Joe Ovies

UConn takes the shining moment away from Calipari

Posted April 8, 2014

Fans in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill prefer holding their nose when it comes to Kentucky and their head coach John Calipari.

Each group has their reasons. Whether it's the decades-old competition the Wildcats have with the Tar Heels and Blue Devils or that one time the coach flirted with the idea of running with the Wolfpack (even touring their arena under the cover of darkness), success is not something folks around here wish for Kentucky.

It's not much better nationally. College basketball fans roll their eyes at the "40-0" shirts popping every preseason, ridiculous tattoos highlighting championships yet to be won and all the other silly things that emerge from a clique known as Big Blue Nation. There's the proclamation of every incoming freshman class to be greatest ever assembled by Calipari. The presence of World Wide Wes makes the entire operation unsavory for many observers. Then you've got Drake hanging around the program, which typifies the front-running nature of it all.

UConn denied Drake's favorite team of the moment from getting those trophies Monday night. Everyone who gleefully enjoyed Calipari's second championship bid at Kentucky coming up short can give thanks to superior guard play by the Huskies.

There would be no game-clinching three by Aaron Harrison this time. UConn applied enough defensive pressure throughout the contest to keep him and his brother Andrew in check. They combined for just 15 points on 6-for-16 shooting. 

Compare their games to Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright. The duo essentially did what they wanted to do on both ends of the court, forcing turnovers early in the game and finishing with 36 points between them. Napier was an impressive 4-for-9 from beyond the arc, including a crucial three that kept the Huskies out in front, 51-47, with 6:54 left in the game.

Napier was awarded the most outstanding player of the Final Four. He also dropped the most outstanding line after the buzzer sounded, using his one shining moment to take a shot at the NCAA.

"I wanna get everybody's attention right quick," Napier said to Jim Nantz. "Ladies and gentlemen, you're looking at the Hungry Huskies. This is what happens when you banned us."

UConn was kept out of the NCAA Tournament last season due to a lagging APR.

Napier wasn't done talking about the NCAA after the nets were cut down and the masses moved to the locker room. He told Gary Parrish from CBS Sports, "They call us student-athletes, then they take us away from our school."

The senior, who won his second NCAA Championship with the Huskies, encapsulated the entire Final Four weekend in Dallas. As the spectacle gets larger, this time in Jerry Jones' incredible sports palace, the disconnect between money and amateur athletics gets bigger along with it. These games can't be enjoyed for what they are any more. Any conversation quickly reverts to NCAA largess.

And it always comes back to Calipari. The Kentucky coach is the shiniest object in the room, from his embrace of freshman players to NBA rumors.

Calipari has seen previous Final Four appearances at Massachusetts and Memphis vacated, yet those circumstances spoke to larger issues of NCAA governance that are now being addressed in the current news cycle. He's also taken great advantage of the current one-and-done rule, which is mutually exclusive to the antiquated notion of amateur athletics. The NCAA is doing a fine job destroying it on their own.

And unlike UConn, the Wildcats were back in the NCAA Tournament after a year off because Calipari's team simply wasn't good. The Huskies were barred from postseason play altogether due to academics. Go ahead and debate which is worse.

Regardless, the perception of "getting away with it" persists for Calipari.

Former Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun intimated as much on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan Monday morning, saying "Calipari's] way, one-and-done, most institutions are not going to allow you to do what Kentucky does, but that’s okay."

Then again, most institutions don't attract the level of talent that Kentucky or Calipari can. All he's doing is taking advantage of the current system imposed by the NBA's collective bargaining agreement. Duke, North Carolina and Kansas recruit from the same pool of players and never have to deal with any of the angst directed at Kentucky.

Perhaps detractors aren't comfortable with the way Calipari veers off the tired idealist script. While he's clearly serving his own interests and managing a roster like every other coach, Calipari does it under the guise of upward mobility for the players. It's a different type of hustle, much like his new mantra of "succeed and proceed," that embraces the idea of players cashing out instead of leaving money on the table.

That's not to say another coach, like Mike Krzyzewski, would be against players doing what's best for them. Just look at Duke's recent track record with Kyrie Irving, Austin Rivers and potentially Jabari Parker or his stance against the NBA barring high school players from the draft. Even Roy Williams will bless an early departure when his NBA intel says it makes sense.

Calipari's tune about the Lakers could change in the coming weeks. If you're part of the camp that doesn't like the way this coach runs Kentucky's program, and to a certain extent runs college basketball's news cycle, pray the Mamba pulls Calipari to the pros.

16 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • natsfan1965 Apr 8, 2014

    Kentucky lost the game by being awful at the free throw line. 2nd time a Calipari team has blown a National Championship by being terrible at one of the most basic tenets of basketball.

