This is John Calipari‘s time of year. Not only is college basketball’s most high-profile coach prepping his Kentucky Wildcats for the NCAA Tournament as they square off against No. 15 Abilene Christian on Thursday; it’s also the time of year that Coach Cal faces annual questions about his future and whether he might jump ship to the NBA or elsewhere in the collegiate ranks.
Calipari is the highest-paid coach in college basketball, and he’s also one of its best recruiters. He’s a three-time Naismith College Coach of the Year, and he’s led the Wildcats to four Final Four appearances, including a National Championship win in 2012.
Now, it appears the UCLA Bruins might be trying to lure him away from Lexington. The Bruins fired head coach Steve Alford earlier this season and are known to covet Calipari as their next head coach, and according to a recent report, the feeling might be mutual.
According to various sources, the Hall of Fame coach is showing what some have described as “serious interest” in coming to Westwood.
It’s known that Calipari has always liked the UCLA job, loving Los Angeles and the lifestyle.
UCLA, in doing its due diligence since firing Steve Alford on New Year’s Eve in December, has had time to kick the tires on all the big-named coaches in the game to gauge interest. Calipari was one who seriously reciprocated.
However, Calipari appeared to nip that whole idea in the bud when he took to Twitter on Wednesday before signing off for the night.
Calipari is sometimes underappreciated as an Xs and Os guy because of his penchant for recruiting the nation’s topic prospects on a yearly basis and relying on a stockpile of talent to ensure success. Yet he’s proven himself repeatedly as a savvy basketball mind in terms of both on-court strategy and managing interpersonal relationships.
Even before his tweet, skepticism about his level of interest in the UCLA job was well-warranted, given how often his name crops up in rumors whenever there’s a coaching vacancy at a prestige program, even if Los Angeles has a lot of draw for a someone like him who’s never shied away from the spotlight.