Friday, June 24, 2011

Calipari deserves credit for Harrellson and Liggins

At the begining of the season, the consensus was that without Enes Kanter Kentucky didn't have a chance. No inside presence is what had everyone worried. The general thought was that if Kentucky had to depend on Josh Harrellson to hold down the middle, they would get abused inside. To be fair, the first few games proved that feeling to be spot on, then came the Louisville game. I'm not sure what happened, but something lit a fire under the man they call Jorts. He came out and played as if he had something to prove scoring 24 points and grabbing 14 rebounds, and the rest is history. Fast forward to last night, and all of a sudden we are seeing Jorts go from the bathroom stall to getting drafted in the second round #45 to the Hornets (traded to the Knicks) when most mock drafts didn't even have him on their boards.

Without John Calipari this never would have happened to Josh. After a little run in with Calipari over a post on twitter that about led to Harrellson's departure from the team, Calipari done something the last coach couldn't or wouldn't take the time to do. He forced him to improve his game to the point of being a vital reason for Kentucky's Final Four run, and ultimately getting his name called in the draft. What Calipari done to have Harrellson achieve such a big turn around may never be known. But one thing is for sure, without Calipari, this would not have been possible.

Then comes DeAndre Liggins. Again, another player the last coach had given up on, and had everyone thinking he was problem for any team. Enter Calipari, and you have another story of taking a player who just couldn't seem to find his place on a team filled with talent, to turning him into another vital reason for Kentucky's Final Four run. As with Harrellson, I'm not sure what Calipari did to turn Liggins' career around, but he did. Liggins went from being lost as a player to getting drafted in the second round of the NBA draft to the Orlando Magic at #53. That was something that if mentioned at the beginning of the year, you would have been fitted for a straightjacket.

Everyone talks about how many "one and done's" Calipari puts in the draft. But what is never mentioned is his ability to DEVELOP a player to the point of getting a shot to make an NBA team. It's never mentioned how he could take two players that the last coach made bench warmers, and make them the backbone of the team. When you turn two players like Harrellson and Liggins into potential PROS, that speaks volumes about your ability to be a COACH and is deserving of being recognized!

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