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Cal: "I will be coaching at Kentucky next year."

By: Steve Moss
By: Steve Moss

On Friday morning, the day after LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers were bounced out of the NBA Playoffs, UK coach John Calipari posted this on his Twitter and facebook pages: "I've said many times that I've got the best job in the country. Still the speculation runs wild and I can't stop that... I want to address this with the Big Blue Nation one last time, I will be coaching at Kentucky next year. Now let's finish what we started!" For the first time, since rumors and speculation grew to Chicken Little proportions, Calipari tells the Big Blue Nation publicly that he "will be coaching at Kentucky next season."

Forgive some jaded UK fans, when they say, "We've heard it before."

On Friday morning, the day after LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers were bounced out of the NBA Playoffs, UK coach John Calipari posted this on his Twitter and facebook pages: 

     "I've said many times that I've got the best job in the country. Still the speculation runs wild and I can't stop that... I want to address this with the Big Blue Nation one last time, I will be coaching at Kentucky next year. Now let's finish what we started!"

For the first time, since rumors and speculation grew to Chicken Little proportions, Calipari tells the Big Blue Nation publicly that he "will be coaching at Kentucky next season."

Thank you, John.

That's all Cat fans wanted to hear. 

Rick Pitino, the guy Cal is most often compared to, danced the NBA tango at least five times when he occupied the same seat on the UK bench.  On more than one occasion, Pitino implied he had no interest in returning to the NBA, but did nothing to squelch the rumors and innuendo.

We all remember how that relationship ended.

Because of their friendship, Calipari and James, have been linked to several job openings, including Chicago and New Jersey.  Mike Brown is still the Cavaliers' coach, but there seems to be a ground swell of support suggesting axing him would be the best option for Cleveland keeping James.  The popular theory, now, is that James will decide where to take his free agency, then bring his pal Cal in to coach him.

The speculation grew to a crescendo after James' all but quit on his teammates during Cleveland's 120-88 drubbing at the hand of former Wildcat Rajon Rondo and the Celtics.  Some speculated James was trying to send a message that his supporting cast couldn't get it done should he have an off-night, or, if the Cavs were to lose their series with Boston, Brown could be shown the door, opening it for Calipari.

Others suggest that by recruiting one and done players each year, it will be nearly impossible for Calipari to win an NCAA Championship, especially if there's roster turnover like Kentucky fans are seeing after Year One of the Dribble Drive.

UK athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said on Thursday that Calipari had talked about being at UK a long time.  The two have spoke or restructuring the coach's contract.

Barnhart put to rest any rumors that he and Cal can't coexist, by saying their relationship was good.  Even if it isn't, Barnhart's move to have Deputy Athletics Director Rob Mullens be the day-to-day liason to men's basketball was a good move.

Still, there will be skeptics.  Look, who wouldn't want to coach one of the greatest basketball players ever?  Players with James' talent don't come along often -- there's only one Jordan or Kobe. 

James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are three members of a class of free agents that is being called the greatest in NBA history.  Who could blame Cal for wanting to be part of that?

Cal could still change his mind and UK fans could still feel jilted.

At least Cal has taken the first step, by saying he's coming back.  Who could blame him for that, either?

Now, can we all get back to work?

Those are the highlights... Stay tuned.

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