  • JPack Apr 8, 2014

    View quoted thread



    Still am haha! Will be til Thursday.
    Interesting. Ran out of steam? Either way happy to see UConn win. Tough luck for UK. Apparently they'll be back strong next year.

  • Jeanne Gunn Apr 8, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    Did you feast on cheese and fine chocolates during your trip?

    The game was good, but not great; there were more exciting games in the tourney than this one. I kept waiting for Kentucky to make one of its patented miracle comebacks, but like Syracuse, they ran out of luck.

  • Toddler10-21 Apr 8, 2014

    Again to Coach Ollie and the UConn Huskies. I miss Rodney Purvis, but I think he made the right choice to transfer. Ollie is a terrfic young coach and I think he is perfect for Rodney.

  • JPack Apr 8, 2014

    View quoted thread



    Like the new name. What a game. Caught highlights of it. It was apparently pretty big time over here too, just the time difference kept anyone from seeing it live. Happy for UConn. Well deserved.

  • jhigman1960 Apr 8, 2014

    Gonna be tougher for John Swofford and his ACC money men to entice UConn now. Not that they were going to, but perhaps Swofford can trade UConn for BC?

  • Hammerhead Apr 8, 2014

    View quoted thread


    You forgot the pat on the buttox.

  • Toddler10-21 Apr 8, 2014

    Its a failure for UNC, Duke, UK, Ville, Cuse, UF etc also if they dont win it all!!

  • The Deadhead Apr 8, 2014

    what's up with dat? whether winning the super bowl, world series, basketball championship...etc...etc, men resort to hugging and kissing and jumping in one another's arms. Act like men

  • olivechapel1000 Apr 8, 2014

    Liked the comments that Napier made. The 4th National championship puts UNCON right with UNC and Duke. But if you put in the Women's team. then UCONN is the basketball power house in college sports right now.

More...

 

 

  • The Ryder Cup

    Saturday at 9:00 am on WRAL-TV

  • CFB: Duke vs. Virginia

    Saturday at 12:30 pm on FOX50

  • CFB: Oklahoma vs. TCU

    Saturday at 5:00 pm on FOX50

  • CFB: Arizona State at USC

    Saturday at 8:00 pm on FOX50

  • The Logan Zone

    Sunday at 11:00 am on WRAL-TV

  • The Ryder Cup

    Sunday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Panthers at Atlanta

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on FOX50

  • NFL: Kansas City at Pittsburgh

    Sunday at 8:20 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Hurricanes at Tampa Bay (Stream only)

    Tonight at 7:30 on 99.9 The Fan

  • CFB: NC State vs. Wake Forest

    Saturday at 3:30 pm on WRAL-FM

AP Top 25
Thu, Sept 29
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
6
Fri, Sept 30
7
6:00 PT7:00 MT8:00 CT9:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 北京时间6:00 MST8:00 EST
10
Sat, Oct 1
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
20
 
14
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
 
13
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
 
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
2
 
22
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
 
23
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
 
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
12
 
11
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
25
 
8
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
4
 
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
15
 
9
1:00 PT2:00 MT3:00 CT4:00 ET8:00 GMT4:00 北京时间1:00 MST3:00 EST
 
2:00 PT3:00 MT4:00 CT5:00 ET9:00 GMT5:00 北京时间2:00 MST4:00 EST
21
 
18
3:00 PT4:00 MT5:00 CT6:00 ET10:00 GMT6:00 北京时间3:00 MST5:00 EST
 
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET11:00 GMT7:00 北京时间4:00 MST6:00 EST
1
 
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET11:00 GMT7:00 北京时间4:00 MST6:00 EST
16
 
3
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
5
 
17
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
 
19
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
 
7:15 PT8:15 MT9:15 CT10:15 ET2:15 GMT10:15 北京时间7:15 MST9:15 EST
24
 
NFL Scoreboard
Thursday, Sep. 29
Miami 5:25 PT6:25 MT7:25 CT8:25 ET0:25 GMT8:25 北京时间5:25 MST7:25 EST7:25 CT4:25 UAE (+1)20:25 ET23:25
Cincinnati 
Sunday, Oct. 2
Indianapolis 6:30 PT7:30 MT8:30 CT9:30 ET13:30 GMT9:30 北京时间6:30 MST8:30 EST8:30 CT17:30 UAE9:30 ET12:30
Jacksonville 
 
Carolina 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
Atlanta 
 
Oakland 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
Baltimore 
 
Detroit 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
Chicago 
 
Tennessee 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
Houston 
 
Buffalo 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
New England 
 
Seattle 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
NY Jets 
 
Cleveland 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
Washington 
 
Denver 1:05 PT2:05 MT3:05 CT4:05 ET20:05 GMT4:05 北京时间1:05 MST3:05 EST3:05 CT0:05 UAE (+1)16:05 ET19:05
Tampa Bay 
 
