPID? TBD. So far it has worked out GREAT for Cal as the punishments have not been against him and he has always leveraged his success into a better job.

WHEN one of these players causes him problems at UK, he will just bolt for the NBA for an even higher pay day.

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 1 month ago

What do you call the 200 coaches ESPN used to decide the top recruiters?

Kevin Huffman 8 years, 1 month ago

I wouldn't call it cheating per se', but I would say w/ advantages of "connections" and over-the-top no other students get it housing, etc.

"Shady" maybe....actual "cheating', probably not.

Micky Baker 8 years, 1 month ago

It's because, the last two universities Calipari has coached at were left with major sanctions against them due to recruiting violations.

TheDeepEnd 8 years, 1 month ago

I'm as anti-Cal as they come and I'm with khuff80 in assuming he is shady, but Cal didn't leave Memphis or UMass with recruiting violations. Marcus Camby got that UMass team in trouble through his dealings with an agent during his junior year in Amherst - it had nothing to do with Cal recruiting him. And Derrick Rose was responsible for Memphis vacating 38 wins and a Final 4 appearance because he apparently cheated on his ACT the year before. Whichever school landed him (and everyone wanted him, including KU) would have faced that problem. Memphis suffered the penalty because Cal won the recruiting battle. As slimy as he certainly appears, he has avoided actual recruiting violations. I think it's totally fair to label him the best recruiter in the country - heck, he may have been the best recruiter in the country as an assistant at Pitt 25 years ago. That doesn't mean he is the best head coach in the country, all things considered. My opinion is that honor stays in Lawrence.

Wheatgerm 8 years, 1 month ago

It was the SAT, and neither the Educational Testing Service nor the NCAA ever found that he cheated. But thanks for getting most of it right. That was refreshing.

Slimy is a word I often hear. Do you suppose it's because he's Italian and greases his hair back?

TheDeepEnd 8 years, 1 month ago

Sorry I confused the ACT and SAT. I did intentionally use "apparently" in front of cheated as it was never exactly confirmed. The bottom line is that whomever won the recruiting battle for Rose was going to face that probe. Coach Cal recruited Rose better than everyone else, and so it's him. I'm sure the greased back hair and Italian name don't help in the slime perception, but I do think it goes beyond that. Bringing the slew of recruits with him from Memphis to UK when he made the move (Wall, Cousins, etc.) qualifies. Calling Terrence Jones moments after he announces for Washington - and talking him into Kentucky instead - qualifies. The recruitment of Bobby Martin to Pitt (which angered Rollie Massimino at Villanova) started Coach Cal towards that reputation. None of those were against the rules and they all add to his legacy as a legendary recruiter, but it's not like the slime reputation is just some purely ethnic bias. Nice posts, Wheatgerm.

Wheatgerm 8 years, 1 month ago

(sigh) I have to respond to the half-truths, non-truths and innuendo in some of these comments. UMass was never on probation. The only punishment handed down when Marcus Camby accepted improper benefits from a couple of agents during the NCAA tournament was the forfeiture of those four tournament games. That's it. No vacated season, no probation, nothing going forward. No, there were no recruiting violations. Cal left UMass in perfectly fine shape for Bruiser, who made it back to the tourney his first year. The fault in that case lay entirely with the player, not the coach. So said the NCAA, but opposing fans want to believe a different story. Call it confirmation bias.

Who's being naïve? None of you have read the NCAA's investigative report on UMass or Memphis. "Where there's smoke, there's fire" is what passes for critical thinking. Easier to assassinate Cal's character through insinuation and "connect the dots." That's not just naïve, that's a willing ignorance. And lazy. Details actually matter.

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 1 month ago

200 coaches picked the winners..they aren't naive nor dumb..

Evan Bilyeu 8 years, 1 month ago

I think that is too much of an assumption. Coach Cal is a great recruiter but I feel like he depends too much on the recruiting aspect of coaching.

Steve Grimm 8 years, 1 month ago

Hmmm. He's getting national champion trophies (or in the annual dialog for one), so I don't know if you can attack his approach too much.

