UK Men's Basketball

‘The devil,’ Duke and the NBA: GQ article dives into Calipari’s reputation and legacy

Coach Calipari spoke to the media after the selection show at his house on Sunday evening.
Coach Calipari spoke to the media after the selection show at his house on Sunday evening.

In an intimate look into part of the life of Kentucky men’s basketball Coach John Calipari, a GQ article released online Tuesday tells of the coach’s rituals, his views on his haters and the NCAA and his brush with going to the NBA in 2014.

Titled “The Penance of John Calipari,” the story by Reid Forgrave facetiously refers to Calipari as “the devil” as he tells of being with him on a recruiting trip in Colorado and an off-week at his beach house with his wife Ellen in New Jersey.

While college basketball has become embroiled in a recruiting corruption scandal, the story notes that Calipari’s one-and-done approach has been adopted by his rivals:

“Somewhere along the way — maybe it was the risk of falling behind — Duke shifted its approach, and the school went all in on recruiting one-and-dones. (As The Ringer’s Mark Titus put it recently: “Krzyzewski is no longer taking a page from Calipari’s book when it comes to recruiting — he’s taking the whole damn book.”) In 2015, Duke won a title with three one-and-done players. This season, four of Duke’s five starters likely are one-and-dones.

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“And Calipari — never one to shy away from a touchy subject — suspects this is why the tone of the national conversation around one-and-dones suddenly changed.

“‘It began to change because Duke did what we did,” said Calipari definitively. “And now it’s become respectable.”

The story included anecdotes of Calipari’s morning rituals and the contrast he and Ellen seem to represent in their personal lives. (Ellen Calipari has a concealed-carry permit and John Calipari doesn’t know how to shoot a gun). According to the article: “I’m the man, he’s the woman,” Ellen said once, laughing. “He gets the mani-pedi, I don’t. Look at his hands — his hands have never seen a callus!”

Calipari also discusses how close he came to signing a deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the summer of 2014, just before the team brought back LeBron James.

Read the full story here.