For those readers who are interested in younger son, Alex’s, shoulder surgery (and, I guess, for those who aren’t), it was successfully performed by Eric Hanson (who has done miraculous work on the shoulders and knees of many Fresno State athletes past and present). According to Dr. Hanson, the surgery was actually rather simple and straightforward. He said Alex should be shooting in three weeks (from the surgery date) and back to 100% by the middle of May. Alex just completed a week of rehab in Fresno, is now back in Monterey and will be continuing a strength and flexibility program there under the guidance of highly skilled trainer Mike Paddack.
When the subject of “one-and-done” college basketball players comes up, all the talk centers around Kentucky’s John Calipari. While Cal might be the face of one-and-done, there needs to be additional conversation. Of course, everyone knows other coaches, several well-known and highly respected ones at that, who’ve recruited this type of player. Yet, the criticism always falls at the feet of the UK head man.
A check of his record would illustrate that Cal uses the rule to his advantage better than anyone, whether he was at Kentucky or, previously, at Memphis. People seem to give a pass to other coaches because they don’t have so many of these guys. It’s almost like fans are saying, “OK, recruiting a one-and-done player I understand, but Calipari takes a whole team full of those guys.”
One issue must be addressed, however. While some coaches have only one, one-and-done guy on their squad, it might not exactly be by choice. In other words, if they could have an additional one (or two), would they? You can pretty much bet that the majority of coaches who signed or recruited a one-and-done prospect would answer in the affirmative. Now, would these same coaches have recruited all seven of the freshman Calipari did? Who knows? Probably not, because most coaches would look at it as too monumental a task to install from scratch all the offense, defense, special situations, etc. (not to mention having to deal with all the egos, parents and “others”) they’d feel necessary in order to win. There is also the task of getting everyone on the same page.
Then, if they were successful (meaning for nearly every coach, at least a Final Four appearance), they would have to start all over again the following year. Add to the mix that if they were not successful that they would be subject to universal ridicule - many to their face and the rest (more than they could count) behind their back. The endeavor would simply be more risk than reward - even though the reward would be the Holy Grail of their profession.
What can’t be overlooked in the recruiting of the one-and-done player is the fact that Calipari has the charisma, the understanding of social media and the track record to accomplish such a feat. Heck, he ought to be admired, not criticized. Another thought to keep in mind is that if these guys don’t sign with Kentucky, they’re going to sign with somebody else! Chances are, with a rival team, or teams, Kentucky will have to play. It’s not like if they didn’t go to UK, they’d be headed to junior college.
There are thousands of people - coaches and otherwise - who would love to be in Cal’s shoes right about now but don’t forget everything he had to go through this season (which wasn’t exactly a bed of roses - with the exception of the thorns). First to sign them, then to coach them, deal with them and try to get them to disregard all the noise - that he and his staff also had to do. For the wrap up quote, we turn to Memphis (wouldn’t you know it, where Calipari began his mastery of the one-and-done) and its favorite son, Elvis Presley, who said (I would imagine on many occasions):
“Don’t criticize what you don’t understand, son. You never walked in that man’s shoes.”