Recruiting top-shelf talent will always make the rest of coaching easier. Self has also said that he would prefer to get the top-shelf talent every time if he could.

There are a hell of a lot of good X&O coaches looking for work because they can't recruit.

Just curious: what other aspect of today's college BBall coaching would be more important?

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 1 month ago

Easy..player development. Players in the top 75 who are willing to put in the time and work will give you more success than OADs. Kentucky had by far the top class last year and were One And Done in the NIT.

"Recruiting top-shelf talent will always make the rest of coaching easier." How did that work out for Mark Doherty?

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 1 month ago

Give Cal his dou.. No one develops player like HCBS. No one is even close.

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for not pointing out my spelling of 'due' but he has sent players to the NBA that no one else could have done.

Darnell Jackson, Cole Aldrich, Jeff Withey,Sasha Kuan etc are good examples. Self developed others who were never expected to make any real contribution at KU. Players like Morningstar, Conner Teahan, Travis Releford, Kevin Young.

Plus you had to see the yearly progress from players like the Morris twins, TRob, Tyshawn Taylor, Tharpe and several players.

ahpersecoachingexperience 8 years, 1 month ago

Self thanked his staff while Cal thanked his checkbook!

Steve Gantz 8 years, 1 month ago

Funny because less than two years ago there was a lot of discussion on this same site whether Bill Self had lost his recruiting touch.

David Leathers 8 years, 1 month ago

It's funny because Jeff Goodman of ESPN pretty much said the same thing.

Steve Gantz 8 years, 1 month ago

I guess that adds some legitimacy to his reporting if he knew that. I don't recall it being any kind of a national story. I guess I'll go read the story!

Ian Emerson 8 years, 1 month ago

Didn't Cal pay Anthony Davis or something

Preston Dwiggins 8 years, 1 month ago

Supposedly his (unibrow) dad made out like a bandit.

Sae Thirtysix 8 years, 1 month ago

HCBS can recruit AND coach 'em up. RCJHGOKU

Michael Pannacciulli 8 years, 1 month ago

Williams and Coach K are too low on the list. Is this calculated on the most recent draft class or historically? Coaches should thank current and former players as much as the staff because all too often guys come to play with other guys, their AAU buddies, their brother or cousin, etc.

Neom 8 years, 1 month ago

Any allegations against Calipari is ungrounded and jealousy unless you have evidence to prove it. Just saying.

Andy Tweedy 8 years, 1 month ago

I mostly agree with your statement, but when you have Derrick Rose and Marcus Camby on your resume, you're gonna get the heat. I find it EXTREMELY hard to believe his hands are totally clean of those messes.

Mark Lindrud 8 years, 1 month ago

Both UMass and Memphis had violations while he was there. Both times, Calipari just happen to leave in the wake of the firestorm not to have to get his hands dirty. There's your evidence. I've never had a problem with UK, but I honestly feel its a matter of time until something else happens.

Benz Junque 8 years, 1 month ago

The issue is NOT that HE did anything against the rules in my mind. It is simply that Cal has recruited many players that have had clouds of allegations hanging over their head. The allegations were outside of any particiaption by the college, but the college was affected because Cal ignored those questions and brought the kids in any ways.

Self has been bit by the same problem on a smaller scale (Selby). If you allow a kid to play for your program that has had previous allegations swirling over his head while still in high school, it is only a matter of time before your program gets burned by it. Cal is just much more at risk because he signs so many of these types of players.

Mark Lindrud 8 years, 1 month ago

I will have to respectfully disagree with your assessment. For someone who played and coached in the college arena, lots of things get swept under the rug sadly. It can be a shady enterprise and typically, when there is smoke, 90% of the time there is fire of some kind. I'm not here to claim anything except that in today's society the phrase innocent until proven guilty doesnt have the same cookie cutter philosophy we grew up on.

The thing that counts for us Jayhawks is Self is a great recruiter, and whether many of us like it or not, he and Calipari are compared to each other often.

