Coach Cal talks about creating millionaires and his Olympic chances

By: Sam Dick - Email
By: Sam Dick - Email

This summer UK Basketball Coach John Calipari will once again lead the Dominican Republic basketball team towards the Olympics.

That, and his success at UK, have put him in position to replace Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski as the U.S. olympic coach in 2016.

In an exclusive interview with WKYT, Coach Cal talked about the Olympics and creating millionaires.

Of all the compliments Coach Calipari has heard at UK, he points to one from U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, who heard how many Cats the NBA was drafting.

"He said, 'Wow, you're creating more millionaires than a Wall Street firm,'" Calipari said.

Coach believes his three UK teams will mark a first in sports history: 15 NBA draft picks. But the benefits ripple far beyond those individual players.

"A cycle of a family, of either poverty or lack of education, it's done now," Calipari said. "I'm having an impact, 15 players, 15 millionaires in three years."

He makes a strong request of every UK Freshman player heading for the NBA.

"I sit down and tell them I need you to do this, all that I've done for you, my return is, please finish the term," Calipari said.

Every day the recruiting landscape grows more challenging for coaches.

"All the internet buzz, all the social media, Face book, the Twitter, everything that's out there. Everyone's an expert. They also have people in their ear, telling them how to play. The team I just coached didn't listen to any of it," Calipari said.

As a new group of stars comes to Lexington, Coach Cal will spend time this summer with the Dominican Republic team, trying to qualify for the Olympics for the first time. He says he's learned from them.

"They play different," Calipari said. "They play more of a spread game like we play. So I got new ways of getting into things we do...alot of pick 'n roll stuff I'd never seen before. They play defense differently."

Coach K says he will probably not coach the US Olympic Basketball Team in 2016. The UK coach's name often comes up first to replace him.

"I think any coach in this country that would have a chance to represent our country, and coach that team, would say absolutely," Calipari said.'

In the end, he's having fun, winning, and helping people around him succeed.

"We've enjoyed it. The people are respectful, and nice. This is one of those places, really a charitable place, that people want to give back and help. We've had a ball in our years here," Calipari said.

For the entire, hour long interview with Coach Cal, you can watch "A Conversation with Coach Cal," Thursday night at 8 on WKYT.

Calipari expands on his approach to today's recruits and their parents, why UK is a non-traditional program, and why giving and sharing are huge parts of his life as he gets older.

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