If his three consecutive 30-win seasons and back-to-back #1 seeds aren't enough--not to mention his taking two different schools to the Final Four (UMass: 1996)--perhaps a victory over Kansas will finally earn John Calipari not only a national title, but the true title he deserves: Elite Basketball Coach.
Two points of note:
- Calipari shouldn't be penalized for his poor stint with the Nets. Numerous high-caliber college coaches in various sports have failed miserably at the pro level (see: Rick Pitino, Lon Kruger, Pete Carroll, Lou Holtz). No one would deny Pete Carroll's abilities, for example, simply because he spent a few lackluster years in the ego-filled war game that is professional sports.
- If Memphis beats KU (which I expect to happen), John Calipari will have exactly as many national titles as the legendary coaches mentioned above. They're all Hall-of-Famers. (As a side note, it may also be said that John C. managed to not be thoroughly outcoached in the Final Four. The same cannot be said for Roy Williams, who has no trouble gaining the plaudits that so frequently allude the Memphis coach.)
Get over the good looks and schmoozy smile, forget the Marcus Camby agent debacle, and give John Calipari credit for being one of the elite coaches--from any sport--in the country.