Benjamin Piehler 8 years, 1 month ago

Where theres smoke, there's fire. And there's been smoke around this guy for a decade. I'd bury my head in the sand if he coached at my school too though.

farnamjayhawk 8 years, 1 month ago

I'm glad that Turner has trimmed down his list of potential schools

Martin Rosenblum 8 years, 1 month ago

"... will visit KU for the Oct. 4 Late Night in the Phog"

Oct. 4.........that's only 9 weeks from now! That's the most exciting thing in this whole article today.

jaybate 8 years, 1 month ago


First I think it's inaccurate to say Cal is a dirty recruiter. He has reputedly been investigated and cleared a number of times.

Cal is rather a coach than tends to coach at schools, where violations goes on with him claiming no wrong doing. UMass and Memphis both vacated seasons during which Cal coached. UK is a school with a significant history of violations before he arrived and more investigations during his tenure.

Compare Self's wake of schools without vacated wins and Cal's wake of schools with vacated wins. Neither coach reputedly cheats. But Self tends to choose schools that act within the rules and Cal tends to choose schools that don't.

Along these lines, perhaps call the Chicago newspaper that reputedly wrote a story a couple years back that alleged someone involved with UK offered a recruit $100k and reputedly refused to retract the story when challenged to do so by someone reputedly from UK.

Mark Lindrud 8 years, 1 month ago

Just because he was cleared doesnt mean he was clean. It's like saying OJ is innocent.

actorman 8 years, 1 month ago

How can you believe that OJ did it, when he has spent his life tirelessly searching for the real assailant?

Mark Lindrud 8 years, 1 month ago

My dear apologies for the oversight. Did he make parole by the way?

Benz Junque 8 years, 1 month ago

"But Self tends to choose schools that act within the rules and Cal tends to choose schools that don't."

Kansas has as many major violations as Kentucky does, maybe more. We aren't squeaky clean, folks...

As I said, Cal simply cannot turn away from recruits that have allegations swirling over them. His ego will not allow it. He is OK with risking a hit to his program because he knows that he personally will not face any penalties. With Cal signing so many elite players, he will always be more at risk of landing a kid who will be found to be ineligible after being investigated. Those are the kids being preyed on by these agents and runners.

When you sign 6 elite recruiits a year versus three a year, you are twice as likely to get burned.

JayHawkFanToo 8 years, 1 month ago

If you think that KU has as many major violations as Kentucky, then you are not only naïve but ignorant as well.

KU does not show in the article above where the Kentucky basketball is there more times than any other school. Did KU ever had all of its teams banned from post season? Did KU ever had to suspend the entire season because of a point shaving scandal? Does KU have players banned for life from the NBA? Kentucky has all of the above.

jaybate 8 years, 1 month ago


JayhawkFanToo gave you the facts. Now it is up to you to adjust your thinking.

Apologists for rogue programs often try to equate the rogue programs with the trying to do it the right way programs by saying the latter are not clean; that the latter have broken rules.

But it only persuades those that know little.

Throughout the history of college basketball, with intermittent lapses into straight shooting, after heavy sanctions, UK has run a Jolly Roger compared to KU and signaled it had not changed when it hired Cal amidst the Memphis implosion.

Coaches never need to cheat at rogue programs, when the culture cheats for them.

KU Basketball has been disciplined mildly for what happened on Roy's watch. An infraction will occur sooner or later under Self. Last season is still threatened by Ben's reputed actions. That could be it. Or something else. But it just is not credible to compare UK with KU.

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 1 month ago

Seriously?? You must not know much about the history oc CBB.

Brian Conrad 8 years, 1 month ago

2coach idiot.. you must be young...

The Kentucky Wildcats have a rap sheet almost as prolific as their successes. Historically, the team has had teams that have proven to be somewhat shady.

It all started under Adolph Rupp (pictured). In 1949, Kentucky was the most feared team in the nation and went on to win the NCAA championship.

