Stars Keep Aligning For Cal And UK

Photo by VICTORIA GRAFF | Contributing Photographer

The stars – basketball, not the celestial kind – couldn’t be aligned in a more perfect way for John Calipari and his University of Kentucky Wildcats.

Let us count the ways:

√ Try to imagine the impact on a recruit that Coach Cal wants, by a call from LeBron James, the biggest name in the sport, who just happens be tight with the UK coach. James carries more impact than anyone else in the basketball world now that he has led the Miami Heat to the NBA championship, which means the championship of the universe.
Cal always has made LeBron and his buddies welcome to the UK basketball facilities. During the players’ strike against the NBA, which resulted with the pros being barred from their teams’ facilities, Cal opened up for the pros.

√ Coach Cal couldn’t be bigger himself after guiding the Wildcats to another national championship.

√ One can’t imagine the impact that a No. 1 NBA draft choice, UK’s Anthony Davis, could make on a recruit.

√ Wait, there’s more. Pat Riley, ex-Wildcat great himself, is the president of the world championship Heat. When LeBron James was looking for a new team, he visited Riley in Miami. The super slick and brilliant Riley opened a desk drawer and spread his seven NBA championship rings. He invited LeBron to take a look. LeBron’s eyes got big. Needless to say, LeBron was dazzled by Ryles’ collection of seven NBA championship rings.

Five are for coaching the Los Angeles Lakers, four for when he was head coach and a fifth as assistant. The sixth he won as a player for the Lakers. His seventh was won when he coached the 2006 Heat to the NBA championship

√ Riley also could be persuasive by telling recruits what a great career he had as a All-American Wildcat. And there’s more: Riley was an outstanding high school football player and he had his choice of playing for one of the two greatest coaches of all time, Paul “Bear” Bryant at Alabama or Adolph Rupp at Kentucky. He chose Rupp and the Cats, of course.

√ There’s more on Riley. Just last week he was honored by his selection as winner of the NBA’s Chuck Daly Award for lifetime coaching achievement. Daly coached America’s Dream Team to an Olympic championship.