Los Angeles 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET20:25 GMT4:25 北京时间1:25 MST3:25 EST3:25 CT0:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ET19:25
Arizona 
 
New Orleans 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET20:25 GMT4:25 北京时间1:25 MST3:25 EST3:25 CT0:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ET19:25
San Diego 
 
Dallas 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET20:25 GMT4:25 北京时间1:25 MST3:25 EST3:25 CT0:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ET19:25
San Francisco 
 
Kansas City 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 北京时间5:30 MST7:30 EST7:30 CT4:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ET23:30
Pittsburgh 
Monday, Oct. 3
NY Giants 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 北京时间5:30 MST7:30 EST7:30 CT4:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ET23:30
Minnesota 
 
Minor League Baseball
International League
El Paso 4:05 PT5:05 MT6:05 CT7:05 ET12:05 GMT
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 
 
TOUR Championship (PGA)
PosNameScoreThru
1R. McIlroy - z-12F
2tR. Moore - y-12F
2tK. Chappell - y-12F
4P. Casey-9F
5H. Matsuyama-6F
6tJ. Thomas-5F
6tD. Johnson-5F
8tA. Scott-4F
8tJ. Dufner-4F
10tS. Kim-2F
View Full Leaderboard
z = Won in Playoff   y = Lost in Playoff
 
Evian Champ (LPGA)
PosNameScoreThru
1I. Chun-21F
2tS. Park-17F
2tS. Ryu-17F
4S. Feng-15F
5S. Kim-14F
6I. Kim-12F
7A. Stanford-10F
8H. Nomura-9F
9tB. Henderson-7F
9tA. Jutanugarn-7F
View Full Leaderboard
 
European Open (EURO)
PosNameScoreThru
1A. Levy - z-19F
2R. Fisher - y-19F
3tM. Jonzon-16F
3tR. Karlsson-16F
5B. Wiesberger-15F
6M. Kaymer-14F
7tR. Bland-13F
7tE. De La Riva-13F
7tF. Fritsch-13F
7tG. Havret-13F
View Full Leaderboard
z = Won in Playoff   y = Lost in Playoff
 
Pacific Links (CHMP)
PosNameScoreThru
1C. Montgomerie - z-15F
2S. McCarron - y-15F
3tM. Jimenez-13F
3tJ. Sluman-13F
3tS. Dunlap-13F
3tD. Garwood-13F
7tB. Langer-12F
7tM. Dawson-12F
7tO. Browne-12F
10tF. Funk-11F
View Full Leaderboard
z = Won in Playoff   y = Lost in Playoff
 
ATP Scoreboard
Monday, Sep. 26
Chengdu Open (ATP)
First Round
R. Ram4 5    
D. Schwartzma6 7    
J. Monaco6 6    
H. Moriya1 2    
 
Shenzhen Open (ATP)
First Round
Z. Li2 3    
M. Zverev6 6    
(7) F. Fognini6 6    
D. Sela4 1    
L. Vanni6 610 2   
A. Whittingto2 712 6   
 
WTA Scoreboard
Monday, Sep. 26
Wuhan Tennis Open (WTA)
First Round
(10) D. Cibulkova6 2 6   
A. Cornet2 6 3   
(15) A. Pavlyuchen77 4 1   
M. Doi63 6 3   
(14) P. Kvitova6 6    
J. Ostapenko3 1    
Y. Putintseva6 4    
A. Sevastova1 1    
(11) J. Konta6 6    
A. Beck1 2    
C. Vandeweghe65 3    
K. Mladenovic77 6    
S. Zhang65 6 6   
S. Peng77 3 4   
M. Brengle6 2    
H. Watson3 1    
J. Jankovic6 6    
D. Gavrilova2 2    
E. Svitolina4 6 6   
B. Mattek-San6 3 4   
S. Errani1 6 1   
B. Strycova6 3 6   
M. Lucic-Baro2 4    
C. Garcia6 6    
D. Kasatkina6 6    
J. Goerges0 4    
(16) S. Stosur3 2    
C. Wozniacki6 6    
Second Round
(4) S. Halep6 2    
I. Begu3 0    
(7) C. Suarez Nav6 6    
Y. Wickmayer4 3    
(5) K. Pliskova6 7    
L. Safarova3 5    
 
Tashkent Open (WTA)
First Round
(9) D. Allertova6 6    
H. Kuwata3 4    
(4) N. Hibino6 6    
K. Umarova3 1    
A. Schmiedlov6 3 4   
M. Sakkari2 6 6   
S. Sharipova5 7 5   
S. Voegele7 5 7   
(5) K. Nara7 6    
D. Yastremska5 2