However, they had two suspicious losses, one to Saint Louis and one to Loyola. Later, three players including two All-Americans (Alex Groza and Ralph Beard) admitted to throwing the Loyola game. They were subsequently banned from the pro league forever.

Two years later, in 1951, center Bill Spivey was accused of shaving points, right after coach Rupp said: "Gamblers couldn't touch my boys with a 10-foot pole."

Spivey claimed innocence before a grand jury and was charged with lying under oath. He didn't get convicted, but the NBA prohibited Spivey from ever playing. Sportswriters soon sent Rupp an 11-foot pole after the scandal broke.

After two scandals in three years, Kentucky became the first team to get the "death penalty" and were banned from play during the entire 1952-53 season.

Many years later, in 1989, head coach Eddie Sutton was implicated in another scandal regarding the paying of recruits. His assistant coach had sent $1,000 to the father of freshman Chris Mills and Kentucky was already under probation.

The NCAA considered another "death penalty" ruling, but instead Eddie Sutton and athletic director Cliff Sutton were forced to resign and the Wildcats got three years of probation and a two-year ban on postseason play.

There haven't been any other sanctions on Kentucky since then, but the hiring of John Calipari has me sitting on the edge of my seat.

With his record, it may not be long before something happens in Lexington. Technically, none of the things he's done in the past have been his fault, but lots of things have gone on under his watch, so it wouldn't surprise me if something else did.

VaJay 8 years, 1 month ago

I was worried when I saw the title of the article that ESPN thinks Calipari is a better coach than our Self. OK, so Cal gets a few extra top recruits - well, none of us around here like how he does it, & we prefer (for the most part with a few notable exceptions constantly noted on this board) the way Coach Self does it.

At tipoff, who would you rather have on the bench??? It's a no-brainer. Ours will run circles around Theirs...

Alex Peekeaton 8 years, 1 month ago

"At tipoff, who would you rather have on the bench??? It's a no-brainer. Ours will run circles around Theirs..." - Calipari and Self have met 3 times will Cal holding a 2-1 advantage...I don't think anyone is running circles around the other!

VaJay 8 years, 1 month ago

If all things are equal on the court talent-wise, then I take coach Self.

Jeff Coffman 8 years, 1 month ago

Especially last year when he decided to coach Dodgeball instead of basketball.

Preston Dwiggins 8 years, 1 month ago

I strongly disagree. Cal coached his way into the NIT this past year and stunned the nation losing to Robert Morris. Self took an average team (by KU standards) in 2012 to the National Title game. Teahan played 17 minutes and scored 0 points. This was a down year in a sense with depth and Self still led us to the promise land. To be honest, I was shocked at our run. Cal still had plenty of talent and got whipped the first round of the NIT. Back to the statement of Cal improving, I cannot call that improvement.

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 1 month ago

Maybe I'm reading or missing your point but its the 5 players on the court are far more important than those on the bench 2nd IS having a deep bench but having a 7 or 8 men rotation can be enough.

Scott Smetana 8 years, 1 month ago

Calisleazy doesn't cheat, his connections like World Wide Wes do it for him.

justinryman 8 years, 1 month ago

Cal dirty? Who knows.

Honest? Doubt it.

A little slimmey like the guy you bought your 1993 Honda civic hatchback from? Probably.

But if he can sell it and they buy it, and it's within the rules of recruiting, so be it. If this list was done by the Moral/Ethic police, the list would be rather short.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 1 month ago


1] How do you know when Cal is lying? His mouth is moving.

2] How do you know when Bill is lying? You don't..he never lies.

3] Score on head to head games, Cal 2 - Bill 1. Score on vacated Final Fours, Cal 2 - Bill 0.

4] Bill's main recruiter, Kurtis Townsend, named Top Recruiter by ESPN.

5] Cal's main recruiter, World Wide Wes, named Top Recruiter by Bank of America.

6] Cal's Top Female Fan is Ashley Judd, Bill's Top Female Fan is Olivia Wilde. You be the judge.

7] Bill puts Quaker State Oil in his car. Cal puts Quaker State Oil in his hair.

