Kentucky Wildcats coach John Calipari understands the business of college basketball. He thinks outside the box and has created the new model of the game. Over the past five years, he has had 18 players taken in the first round of the NBA draft. But don’t take that to mean he’s a “one-and-done” coach. Calipari replaced that phrase with \"succeed and proceed.\" A down year for the Wildcats is having one lottery pick and one top-20 draft choice. \n
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A funny thing happened this year, though, when potential top picks Willie Cauley-Stein, Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison and Alex Poythress decided to return to Lexington as opposed to putting their names in for the NBA draft. They will be joined by the nation’s No. 2 overall recruiting class (featuring four players in ESPN’s Top 25). What it has created is one of the deepest and most talented teams in college basketball.\n
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How will Calipari manage the rotation? How do you satisfy the expectations and egos of a roster of McDonald's All-Americans? How do you get players that have been enabled to run the show to commit to each other and play for the good of the group? Do they have enough to win the national title?\n
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The answer to those questions begins with the head coach, one of the most misunderstood individuals in college basketball today. \n
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Credibility \n
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Most fans see the extravagant Big Blue Madness, his recruiting success and larger than life personality. But what they don't see or appreciate is how committed he is to building a culture of accountability and how hard he works with his team on and off the court. \n
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He is a great communicator, and has the total trust of his players, enabling him to coach his players hard and hold them accountable. Few coaches in the country have as much credibility with their players or understand team dynamics better. His success helping his players achieve their dreams and his message of \"servant leadership\" are the foundation of his success.\n
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The perception that anyone could coach Kentucky is so far from the truth. The job is in some ways the best and worst job in college basketball. The tradition, facilities and ownership of the Big Blue Nation is unlike any other, but there’s also no escaping the pressures and expectations of the fan base.\n
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Underappreciated coach and teacher\n
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Calipari's practices are competitive, and he holds his players accountable. He’s an excellent teacher as well as a student of the game. The foundation of his philosophy is man-to-man defense, and the Wildcats have been one of the best teams on that side of the ball over the past five seasons. They keep the ball out of the lane and use their length to protect the rim. \n
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Offensively, Calipari utilizes the dribble-drive offense, which gives the players freedom to make plays for each other. The challenge this season for Kentucky will be different from 2013-14 because, as opposed to a team of freshmen and a couple sophomores, Kentucky has a core group returning. In my opinion, this is when good becomes great.\n
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The group of upperclassmen and experienced sophomores will teach the incoming freshmen. To be elite, teams need someone to coach the locker room and explain Calipari's intensity to new players as well as the highs and lows that a marathon season brings. \n
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2014-15 Season Outlook

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Kentucky will be a different team with a different identity. To help make the transition easier, the Wildcats will be taking a trip to the Bahamas in August to play six games against international competition. This will give the coaching staff a chance to evaluate this season’s team, give the returning players a chance to mentor and coach the incoming freshmen and give the first-year players a chance to be exposed to the intensity that is Kentucky basketball. This will be invaluable to the Wildcats’ development. There might be a few tweaks along the way, but this time together is so valuable in developing a team trust. \n
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Kentucky is two-deep at every position and three-deep at some. The incoming class is not only talented, but the players also possess a high basketball IQ and are skilled. Tyler Ulis is a 5-foot-9, lighting quick, pass-first point guard. Trey Lyles (6-10, 255 pounds) is both a high-post and low-post scorer with advanced footwork. Devin Booker can play both shooting guard and small forward and has a great feel for the game. Seven-footer Karl Towns Jr. has great hands and can shoot the ball to the 3-point line.\n
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There is great flexibility offensively to the Kentucky roster. They can go big with Cauley-Stein at power forward and either Dakari Johnson or one of the freshmen at center. If they go small, Poythress can play power forward. The Wildcats can play a traditional lineup with a point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward and true post player, or they can play faster with Ulis and Andrew Harrison together. This gives them two point guards on the floor. It would also be an effective late-game combination. \n
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The incoming Kentucky big men (Towns and Lyles) are skilled and can shoot the ball. They have more offensive versatility than Johnson and Cauley-Stein, allowing Calipari to invert his offense and post Poythress against smaller 3s. I expect Kentucky to use more ball-screen action with Towns and Lyles, both of whom slip to the rim and can shoot the ball. \n
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Defensively, the foundation will be man-to-man, though I would not be surprised to see Kentucky play some zone. The Wildcats could have a huge, long and athletic backline in a 2-3 zone or even some 1-3-1 zone. They will also have the depth to extend their defense. \n
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Second Unit\n
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I would not be surprised to see Calipari go with a second unit philosophy similar to what coaches do in the NBA. The question is whether he decides to keep the freshmen together. I would expect a combination of youth and experience if this philosophy was employed. He could keep the Harrison twins together with Towns, Cauley-Stein and Lee while also playing freshmen Ulis and Booker with Poythress, Johnson and Lyles. This would give Kentucky two efficient lineups, both with the length, skill and the athletic ability to put pressure on opponents offensively and defensively.\n
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Change in offensive philosophy\n
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I expect Kentucky to change its offensive philosophy, switching from the dribble-drive offense to more of a triple-post or triangle offense. Both offensive philosophies would better utilize the overall size and skill set of the of the Kentucky frontcourt. \n
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The big lineups, without a true ball handler and jump-shooting small forward, could make Kentucky vulnerable to full-court pressure and zone defenses. Although they will be tough to keep off the glass versus zones and have the ability to throw over pressure, I expect the Wildcats’ staff to commit a significant amount of time in their summer workouts and Bahamas trip to experiment with different concepts to attack both.","title" :"How John Calipari manages Kentucky's loaded team - College Basketball","byline" :"Seth Greenberg","linkText" :"How Calipari manages UK's loaded roster","description" :"Kentucky Wildcats coach John Calipari understands the business of college basketball. 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