John Calipari’s Connections More Important than X’s and O’s?

The relationship Kentucky head coach John Calipari has with Jay Z and Drake are much publicized as a great recruiting tool that is used frequently by the reigning national championship coach to make recruits star struck.

Who can blame him?

It is pure genius and I am sure every coach in America would do the same if they could.

But is it more important than in game coaching?

Rob Dauster of SI.com talks about Cal’s relationships and wonders if it is more important using them to relate to recruits than being a great in-game basketball coach.

As a pure basketball mind, Calipari is smart, but he’s not Bob Knight. He’s not Dean Smith or John Wooden or Pete Carrill. He’s not the kind of hoops tactician that is going to revolutionize the game. Think about it like this: if your team is in a one-game playoff and you can pick the guy who is coaching them, where does Calipari get ranked out of all the active coaches? Behind Tom Izzo, Brad Stevens and Mike Krzyzewski, for sure. Probably behind Bill Self and Billy Donovan as well. And then there are guys like Shaka Smart and Roy Williams and Rick Pitino. What about a Thad Matta or a Bo Ryan?

Simply put, Calipari’s strength is not his ability as an in-game strategist. It’s his ability to connect with kids and attract them to his campus. He understands what these kids want, and he’s not afraid to build and promote his program around that. He does things that impress 18 year olds that some of his coaching competition wouldn’t even think of doing or have the connections and moxie to pull off.

Rubbing elbows with Jay-Z and Drake will have that effect.

I believe John Calipari is the most underrated head basketball coach in the entire country when it comes to coaching basketball.

I know there is the recruiting and all of that, but when it comes down to it, I think John Calipari has done a very good job coaching basketball at Kentucky as well.