8] Circumstances that warrant cheering for Bill and Kansas.......anything.

9] Circumstances that warrant cheering for Cal and Kentucky....when they play anything!!!

10] Having a coach you can be proud of........PULEESE!!!!!!!

Evan Bilyeu 8 years, 1 month ago

Guys, I think this is getting out of hand, and its definitely getting biased!

Preston Dwiggins 8 years, 1 month ago

Out of hand or not, that was awesome Oakville!!! Nice work ; )

jayhawkingtontown 8 years, 1 month ago

It's easy to assume Cal cheats. How can he POSSIBLY land all these top tier recruits - year in, year out? Something HAS to be going on that's not hitting the surface...

I personally don't think so. I think Cal's pitch is very simple, and clearly effective. Additionally, I think HCBS and Cal have very contrasting recruiting approaches. I would imagine Cal pitches the NBA more than anything. "Hey, I understand you are one of the top recruits in the country - come to Kentucky and we'll prep you for the year you're here, then it's off the NBA." Cal OBVIOUSLY has the track record with all his top picks in the last 4+ years. And when you think about it, this HAS to appeal to an 18 year old kid whose ego is probably larger than the room, as it is. On the contrary, it's no secret that Bill never implies anything in his recruiting process. It's been noted over and over again that his style is much more of a blue chip, stripe earning process - regardless of talent. Personally, I think this resonates with a lot of players because it's more of a challenge to them. Most of these top recruits have had things given to them their whole careers. You could assume that they probably didn't have to work for much. When a head coach from a VERY prestigious, successful, tradition-rich basketball program walks into your living room and says "Hey I understand you're one of the top recruits in the country, but there's no guarantee when it comes to the University of Kansas. I'm sure if you work hard and apply yourself, the playing time will come." Obviously, I don't know the exact dialogue - but I would assume it to be something of that nature. Whatever he's doing, it's working.


jaybate 8 years, 1 month ago

I have unofficially declared PHOF as public domain. :-)

I don't want to take the time to do it officially. :-)

Kevin Huffman 8 years, 1 month ago

I've said....if Andrew Harrison were to have a serious injury I think they'd be in SERIOUS trouble.

Evan Bilyeu 8 years, 1 month ago

That is a very good point you bring up. Like last year they had a lot of problems with point guard. So if anything happens this year they might just have problems. But the problem with that is they have a lot of talent so they could probably switch someone to point pretty quickly.

Tom Longhofer 8 years, 1 month ago

The Squid doesn't have to recruit because World Wide Wes sends the players to him. Where he's going to land Kentucky in deep Kim Chi is his total disregard for the likelihood that a player will be declared ineligible after the season's over. This will ensure that KU passes Kentucky in total wins the next time the Squid has to forfeit a season's worth of Wins.

Alex Peekeaton 8 years, 1 month ago

I will make a prediction that KU will forfeit wins from a previous year before UK does and it will happen this year.

Tom Longhofer 8 years, 1 month ago

I think it's possible, but the Squid skated with Anthony Davis, so who know what the NCAA will do.

Ron Prichard 8 years, 1 month ago

So you think KU will be forced to vacate wins this year? I don't see that happening.

Kevin Huffman 8 years, 1 month ago

I think he's talking about LAST YEAR...not this year.

justanotherfan 8 years, 1 month ago

Self and Calipari are not only the top 2 recruiters in the country, they are also the top 2 coaches at this point.

Calipari has led his teams to either first or second in their conference every season except one in the last 18 seasons he's spent in the college game (14 titles, 3 second place finishes, 1 sixth place finish). That's pretty impressive in longevity.

Self has led his teams to either first or second every season except one in the last 16 seasons (13 titles, 2 second place finishes, 1 third). Again, that's impressive longevity.

You don't win that much at the collegiate level if you can't both coach and recruit because that's a consistency that you wouldn't see otherwise.

Cal and Self have both done it everywhere, even with lesser talented teams.

