John Calipari is transitioning back into being the UK head coach.
After he and the Dominican Republic national team completed play in the FIBA Americas Championship Sunday, winning a bronze medal (the best finish in national team history) and earning a spot in last-chance Olympic qualifiers next summer, Calipari is turning his attention to recruiting and touching base with his current UK team.
Because Calipari was in South America the past few weeks, he was unable to have any in-home visits during the recently open contact period, although he did have UK assistant coach Kenny Payne do the visits and get Calipari on speakerphone with the recruits. (Calipari tweeted on Saturday: “To the BBN fans, I was part of another home visit from Argentina today and I will be in another one tomorrow. Keep the faith.”) Calipari is also making a quick stop in Lexington for individual sessions with the UK players on Wednesday. An excerpt from a statement on his website:
For the next six or seven days, I will be in homes and in schools of the recruits we’re involved with. I’ll be in Lexington for one day this week but I’ll be back on the road recruiting that night.
Even though I’ve been in South America for the last few days during the contact period, I did three home visits from the speakerphone. Obviously, it’s not as effective as sitting face to face, but I wanted those young people to know that even though I was coaching a national team, they were on the forefront of my mind.
We will have individual skill instruction sessions with the team Wednesday, which I’ve been thinking about for two weeks. I can’t wait to get back at it with this team that I’ll be coaching. I miss those guys, and they know that. I’ve texted and talked to them all.