Behind the scenes, John Calipari made no secret of his concern that Mike Krzyzewski had gained a recruiting advantage for Duke by being coach of Team USA in recent Olympics and World Cup games. And when Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim made those concerns public knowledge, the Kentucky coach had something new to bemoan.
On Wednesday, the same day that reporting emerged about Boeheim questioning the validity of Calipari's concerns, the UK coach called Boeheim.
"To complain that I mentioned him," Boeheim said Thursday.
When asked if Calipari was cordial during the call, Boeheim said, "I don't think he was happy."
Calipari had criticized Krzyzewski's dual roles as coach of Duke and Team USA this summer, Boeheim said. "He's been critical of Mike coaching the team and the advantage and so forth," said Boeheim, who has been an assistant coach for Krzyzew ski on the USA teams.
Of Calipari's complaints, Boeheim said, "I just don't think it's fair. I don't think Duke needs an advantage in recruiting, to be honest."
Boeheim noted that Calipari had coached the Dominican Republic National Team, and, coincidentally or not, successfully recruited one of its top young players, Karl-Anthony Towns.
"I don't have a problem," Boeheim said. "He got the No. 1 player out of it. ...
"A lot of other coaches said they think it's an advantage coaching the Olympic team. You might be able to make that case. Nobody said John coached the Dominican team and he got the player."
In a story that appeared Wednesday on Syracuse.com, Boeheim is quoted as saying Calipari was "a little bit disingenuous" in questioning Krzyzewski's roles as Duke and Team USA coach.
Webster's New World dictionary defines disingenuous as not straightforward, not candid. Insincere.
"I don't think I used that word," Boeheim said.
Calipari was out of town on a recruiting trip and unavailable for comment, UK spokesman John Hayden said.
Calipari later tweeted an explanation for his call to Boeheim. "Jim's comments were brought to my attention & I called him," he tweeted. "We are friends. I have unbelievable respect for him & how he runs his program."
Calipari also noted that concerns from college coaches normally have been addressed by USA Basketball, by inference suggesting that Boeheim was wrong to make the UK coach's concerns public.
In what looked like damage control, Calipari tweeted high praise for Krzyzewski and Boeheim.
"The job that Coach K and Coach Boeheim have done to turn around USA Basketball, to make it what it is today is truly amazing." he tweeted. "If — and I emphasize if — they gained any advantage because of that work, I don't begrudge them in the least."
As if to bolster the 180-degree departure from what Boeheim said were complaints this summer about a recruiting advantage, Calipari tweeted that coaching the Dominican Republic team taught him that such experiences are actually a detriment to college recruiting. "It takes away from your own team & your recruiting to do those things right," he tweeted.
Boeheim noted his admiration for Calipari.
"I like John," he said. "I think he's great."
But, the Syracuse coach added, he said he thought Calipari was wrong "on this one issue" about Krzyzewski and Team USA.
At a news conference Thursday, Krzyzewski called the idea of using USA Basketball as a recruiting tool "utterly ridiculous."
Boeheim said he understood how someone might think there's a recruiting advantage to being an Olympic/World Cup coach. To counter that belief, Boeheim noted how Florida's Billy Donovan had worked with high school-age players when coaching younger USA teams.
"So you should be more upset about that," Boeheim said.
Florida spokesman Denver Parler said Donovan was not available for comment.
The controversy erupted this week when sportswriter Adrian Wojnarowski criticized Krzyzewski for using the position with Team USA as a way to help Duke. Wojnarowski suggested that Krzyzewski set up a photograph at the hospital bedside of injured Paul George as an attempt at public relations.
"If you want to think that I used Paul George, you are a bad person," Krzyzewski said at the Thursday news conference.
Boeheim noted that George's parents took the photo and posted it on the Internet. Krzyzewski and/or USA Basketball had nothing to do with it, the Syracuse coach said.
It could be argued that whomever coaches Team USA automatically gains a recruiting advantage simply by being in the public eye and associating with NBA players, Boeheim said. So it would be impossible for any USA coach to avoid an advantage. Even an NBA coach could benefit.
"Especially with free agency the way it is," Boeheim said. "There is going to be some advantage whoever is coach.
"Duke? I don't think their recruiting has gone up because of that."