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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Calipari's Good Mood

Calipari’s good mood

Posted by Dan Wolken

Though he admitted Wednesday to still being jetlagged from his trans-Pacific travels, I’ve rarely seen John Calipari in better spirits. I think there were a few things factoring into his mood.

For one, Calipari was still on a high about the agreement with China, which received tons of coverage nationally and has been toasted as a triumph both for him personally and the University of Memphis. Also, Calipari was just happy to be back in the gym with his team and actually get two hours of real practice in Wednesday afternoon. “I felt good being out there,” he said. (To refresh: The NCAA allows coaches to spend two hours a week with their players during the offseason until the official start of practice on Oct. 12.). Though Memphis missed upwards of 80 layups during the practice and didn’t shoot particularly well overall, the effort, the enthusiasm and the level of playmaking was remarkably high given how early it is. In fact, at the end of practice, Calipari even mentioned to his players that he was impressed given that the calendar still hasn’t turned over to October yet.

My sense was that Calipari was also happy about the way recruiting has been going, given that he was out on the road Sunday, Monday and Tuesday after returning from China. He confirmed that was indeed the case. Though he can’t talk specifically about players, he said he was genuinely excited about what might develop over the next few weeks in the 2008 recruiting class, which at this point includes only Angel Garcia. It’s clear Memphis is looking to get two or perhaps three more players to round out the class.

A couple notes:
– Memphis had a couple media visitors Wednesday. John Akers from the Basketball Times is in town working on preseason stories about Memphis. Luke Cyphers from ESPN the Magazine was also there to interview Derrick Rose for a feature story.

– After Calipari’s press conference about the China trip on Wednesday, he was asked whether this five-year agreement should put an end to speculation about how long he’ll stay at Memphis. “My wife asked me, ‘What does this mean?’” Calipari said. “I said, ‘It means we’re locked in.’” I’ve only been in Memphis for a year, but I’ve been around long enough to know one thing: I wouldn’t jump to any conclusions based on that answer.

Posted Wednesday, September 26th, 2007 at 9:05 pm

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