SPORTS

SIDELINE PATROL: Calipari right fit for Kentucky

Peter Silas Pasqua
Peter Silas Pasqua is the sports editor for the Gonzales Weekly Citizen. He can be reached at sports@weeklycitizen.com

The University of Kentucky introduced John Calipari as its 22nd head basketball coach Tuesday for the price of $35 million over eight years.

That makes Calipari the highest college basketball coach in the land and more than doubles the salary of the Wildcats’ football coach. Technically, it is more than Les Miles’ $3.75 million gig as LSU’s head football coach as Calipari will be set to make $3.8 million from 2010-04.

The deal eclipses the $3.5 million salary of Florida’s Billy Donovan. Who knows, Calipari may be the richest man on the college scene now.

Was it worth it for the Kentucky Blue. Without a doubt, yes.

Kentucky is the winningest team in the history of college basketball both in wins and winning percentage. The Wildcats also have the most NCAA tournament appearances and games played in the tournament. They rank second only to UCLA in National Championships with seven but  have not won one in over a decade.

After two disappointing years under Billy Gillispie, it would take a recruiting genius who enjoys the limelight of the media to bring the program back on par with what is expected from Kentucky basketball. Answer, John Calipari.

I recall sanctions placed on the Wildcats in Eddie Sutton’s tenure and the resurrectuion of the program under another Italian American Sports Hall of Fame inductee Rick Pitino.

I envision Calipari taking Kentucky back to the top just as Pitino did. Calipari already has brought The University of Massacheuets to the Final Four and turned Memphis into a powerhouse that played for the national championship in his tenure, schools without the history of Kentucky.

Calipari is famous for popularizing the dribble drive motion offense which is commonly known as the Memphis Attack. I quess they will just have to call it the Wildcat Attack now because there is no doubt that Calipari will have Kentucky back on top in a very short time frame.

Michigan State surprised alot of folks by upsetting Pitino and Louisville to make the Final Four and will definitely have home court advantage in Detroit but personally I?don’t think they have a chance against Connecticut.

Villanova proved they are the second best team in the Big East and could well give North Carolina a scare but I envision a UConn vs. UNC national championship.

Tyler Hansborough came back for his senior season to win the title and brought with him Wayne Ellington, Deon Thompson and LSU’s tworn Ty Lawson. I apologize Tyler, but you will just have to be happy with all your awards because the Huskies will turn the Tar Heels into road kill.

Hasheem Thabeeet is unstoppable inside at 7-3. Freshmen Kemba Walker scored 23 points to lead the Huskies to the Final Four over Missouri. A.J. Price is the experienced guard and Stanley Robinson adds extra size.

The Big East needs two wins to become the conference with the most wins in a single NCAA tourney. UConn will deliver.