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.


Teejay Roden 8 months, 1 week 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.


1timbob 8 months, 2 weeks 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


Ralster Jayhawk 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Cant call KY'12 "team of the century", when we havent seen KY'13-14's results. Or KU '13-14. Remains to be seen. Many called Bird or Magic the "best ever" before some kid named Michael Jordan showed up...


DrPepper 8 months, 2 weeks 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.


Woody Cragg 8 months, 2 weeks ago

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


Tony Bandle 8 months, 2 weeks 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!!!


Preston Dwiggins 8 months, 2 weeks 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.


jhawkrulz 8 months, 2 weeks 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.


KansasComet 8 months, 3 weeks ago

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


Ralster Jayhawk 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Frankly, at this point, I'm a bit tired of the Self vs. Calipari debate. Both get results with their systems. And both have built programs at several different places. One interesting difference may be "what would their former school(s) fan bases say" about each guy, and I have seen many frustrated comments by Memphis fans on their Memphis bball fansite. Similar to UMass fans. But, really, I dont care. Kentucky has a winning program, so does KU. Let the on-court games decide it. John Calipari most definitely is a worthy competitor, and his teams play hard for him, and his system and playstyle does deliver results, although it does have greater need for the uppermost-echelon of recruit, while Self's usual pipeline of B-grade "developed" athletes usually keeps KU top10-competetive. And all we can ask for is a shot at the Final4, which we do get every year since about 2007. My hat's off to Calipari and Self for getting the job done. History can judge them later, after their careers are completed. We, at KU, definitely love Bill Self.


Konkis Dongington III 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Let's get this out of the way because as often as the issue gets brought up, the record needs to be set straight. John Calipari HAS been CAUGHT cheating. There is nothing reputed about it. If you read up on the investigation of Derrick Rose, in addition to accusations (which the NCAA was never able to fully substantiate) that Rose had someone else take the SAT for him, it was found that Calipari had arranged and approved budgets that spent Memphis athletic department money on travel and accommodations for Rose's brother throughout the year, beginning in Nov of 2007. The direct gift of travel expenses from a coach to a player's family constitutes impermissible benefits and was part of the reason Memphis was forced to vacate their season, and they were given with Calipari's express knowledge and approval.

The NCAA didn't do anything directly to Cal when this came to light, but why should they have? Cal didn't leave Memphis until after the school was punished, and you'd think a coach with his history would have a hard time landing a new job, but I guess not. Regardless, it doesn't change the fact that the NCAA did catch Calipari with his hand in the cookie jar. The story is just a lot less salacious than the story about Rose cheating, so it's been under-reported in sports media. This link has a brief summation:


justanotherfan 8 months, 3 weeks 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.


Tom Longhofer 8 months, 3 weeks 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.


William Blake 8 months, 3 weeks ago

How I see Cal:

I believe, in the past, he did whatever was necessary to get the top recruits. Why would a top recruit go to UMASS or Memphis? Anyone thinking it was his charm that won these recruits... think again. The world is full of charming college recruiters from schools far better than these two.

But now, Cal has reached the ceiling. He is at one of the blue blood programs, and carries a rep for nailing the big talent, and he does and he sells that talent already under his belt to future recruits.

I'm thinking he watches his step these days. Too many eyes watching and he risks his fat salary by taking chances.

However... what brought Cal to the top is still inside him. Let's say... he has the top recruit class in the nation and they fall on their rears again this year... then what? And let's say KU, with the top recruit in the nation, nails another NC.

Cal will have had two bad years in a row. I doubt anyone in college basketball has the pressure Cal has on him. The expectation level at UK is sickening. Another bad showing in the NIT spells disaster.

So what brought Cal to the top could one day return, to bring Cal to the bottom. At some future point he may return to the "ol' Cal"... sliding $50k watches on the wrists of recruits during a handshake.

Take a glance at world history, and why countries are like they are today, and you'll read how leaders soared to the top, only to fall later on a weakness that was sleeping inside.

I'm doubtful Cal can outplay history, and the typical conclusions history brings to us.

Time will tell... and if you are a Jayhawk fan.. please believe me... time is on our side!


jayhawkingtontown 8 months, 3 weeks 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.



Tony Bandle 8 months, 3 weeks 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!!!!!!!


justinryman 8 months, 3 weeks 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.


Scott Smetana 8 months, 3 weeks ago

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


VaJay 8 months, 3 weeks 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...


jaybate 8 months, 3 weeks 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.


Martin Rosenblum 8 months, 3 weeks 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.


Nick Kersting 8 months, 3 weeks ago

When did Goodman go from CBS to ESPN?


farnamjayhawk 8 months, 3 weeks ago

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


Neom 8 months, 3 weeks ago

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


Michael Pannacciulli 8 months, 3 weeks 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.


Sae Thirtysix 8 months, 3 weeks ago

HCBS can recruit AND coach 'em up. RCJHGOKU


Ian Emerson 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Didn't Cal pay Anthony Davis or something


Steve Gantz 8 months, 3 weeks 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.


ahpersecoachingexperience 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Self thanked his staff while Cal thanked his checkbook!


jayhawkinnc 8 months, 3 weeks ago

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


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