(We are moving this post back to the top because of everything that has happened in the last few hours)
The Kentucky coaching circus is becoming a bit like an issue of US Weekly. The newest rumors? That Coach Cal, who had previously said that he was only interested in remaining with Memphis, will be speaking with Kentucky officials regarding their coaching vacancy.
Cal may be one of the few guys that is capable of handling the pressure, expectations, and media circus that comes with coaching in a place like Lexington. It wouldn't be a bad move for Cal either. He has put Memphis back on the map as a basketball school, but let's face it - the Tigers still play in Conference USA.
One of the things I've been hearing is that Cal does not want to leave behind one of the best recruiting classes in history. But two of those players, DeMarcus Cousins (committed to Memphis) and John Wall (#1 player in the class of '09 who is strongly considering Memphis), have yet to sign and could still follow him to UK.
Jodie Meeks, Patrick Patterson, Wall, and Cousins. Sounds like the core of a Final Four team, doesn't it?
UPDATE: We are hearing that the offer that Calipari received will make him the highest paid coach in college basketball. NBC has reported it is in the neighborhood of $5 million per year, while ESPN is saying that he will get 8 years, $35 million. It needs to be high, as Cal is walking away from $2.5 million a year until 2012-13, which also includes a $5 million bonus should he finish his contract with Memphis.
Time for those UK boosters to open their
wallets Swiss bank accounts.
As I said before, this could make UK an early Final Four contender. In addition to Meeks, Patterson, Cousins, and Wall (if he chooses
Kentucky Memphis Calipari), UK will also be adding Daniel Orton, a 5 star big man, and Jon Hood, a 4 star wins player. Now, word has come out that Nolan Dennis, a 4 star recruit that has signed with Memphis, has a deal with the school that releases him from his commitment should Calipari leave.
Xavier Henry, a top 5 player in the class of '09, has also signed with Memphis and Cal, but he has yet to make a decision based on what his brother told the Commercial Appeal.
This could be devastating to Memphis. Not only will they be losing the majority of what could have been the greatest recruiting class of all-time, but it increases the chances that Tyreke Evans, who greatly improved his draft stock in the last few months of the season, will he to the league. Combine all that with the loss of Robert Dozier and Antonio Anderson, and the Tigers are going to be a much different team in '09-'10 than many expected two weeks ago.
Some names we have been hearing to replace Calipari - Tony Barbee of UTEP (who is a former Calipari assistant, was told by the coach to remove his name from the UMass job to allow Derek Kellogg to get it in exchange for Cal pushing his name when he left Memphis), Mike Anderson from Missouri, and Tim Floyd from USC.
UPDATE 2: Apparently, Memphis would release Henry from his commitment if Calipari decides to take the Kentucky job, which is looking more and more like an inevitability.
UPDATE 3: Anticipation grows as Calipari's decision is expected to come down this afternoon. Some clues as to Cal's decision came down early today. Apparently, he went to his local donut shop to meet some friends, and there just so happened to be a reporter for the Commercial Appeal there. According to the reports, he said two pretty telling things:
Things will be OK here.And
Taking the job is the easy part of the decision. Leaving here is the hard part.Read into that as you will.