This is a good enough article on its own, no need to simultaneously bash calipari by printing sheppard's words. BTW, i think sheppard has a point but placing blame on Cal isn't the answer.
It’s also the kind of quote you don’t read every day.
An excerpt from John Calipari’s new book, “Players First: Success From The Inside Out” has been released online and several passages are interesting. None more so than this particular snippet:
“I coach for the names on the back of the jersey — not the front. My players. They’re sent to me by their fathers, their mothers, their grandmothers, their aunts — whoever in this world raised them and loves them. Others look a their NBA bodies and consider them lucky. Future millionaires, just stopping through before they cash in. That’s not what I see. They’re kids, some of them as young as seventeen. They all need me in a different way. Some want my affection, others my approval. It’s a burden to be responsible for other people’s children, sometimes a heavy burden.
I go to Mass every morning. It’s how I start my day and it’s my moment of peace, almost meditation. If I’m struggling with a player, it’s where I ask myself: How would I want my own son treated?
But I’m also a sinner, as we all are. If you come after one of my players, I come after you twice as hard. If you kill one of mine, I burn your village. It’s the Italian in me. I’m not proud of that, but it’s who I am.”
It’s also — like every book ever written by an employed college coach — a sales pitch to future recruits and their parents.
No doubt fans of other SEC programs are retching after reading the above selection, but a Calipari book isn’t for them. Kentucky fans, on the other hand, will likely accept Calipari’s publication as the 67th book of the Bible.
Regardless of your feelings about UK’s coach or his book, here’s guessing you’ve never seen another coach write the words: “If you kill one of mine, I burn your village.” That’s a new one.
Former Wildcat Jeff Sheppard, however, does not appear to be frightened by Calipari’s words. He jokingly referred to UK’s coach as “the enemy” at an event in Ohio — because Sheppard’s Cats played against Calipari’s UMass team in the 1996 Final Four — and he made some serious complaints about his old school’s decision to bring in so many one-and-done players.
“I don’t think the Kentucky fan overall likes it,” Sheppard said. “We’ve had to accept it, and it’s working because we’re winning. We’re winning national championships — or at least one. And so it’s the way that it is… I personally think maybe there’s a little bit too much emphasis on celebrating first-round picks. I’d rather be celebrating national championships.”
Here’s the video of Sheppard’s remarks:
Sheppard has since clarified his comments to The Louisville Courier-Journal (perhaps he was worried about his village):
“I’m all for Coach Calipari and everything. I just — I like, and I think the Kentucky fan in general likes players staying at Kentucky for longer than six or seven months. That’s all. I understand. Heck, if I was good enough to play for six or seven months at Kentucky and get a multi-million dollar contract, I’d have left, too. I understand that. But I was talking to a group of traditional Kentucky fans and we would love to get to know Nerlens Noel and see him come back from his knee injury and play again for the Cats. Hopefully everything is taken in context. Obviously Kentucky’s doing great right now. We expect great things this year. But, boy, I just wish the whole system was different for all of college basketball. I don’t think I’m in the minority in that.”
No, he’s not.