In the two years at UMass prior to Camby's arrival, Cal went 54-12 (24-6 in conference, two titles) with a trip to the Sweet 16 and another one to the round of 32.

Self can match with his days at Tulsa, going to the round of 32 and the Elite 8 on a 55-15 (21-7) record.

At Memphis (prior to Derrick Rose) Cal won 5 conference titles (plus finished second and sixth) and went to a pair of Elite Eights.

At Illinois Self won a pair of conference titles (also finished second once) and went to an Elite 8, a Sweet 16 and the round of 32.

The winning percentages are close. Cal - .765, Self - .756. Since arriving at their "destination" jobs, Self is clicking along at .836 (300-59), while Cal is at .825 (123-26).

Their success is basically mirror images of each other. They have both won everywhere they have been, with whatever talent they have had on hand. Neither has had a losing record after their first two seasons. Oddly enough, both were below .500 in their first two years.

Honestly, with all of the numbers that close (.09 separation in overall winning percentage, .011 separation in winning percentage at their "destination job"), it's really tough to put any distance between the two of them.

Ron Prichard 8 years, 1 month ago

Nice analysis. I may be a homer, but I would still take Self every time.

justanotherfan 8 years, 1 month ago

I probably would too. But if I couldn't pick Self, the evidence speaks for itself (no pun intended)...

Steve Gantz 8 years, 1 month ago

Remember Memphis played in a joke of a conference during his tenure there.

justanotherfan 8 years, 1 month ago

The accusations from one program to another are dangerous because the thing is, KU has been investigated (and penalized) for similar things.

There were some violations for gifts given by a booster to Darnell Jackson (Self's first recruit at KU).

The hiring of Ronnie Chalmers as Dir. of Basketball Ops is something that a lot of other schools point to as evidence of something inappropriate, although that was legal at the time (the rules have since changed).

If you go back to Brandon Rush arriving at KU, there have always been allegations that he was a non-qualifier and should not have been able to play as a freshman because of his HS grades (similar to what happened with McLemore, except Rush led the team in scoring as a frosh).

Some have said that Darrell Arthur also was a non qualifier because of HS grades (never substantiated), although there was an investigation and a bit of a scandal with his school district regarding disclosing his grades publicly.

Josh Selby and the Morris twins were all alleged to be partial or non-qualifiers by some, which is why their time with the clearinghouse took so long, according to various reports, though the NCAA hasn't said that.

Selby was also accused of receiving benefits and was suspended.

And that's not a knock on KU. There are stories like that at every program. The difference is that most people won't call for an investigation if a guy is playing 5 mpg, but they will if he's averaging a double double, so if you are recruiting top flight guys, every rock will get turned over as far as their recruitment and their academic standing, which honestly, is a little unfair to those guys.

Jeff Coffman 8 years, 1 month ago

Didn't Illinois actually bury Bill Self...I mean who speaks ill of the dead?

Hawk8086 8 years, 1 month ago

Ralster, Good points. Calipari has adapted to the OAD and has the business model to operate within the college basketball environment that exists today. He recruits the top players, sells that his system (dribble drive or whatever it's called) is the best to showcase their talents, sends first round picks to the NBA. He then has the track record to sell to the next set of recruits that UK is the best place to go if you are one of the top players that wants to get to the League after one year.Sometimes it doesn't make sense for the player to go, which is all the better for Cal as he then has a more experienced, very talented player to mix in with his next batch of inexperienced top talent. We saw the downside of that approach last year. I would not want the KU program to get to that point, but it works for them. Self's approach has worked also. Don't get me wrong....I'm glad we have this talented class coming in. Have we gotten closer to that approach with Wiggins, Selden, Embiid? Remains to be seen.

KansasComet 8 years, 1 month ago

Does it really matter? I am still cheering for KU regardless.

Jeff Coffman 8 years, 1 month ago

Historically the Calipari system works well for the offensive minded. He runs the dribble-drive and when he has a PG, he is tough to beat. Bill Self focuses on defense to offense and set-plays.

