Calipari becoming more attractive to bigs

Calipari becoming more attractive to bigs

John Calipari has long been known for his development of point guards. These days Calipari is becoming noted as a coach for big men after his first two seasons at Kentucky.

While at Memphis Kentucky coach John Calipari wasn't really known as a big man's coach. While Calipari wasn't attracting premiere bigs at Memphis he was improving their games to the point that they were impact players at the college level. Without the contributions of guys like Robert Dozier Memphis would not have been as successful toward the end of Calipari's tenure at the school. Dozier became a much better player under Calipari's tutelage.

After moving to Lexington the Kentucky coach had an opportunity to work with a much higher level of player.

Patrick Patterson was already in place at Kentucky, Daniel Orton had been signed by the previous staff, and DeMarcus Cousins was brought in by Calipari along with the other stars in that first of three top ranked class he has brought to Kentucky.

On draft night 2010 all three heard their names called among those drafted in the first round.

That success really didn't cement Calipari as a big man's coach the way he had been noted for coaching up point guards. Patterson would have been a first round pick in 2009, Cousins was an amazing talent and Orton came in as a five star player that many thought rode the coattails of the great season that Kentucky had in 2010 to a first round pick despite limited stats as a frosh.

Then came the 2011 season. Highly regarded center Enes Kanter was shelved by the NCAA. Even though he did not play with the team he worked out with the squad pending the outcome of his appeal and also worked out individually with the UK staff. Kanter's stock skyrocketed and he became a top five pick, and told the NCAA he wanted to be officially be known as a Wildcat.

Terrence Jones came in as a five star player, and began the season as perhaps the best big man in college hoops. Jones developed well and was a lottery lock, but chose to come back to Kentucky to elevate his game, and become next year's top pick. The decision by Jones to return shows the confidence the player has in the Kentucky staff being able to expand his game.

No player made the jump from little known bench player to impact big man the way that Josh Harrellson did as a senior. Harrellson did a lot to showcase the ability of the Kentucky staff to mold a willing and motivated player. Harrellson impressed NBA execs enough that he went from not even being considered a draftable player as a junior to being drafted #45 by the New York Knicks.

In two seasons at Kentucky the Calipari staff has placed two big men in the top five of the draft, and had five big men drafted. Jones would have made the sixth had he chosen to stay in the draft.

Is it any surprise that the guy noted for developing point guards, which he is still cranking out at an amazing rate, is becoming the guy big men want to play for at Kentucky?

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