John Calipari was not directing criticism at the Duke Blue Devils and coach Mike Krzyzewski in a blog post this week.
“It wasn’t specific,” Calipari said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference. “When I speak, you guys parse every word, and you tell me back what I meant when I said something. And I let you run and I don’t really care. But the reality of it is, that post is more in a general sense. It wasn’t geared toward one person, one program. It was in a general sense.”
He later packaged his assertion as a metaphor.
“When you throw a rock in a pack of dogs,” Calipari said, “the one you hit starts yelping. It should’ve hit 15 heads. Not just one.”
The blog post in question appeared to be a response to an interview 5-star recruit Hamidou Diallo conducted with The Courier-Journal’s Kyle Tucker in April.
“Kentucky’s pitch was just the NBA thing,” Diallo told Tucker. “Duke’s pitch was if you come to Duke, you’re going to be set for life. It’s more than just basketball.”
That apparently set off Calipari, who penned a lengthy post about his recruiting philosophy on his website CoachCal.com two days ago.
He discussed several other topics in his writing, but made sure to toss a direct shot at Diallo’s comments.
“I refuse to go in a home and paint a picture saying things like, ‘If you come with us you’ll be taken care of for the rest of your life by the program and by our alums,’ even though you may only be in school for a year or two,” Calipari wrote. “How preposterous does that sound? What if I say that same thing and the young man decides to transfer for one reason or another? Does that still hold true that we’re going to take care of them the rest of their lives?”
Wednesday, he told the story of a recent prospect visit that began with Calipari extolling Kentucky basketball’s academic and social virtues and ended with a prospect’s mother pigeonholing Calipari as a heartless talent monger.
“I’m not promising you shots, minutes,” a surprised Calipari said. “You come here, you earn it. We don’t give fish. We give fishing rods. … That’s when I said, ‘What is being said out here?'”
The misunderstanding aside, he’s thankful for the national attention his post created.
“It gave me a chance to educate,” Calipari said. “Someone on the outside who lives in another state, it gave me a chance to say, ‘This is who we are. This is not for everybody.'”