And so the decline of Charlie Villanueva continues…
The Dominican Republic has a chance to make the London Olympics this summer, they are in the pre-Olympic qualifying tournament for teams that just missed out qualifying last year. Get a top 3 finish and they can pack their bags for London.
John Calipari — last seen coaching Kentucky to a national title — coaches the Dominican team. And he made his first big move of the summer recently:
He cut Charlie Villanueva. For being fat. From the Detroit News (hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie):
“Charlie was not in good form when we saw him,” Calipari told Deportes en la Z. “He was overweight, and unfortunately, we could not slow down the entire team and it was a decision taken collectively. Last year, Charlie behaved really well with us and his only problem was his weight.”
Villanueva denied this, tweeting a photo of himself at 243 pounds (about 10 pounds below his playing weight last season). However, Calipari and company had issues with Villanueva’s conditioning last summer, then he played just 13 games for the Pistons last season due to ankle and other injuries. That said, the Pistons praised his efforts to get back in the lineup and his work in rehab.
What’s the deal here? As Eric Freeman noted at BDL, Villanueva’s game just doesn’t really fit Calipari’s uptempo, dribble penetration offense. But to cut an NBA player you need a better excuse, so let’s go with weight.
The Dominican roster still has some serious talent on it. Like the Hawks Al Horford, who needs to have a monster summer if they are going to London.
By the way, don’t think Calipari took the Dominican job to set up future recruiting pipelines. That’s not it at all. He just loves teaching the game. Why would you think he’d have another motive? You are so cynical.
This has all the weight of a college player saying he will come back to school — he has to say it now, but things may be different in a couple months.
Kentucky coach John Calipari said he is not leaving Kentucky to coach in the NBA, reports Andy Katz at ESPN.
“Kentucky is the best job in basketball coaching,” Calipari said. “Why would I leave? We just won the national title. We’re chasing UCLA….
“No one is stealing our joy,” Calipari said. “I’ve made statements that I’ve got the best job in basketball and I’m not going to change my lifestyle. I’m not leaving.”
Calipari said he has not been contacted by the Knicks or any other team about coming back to the NBA to coach (remember he was the coach of the Nets for just more than two seasons in the late 1990s.
Calipari has to say this — he is out recruiting right now trying to get top flight high school seniors to come to Kentucky and replace the boatload the program is about to lose to the NBA. Those recruits aren’t coming if they think he is coaching the Knicks next year.
Calipari also has to say this to appease he fervent Kentucky fan base.
But the Knicks and other NBA teams will reach out to Calipari — not directly at first but through the rivers of back channels that flow through Kentucky basketball. The Knicks will not be looking for a coach until next month anyway (after their playoff elimination, I think Mike Woodson is the fallback) so nothing formal is happening right now anyway.
He may stay, but if Calipari wants to take another shot in the NBA, he will get his chance.
If he does change his mind, he can explain it away like so many players who have said they were staying only to disappoint a fan base.
Charles Barkley said it, so we should just assume it was absurd to begin with.
But it got a lot of play. Barkley said he thought Kentucky could beat the Raptors or Bobcats. In case you wanted some thoughts besides mine on why that idea is absurd, I bring you Magic coach Stan Van Gundy.
“Look, it’s absurd,” he said before the Magic faced the New York Knicks. “I mean, people will say, ‘Oh, Kentucky you know’s got four NBA players.’ Yeah, well the other team’s got 13.”
“Could anything happen on a one-night thing? I mean, I suppose, you have major upsets all the time. So maybe, but it’d be rare and in a series it’d be a joke,” Van Gundy said. “It wouldn’t be close. That’s just the way it is. John Calipari’s got a lot of talent, he does not have 13 NBA players. He just doesn’t. And even if those guys all are, they’re all NBA rookies. I mean, when has that ever been a success in the NBA? So no, they’re not going to win.”
Well said. Thank you. Now, let’s talk to Van Gundy about pizza…
Between now and June — or whenever the Knicks and Wizards get around to hiring their coaches for next season — we are going to get a lot of “John Calipari is leaving Kentucky” stories. He’s already spent considerable time before the first round of the NCAA Tournament trying to distance himself from the Knicks rumors.
His former players have heard all this before. Which is why John Wall, being interviewed by Hoopsworld has the lines down pat. So John, would you want Calipari to coach the Wizards?
“It’s be great to have him as coach again, but I think he loves it at UK and I’d be surprised if he left. And I’m just happy with the coaches I have right now.”
Randy Wittman appreciates the love, John… it is Randy Wittman in D.C., right? Whatever. I’m sure he’s a very nice guy. Who fully recognizes the situation he is in.
If Calipari is coaching Kentucky next season, it’s because he really does want to be there. He has options.
A few Memphis boosters were ticked. Really ticked. And they would not quit.
So they threatened a lawsuit naming former Memphis player Derrick Rose, former Memphis coach John Calipari, and Memphis athletic director R.C. Johnson after the team got put on sanctions, all surrounding Rose not taking his own SATs (allegedly).
Be clear, if Calipari and Rose had fought this legal threat they would have won. Easily. But not until some ugly PR about them had come public. Not until old wounds had been re-opened. So they decided to settle, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal (via Eye on Basketball).
You got the bonus back. All $232,000 after-tax dollars. Paid to the Memphis scholarship fund. I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t read the confidential settlement agreement with my own eyes.
“Mr. Calipari agrees to donate the bonus he received,” it said…
Former Memphis star Derrick Rose agreed to make “a suitable donation” to the university. Memphis athletic director R.C. Johnson agreed to give back the $105,875 bonus ($71,306.81 after taxes) that most of us didn’t even know he had received.
First off, nicely done Memphis boosters. You love the winning and a should have been as shocked to see recruiting violations as Captain Renault was to see gambling in Rick’s Café. What’s more, if I’m an elite recruit now and I read how you go after former players there if you’re unhappy, I cross you off the list of potential schools.
What’s more, Rose could have been a great ambassador for the university. Now you think he wants to do that?
College recruiting is as dirty a game as you’re going to find. It’s ugly. And if those Memphis boosters want to do something useful start working for ways to clean it up nationally. This was stupid and vengeful.