Posted 03/31/2009 at 08:01 AM
According to most reports as of early this morning, Memphis head coach John Calipari wanted "to sleep on" an eight-year $35 million offer to become the next coach of Kentucky's storied basketball program. Those same reports quoting sources from both the Memphis and UK sides indicate that Calipari is most likely destined for Lexington and the contract is basically a "done deal."
Now I may be proven wrong in the next hour or so and to be clear, I do think Calipari would be a great "Rick-Pitino-Like" fit at Kentucky, but don't be surprised if Calipari pulls a fast one.
Make no mistake, it would be "sooooo Cal" to reverse course. Seriously, don't be shocked if he changes his mind.
You see, Calipari is both brilliant and maddening. On one hand, he's the consumate coach, the ultimate recruiter and the prototypical figurehead of a college hoops program.
On the flip side, he's "that guy" that's constantly starving for attention and thirsty for the spotlight. For those reasons, he'd be perfect at Kentucky, but that might also be why he's playing the 'Cats for more money from Memphis.
The big-time boosters of the Conference USA school reportedly ponied up Monday and declared that they would match any UK offer in terms of cash. Maybe that's all Calipari was looking for? Maybe this is part of his grand scheme to keep his Tigers program in the national spotlight with a monster recruiting class coming in next year.
Then again, Cal could be as good as gone. Perhaps he comes to UK and brings most of that phenomenal recruiting haul and kills it from the get-go. Maybe he coaches at Kentucky the next 15 years and becomes as popular as (dare I say it) the late Adolph Rupp. Maybe.
Maybe he goes there and a package addressed to Chris Mills goes awry (again)? Maybe his seemingly shady relationship with William Wesley falls apart and sketchy details about Calipari's recruiting surface? Maybe the NCAA boys end up back in Lexington? Maybe.
We only know one thing when it comes to John Calipari: Anything can happen.
6:00 p.m. Eastern update: Calipari loves this attention. There are currently 18,488 UK fans logged into CatsPause.com awaiting word on the coach's decision. There's currently live streaming video of Calipari's house on the website of a local Memphis television station. According to the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, three cars left Calipari's residence at 5:48 p.m. Eastern (destination unknown). Of course, Kentucky fans are hoping he's headed to the airport because a private plane is scheduled to leave Memphis for Lexington at 6:16 p.m. Eastern. That scenario reminds me of Houston Nutt's press conference when he turned down Nebraska to stay at Arkansas. In Nutt's Arkansas twang, he explained, "I just couldn't get on the plane. I just couldn't do it." Can Cal? We'll know shortly......or will we?
7:00 p.m. UPDATE: Shortly before 7:00 p.m. Eastern, the Commercial Appeal reported that Calipari accepted the job at UK.