Another sketchy story involving John Calipari
During an office conversation last week, the name Dan Kendra came up. Remember him? He was one of the nation's best high school quarterbacks back in the mid-1990s and every college in the country was after him. His decision came down to Florida State and Penn State and, eventually, Kendra decided on Penn State. Kendra received a letter from then-FSU coach Bobby Bowden that said, "(Penn State) is where I would want you to go if it wasn't here.'' But then Kendra had a last-minute change-of-heart and decided to go to Florida State after all. Kendra's dad informed Penn State assistant Fran Ganter and Kendra's dad told Sports Illustrated that "Fran was great about it.''
That's how it's done. You go after a kid, you don't get him, you congratulate the kid and move on. Both Penn State and Florida State did that. Then there's John Calipari and Kentucky. Last week, Terrence Jones, one of the most sought-after high school basketball recruits in the country, held a news conference to say he was going to the University of Washington, which is close to Jones' home in Portland. In a classy move, Jones personally called Calipari to inform him of his decision. But when the 15-minute call was over, Jones announced he wasn't sure where he was going to school. Calipari can't comment on recruits, although he did say he would never actively recruit a kid who has made a verbal commitment.
Who knows if Calipari talked Jones out of going to Washington, although based on Calipari's reputation, that wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility. And talking a kid out of a verbal commitment is not illegal, although it is slimy. Plus, it's possible that Jones is a one-and-done college player and that would fit in better at Kentucky than Washington. We might never know what Calipari said to the kid, but it's a pretty good bet he didn't act the way Bowden and Ganter did all those years ago with Kendra.