University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari makes no apologies for the much-ballyhooed "platoon" system he employed during the 2014-15 season.
And after the Wildcats won 38 straight games en route to the school's fourth Final Four appearance in five years, it's easy to argue that the UK coach should have no regrets.
But amid critics' suggestions that the use of platoons might have turned away potential recruits, Calipari again explained his reasoning for the system while admitting that its use is strictly one-and-done.
"Never in my life did I think that I would platoon, but most people didn't think we would ever win 38 straight to start the year, set a record for wins in a season and have seven players drafted," Calipari wrote on his website, CoachCal.com. "It's amazing people could try to use that against us, but I guess you have to come up with something.
"If you ask me if I'm ever going to platoon again, my answer is NO. Last season was an absolute outlier. It's just not the way I like to coach. I would rather play seven or eight guys because I believe that gives us the best chance to win. I think we wrote the book on platooning this year, but I hope we stick it on the shelf and never have to use it again."
The UK coach went on to explain that limiting minutes in an attempt to highlight the skills of multiple players was a strategy born from his "players first" philosophy.
"Even though things didn't end the way we wanted them to, it was a season we will never forget. It was also one I would never change in terms of how we approached and executed it. Why? Because for as long as I am the head coach at Kentucky, we will always put the players first."
Calipari reminded that the team opened the season with a goal of having eight players drafted (including Alex Poythress, who missed most of the season after tearing the ACL in his left knee.).
"What we've done is become experts in putting these kids in the best position to chase those dreams, but we do not do it at the expense of academics," Calipari wrote. "We've graduated every kid who has been eligible in my six years, and three players have graduated in three years. We've had a B-average over the last five years. The growth isn't just on the court; it's off the court as well.
"We also don't do it at the cost of winning. In the last five years we've won the most games, been to the most Final Fours, been to two championship games, won league championships and a national title."
Kentucky's recruiting class for next season — which includes center Skal Labissiere, point guard Isaiah Briscoe and shooting guards Charles Matthews and junior-college transfer Mychal Mulder — is ranked No. 2 or No. 3 nationally by most major recruiting services. The Wildcats will field a team that includes four McDonald's All-Americans in Poythress, Marcus Lee, Tyler Ulis and Briscoe, plus a top-five recruit in Labissiere.
It's not the nine McDonald's All-Americans plus Willie Cauley-Stein with whom the Wildcats opened last season but it's a lineup likely to put UK in many preseason top-10 polls next season.
Calipari won't be in the position of having to revisit the platoons, or of having to explain them.
"The only way I could figure out for all of them to eat was to platoon," the coach wrote about last season. "I didn't feel comfortable trying to sub 10 guys in and out. I thought it would hurt every player if I did that. I needed a way for every player to help themselves, their team and their teammates."
And the coach had a message for the Wildcats of the future.
"Defensively, when you play for us, you're going to learn to guard. Not only will you guard your position, you will also be able to guard another position or two because it adds value to you as a player and helps us win more basketball games. You will learn how to share with other really good players who have similar goals and aspirations that you have.
"Ultimately, players come here to get better and to put themselves in the best position to chase their dreams. They also come here because they know they're going to be challenged in all parts of their life."