The world will learn next Monday if John Calipari will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this year. The announcement may seem redundant for his celebrated colleagues in the Final Four who already consider the Kentucky coach a Hall of Famer.
"People aren't up for it unless people believe he belongs," Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski said on a Final Four teleconference Monday. "I think whether it happens this year, it will happen."
Krzyzewski, who is a member of the Hall of Fame, said an eventuality of induction also applies to Tom Izzo of Michigan State and Bo Ryan of Wisconsin.
"Look," he said, "they're all really the best of the best."
As is the custom, the Basketball Hall of Fame will announce its new inductees at a news conference the morning of the NCAA Tournament championship game. Kentucky plays Wisconsin in one of Saturday's semifinal games after Duke plays Michigan State.
Calipari sidestepped a direct answer when asked what joining the Hall of Fame would mean to him. But he echoed Krzyzewski's comment about all the Final Four coaches having Hall of Fame credentials.
"You're talking about one of those guys that walked through the ranks," he said of Ryan, "and has done it anywhere he's been, was a great assistant before he was a great head coach."
Of Izzo, Calipari said, "You talk about one of the top two or three coaches, he's it. ...
"Then you talk about Mike Krzyzewski. C'mon. Wooden, Krzyzewski and that's about it."
Calipari noted the impact Krzyzewski has made on former UK players.
"What he did for Anthony Davis ... what he just did for DeMarcus Cousins on USA Basketball," Calipari said. "All of them spent that time with him, and their careers changed, the whole direction.
"My hope is that half the team becomes my guys because I see what he'd done for my guys."
Izzo spoke glowingly of Calipari.
"When you can win at Massachusetts, then go and win at Memphis, then the job he's done at Kentucky is unbelievable," the Michigan State coach said. "He doesn't get enough credit for his coaching.
"Having great players, I mean, there's days that it's easier. I think what people don't realize is there's days when it's more difficult juggling egos, juggling the NBA stuff, juggling the expectations at a school like Kentucky."
In saluting Kentucky's 38-0 record, Ryan reminded reporters that he knows from experience the dynamic of being undefeated. Two of his teams at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville were undefeated Division III national champions: 31-0 in 1994-95 and 30-0 in 1997-98.
"I know what it's like to be 10-0, 15-0, 25-0," he said. "What that does to a team.
"It actually made our practices better. Our practices were very competitive knowing all eyes are on you. Needless to say, in Division I, there's more eyes, all on Kentucky's team."
Towns or Okafor
A reporter tried to outfox Krzyzewski. The Duke coach was not outfoxed.
The topic was the obvious talents of two big men in the Final Four: Duke's Jahlil Okafor and Kentucky's Karl-Anthony Towns.
That Towns scored a career-high 25 points in UK's Elite Eight victory over Notre Dame set up this light-hearted exchange:
Reporter: "Mike, Karl-Anthony Towns seems to be captivating a lot of imaginations. Some suggest he's the best freshman big man in your sport. I'm not asking you to compare him and Okafor."
Krzyzewski: "Thank you."
Reporter: "You've seen enough to be pretty sure it's your guy."
Krzyzewski: "Well, you are asking me that, then. What you just said, you asked, though."
Reporter: "You're right."
Krzyzewski then suggested he did not have a lot of up-to-date knowledge of Towns. "I don't watch Kentucky very much because we haven't played them," he said. "You all watch these other teams more than we do. ...
"I know Towns. We recruited him. He played for the Dominican team. He's a great player, great young man, beautiful family. He's going to be a terrific pro.
"Where he stands in comparison to anybody, who knows? The people who do that are the people who are called professionals who are going to draft."