Calipari's latest recruiting manifesto: The highlights

broberts@herald-leader.comJuly 2, 2013 

UK Coach John Calipari and Anthony Davis posed with photos of previous winners, Marcus Camby and John Wall, after The Commonwealth Athletic Club of Kentucky presented Davis with the 2012 Rupp Trophy during a ceremony held in the Marriott New Orleans Hotel on Canal St. in New Orleans, La.

CHARLES BERTRAM | STAFF Buy Photo

John Calipari posted his annual "Recruiting Manifesto" — his words — on Tuesday afternoon, and the UK coach took on a number of topics.

These online missives have often been indicators of Calipari's recruiting approach for the upcoming class.

Some highlights of Calipari's latest pitch, which you can read in its entirety on CoachCal.com:

Calipari on UK's recruiting success: "If anybody is looking at us and saying, "Here's their blueprint, this is what they're doing," they're chasing windmills. Truth be told, it's not an exact science."

Calipari on package deals: "If players want to play together, that's OK, but it must benefit ALL the players. If not, it's a huge mistake for one or more of those guys. Ultimately, what I think a kid should be thinking about is what's in the best interest of his individual career. ... What if the person you want to play with gets hurt? Or what if three players leave after one year before you even get to campus and leave you there by yourself?"

That's a pretty clear argument against the straight "package deal," which has generated a lot of talk recently because so many players at the top of the 2014 rankings have said they'd like to be part of one. Possibly the two best players in the class — Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones — have repeatedly said they want to play at the same college. Okafor told the Herald-Leader a couple of months ago that there is a "99.9 percent chance" it will happen. UK is on the short list for both players, but the Cats are not seen as a favorite if the package deal actually happens. Another elite 2014 prospect on UK's radar — Trey Lyles — just saw his good friend and AAU teammate JaQuan Lyle commit to Louisville. In those two cases, Cal will seemingly be recruiting against the "package deal." Perhaps this is the Cliff's Notes version of his pitch.

Calipari on other schools: "If a program tells you that you're so good that it doesn't matter where you go to school, that's the first school I'm marking off my list. History tells us that it's just not true. It does matter where you go. ... For anybody to say that it doesn't matter where you go — without trying to embarrass any players — we know that's not true."

Calipari's record of getting players to the NBA quickly and in high draft positions is clear, and you can bet he's going to recruit on that. In four years at Kentucky, he's had 11 one-and-done players. All of them went in the first round and seven went in the lottery. He's also had at least one former player on the NBA All-Rookie first team in each of the past five seasons.

Last week, those who follow UK recruiting recognized a couple of names on draft night: Shabazz Muhammad and C.J. Leslie. Muhammad was seen as a no-doubt top-three pick coming out of high school. He chose UCLA over UK and fell to No. 14 after an uneven freshman season and a number of off-the-court distractions. Leslie — the No. 12 recruit in his class — picked North Carolina State over UK three years ago and went undrafted Thursday night. Would their draft night fates have been any different if they'd gone to UK? Calipari said he didn't want to name names, but those are probably two he had in mind.

Of course, Anthony Bennett chose UNLV over a short list that included Kentucky and he ended up as the No. 1 overall pick. Still, Calipari's record of not having a player's draft stock tank on his watch is intact, and that's a powerful talking point in living rooms on the recruiting trail.

Ben Roberts: (859) 231-3216. Twitter: @NextCats. Blog: ukrecruiting.bloginky.com.

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