Calipari embraces the sordid system, uses it, and dominates. He doesn’t pretend he’s taking kids for the leafy campus life, for the diploma that will never arrive, or even for a few classes. He wants talent. And talent he gets. And talented he is.
The player, college, and NBA have suffered greatly in quality of play and players. And for every Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett there has been a conga line of lost causes, teens who toiled in Europe or Asia or worse once their hoop dreams melted into memory.
Many players, especially if they’ve played for John Calipari, have gained huge financial windfalls before they were legally allowed to drink by entering the NBA a year removed from high school, but that hasn’t been to the benefit of the league.