I'm definitely not in a position to evaluate, but Selby was one of the best PG in the country. Ironically, the PG position hasn't always been our most developed player under KU (Mario seemed like he played the 2...again I could be wrong). It really would have been interesting to see what Cal would have done with Selby and if the dribble drive would have benefited him. However, if you look at some of the players last year from Cal, you wonder if they could have benefited under a system set like Bill.

Again I just think it would be interesting.

Preston Dwiggins 8 years, 1 month ago

At the end of the day, I sit back and look at our roster...and feel great that it's not a dream looking at our experience, athleticism, size, and depth. I can't believe what we will be putting on the court this Fall. Rock Chalk.

Micky Baker 8 years, 1 month ago

And I'll take Bill Self's coaching any day over Calipari's.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 1 month ago

To mirror jayhwkintx1973 point, that title game we were a decided underdog playing against a #1 UK team in America and we were two missed dunks, one each by Jeff and TRob, from being down by 2 with the ball with 20 seconds left and EJ lining up for another "Mario Moment" by hitting a three pointer at the buzzer to win!!

Kentucky was lucky to win with the "Team of the Century" against a rebuilding KU squad!!!

Bill coached Cal right out of his pants..we were just a tad short on talent.[ remember our sixth man was Conner Teahan!!]

Oh by the way, let's add another stat.....lost in first round of NIT, Cal 1 - Bill 0!!!

Alex Peekeaton 8 years, 1 month ago

Lucky to win the NC??? Up 15 points with 5 minutes to play isn't luck Oak!!!

Woody Cragg 8 years, 1 month ago

ESPN has absolutely nothing on, let's say, Ray Charles. Except that maybe the guy that figured this one out is still alive.

DrPepper 8 years, 1 month ago

  1. Why put a non-linked url in an online story?
  2. Why use a tinyurl when you've got pages galore? Gimmick urls are for rick rolls.

Honestly, so much is taken and reprinted from Goodman's work, that it really warrants a full, clickable, url to the ESPN story (which happens to be Insider (ie: for pay content)). I don't think this much Insider quoting would be allowed on the message boards and a mention there would have at least included the title and complete link to the story.

Bedore is the best so please consider this constructive criticism.

1timbob 8 years, 1 month ago

I say Baylor's Scott Drew #1 John Cal#2 Bill Self#3 Scott Drew has the hardest school to sell and gets good recruits

Teejay Roden 8 years, 1 month ago

Drew has brought in great talent but the knock on him is that the team often underachieves and it's really not clear why. The 2012 season is a great example. Baylor seemed to have more talent than Kansas but KU went to the championship game after losing four starters and bringing in just two recruits neither of whom was much more than average. As I say below, Self is very very good at developing the four star/ three year guys and twice in the last five years he has put together conference champs after losing pretty much his whole rotation.

Teejay Roden 8 years, 1 month ago

I am a fan of both programs and I think it's silly to think that either Cal or Self are now "cheating". You simply cannot bring in the number of top shelf players that these two did this year without a whole lot of scrutiny. As to Kentucky, I don't think there is any reason for Cal to cheat b/c if I am a high school superstar and I am thinking OAD then I am going to look first at UK/Cal given their track record of putting guys in the league. They want Cal as much as he wants them. To Cal's credit, it is not easy to win in the tourney when you are starting each year with 80% new players even if they are extremely talented. Self and Izzo are IMO the two best at developing the four star/ three year players and I'm not aware of any violations by either one. Selby had some trouble coming into KU but that was purely generated by the player and had nothing to do with Self. Situation with Maclemore appears very similar, and will lead to nothing as to KU.
I guess my point is that the direct comparisons are not fair to either program as they seem to be trying to do two different things although there is evidence that Self is trying harder to go after some OAD guys. Also, I think Cal is underrated as a coach. Getting a group of guys to play together when they are competing in terms of draft status is an accomplishment that a lot of us have overlooked. In those terms, the OAD approach is high risk and high reward, as we saw last year for UK. If the players want to primarily promote themselves the talent is just not enough.

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