Can the Kentucky Wildcats win the NCAA Tournament again in 2013?

"Can a new Champion repeat" has always been the next day media focus in all sports. The New York Giants won the Super Bowl and one of the first questions asked of head coach Tom Coughlin was’” Can you do it again coach?” On the PGA Tour, winners of the first Major Championship, especially the ones, who are ranked in the Top-50 and have yet to win one, are asked immediately if they can win the next major next month. Most of the responses are a significant gasp for air, as the champion can’t enjoy the moment without having to look to the future. 

John CalipariThe Kentucky program now is a different animal. Coach Calipari was adamant stating that six of his players will be drafted in the first round of the NBA. That is a clear message that if any of the elite High School players in the nation want to accomplish a NCAA Men’s Basketball Title and then a few months later get drafted in the First Round of the NBA then Kentucky is the place to go. 

John Wooden of the UCLA glory years is no doubt the greatest coach to ever be on the sidelines in college basketball. He was a great x’s and O’s coach and he may have been a greater recruiter of talent. Not just the best talent in the land, but the best talent in the land that buys into his program and the foundation of how they play the game. So, although a great legendary coach, let’s not forget too that he did have thoroughbreds and major depth coming off the bench.

In the NBA Coach Jackson is viewed as one of the best ever as he was able to attract the best talent and then mold them together to play as one cohesive unit, not all of the time, but when it mattered most. 

As you can see, there is a template now built in college basketball by John Calipari. He has the proven now that he can take a bunch of elite high school players, who led many of their teams single-handedly to State Championships and then transform their approach to the game to be able to blend and augment the other players on the court almost seamlessly.

The best example of that was just last night as the Player of the Year, Anthony Davis was scoreless well into the second half of the game, but was dominated the game. That rare combination of blocked shots, contesting shots, great defending hand quickness and footwork, and REBOUNDING was overwhelming the entire Kansas team and more importantly made Davis’ teammates play at a higher level. Davis was Player of the Year, but had the lowest scoring average ever and this too reflects the completely unselfish and trusting character of this Kentucky team. 

Anthony davisSo, now that the old mold of scoring and offensive talent gets you into the first round of the NBA draft, Calipari’s recruiting will become more like the Harvard admissions office. Players will come to him even more now and his job will be selecting the best combination of players to repeat the ‘One and Done’ process. 

Calipari has the ability to teach defense to these players and they trust him completely. Many players, who are more concerned about reaching the NBA will not completely buy into a defensive approach because it limits them offensively. Calipari is smart because he is willing to work with great talent for seven months as opposed to a composite of layers with lesser talent for three or four years. More importantly, he has the incredible ability to mold these players in a few short months into the team we saw essentially stroll through the NCAA Tournament.

Whether you hate Calipari or not, he has developed a perfect business model for the NBA One and Done Rule and there is no reason that he cannot re-create this team and repeat as NCAA Champions. Calipari has created the NCAA basketball version of the iPad and has a tremendous lead over his competition and that gap will not be closed anytime soon.