Photo: The Lexington Herald-Leader via Growing Leaders

I personally feel John Calipari is one of the best college basketball coaches in the history of the game.  No, it's not because he is a Clarion University Graduate like myself or because of his just wins or NBA prospects.

In my opinion, there are not many coaches in the college game that could brings some of the best high school players together to play for about one year and still be  a perennial power. To handle those egos and get those young men to play hard, unselfish basketball is a feat not many coaches can pull off.

Yes I realize he has more talent than most and other coaches deal with the same one-and-done dilemma. But, Calipari gets most of the criticism for this type of system (along with his personality). But. is the one-and-done situation nessisarly a bad thing for college basketball or the NBA. Most analysts would say yes but one of my favorite authors, Tim Elmore who has founded the Growing Leaders organization, has a different take. Growing Leaders logo

Coach John Calipari’s Approach: Is it Good or Bad in the Long Run?

by Tim Elmore, Growing Leaders

March Madness is upon us, and the University of Kentucky is 34-0 and not done. So say their blue t-shirts. Many expect them to finish the season undefeated as NCAA champions. It certainly looks likely. They are to be commended. Coach Calipari is a recruiting machine, and has an unusual way of developing talent.

Let’s assess John Calipari’s approach to recruitment and coaching. I lay out this information not to draw a conclusion for you—but to start a conversation: assess.
UK spent just under $2 million over the last 5 years in recruitment (one of the highest rates) and Coach Cailipari is among the best recruiters in NCAA basketball. His second string could beat most other team’s first-string players, and he can rest them during a game more than other teams.
Coach Calipari’s approach to recruitment and coaching is simple: I will develop you and get you ready for a career in the NBA. This is not a pipe dream. If you play for him at UK, you have a higher chance of making the NBA than other teams.

Here are the “pros” and “cons” of his approach, as I see it:

The Pro…

Career readiness—which is what so many grads lack. In a day where our surveys show students are finishing school and feeling very unready for their career, Coach Calipari gets them ready for a career in the industry they love. Many analysts believe his Kentucky team could beat many teams in the NBA today. Fourteen of his players have gone to NBA as 1st round draft picks in his six years at Kentucky. It’s amazing.

The Con…

Many of these guys may not graduate. It’s the proverbial “one and done.” Most of his starters are freshmen and sophomores because so many got drafted last year before graduating. Sadly, while they may get drafted and paid well in the NBA…they also may not have job skills or life skills beyond the few years as a player. They have learned one “trade” but that trade will be only last for a relatively short time.

So is John Calipari’s approach good or not?

To be honest, I wish more teachers were approaching their work with the end in mind, like he is. We must get kids career-ready, where they’ve not merely mastered a classroom but a work ethic. They’ve mastered a skill. John has certainly built a work ethic in his guys. My hat’s off to him.

At the same time, if all UK is doing is building better players, but they gain no life skills or employability skills (soft skills like emotional intelligence, communication skills, problem-solving, critical thinking, resourcefulness, etc)…their employment may be short-lived. Their skill development may just be shortsighted.

I have to think that winning it all, and going undefeated this season will add value to their lives. Consider how it must cultivate self-esteem in those young players, how it improves their marketability in the NBA, and deepens their confidence. I am just hopeful that what they learn goes beyond the basketball court. A whole world awaits them outside of an arena, where no one may be applauding them as they work in an office and they encounter no fame or fortune, no glitz or glamour in a workroom. I guess I simply wonder what’s best for those young men in the long run.

Is it possible to have both? John Wooden would say yes. So would Pat Summit. But it was more than about going pro. How do we get both?

Read the Original Article Here


Tim ElmoreDr. Tim Elmore is the founder and president of Growing Leaders, an Atlanta- based non-profit organization created to develop emerging leaders. Through Growing Leaders, he and his team provide public schools, state universities, civic organizations, and corporations with the tools they need to help develop young leaders who can impact and transform society.

Tim trains high school and college students with the skills they need to become servant leaders at school, work home and the community. Since founding Growing Leaders, he has spoken to more than 300,000 students, faculty and staff on hundreds of campuses across the country, including Stanford University, Duke University, the University of South Carolina, the University of North Carolina, Florida State University, and Baylor University. Tim has also provided leadership training and resources for the National FFA Organization, and multiple athletic programs including, the University of Alabama, Auburn University, the University of Texas and the San Francisco Giants.

From the classroom to the boardroom, Tim is a dynamic communicator who uses principles, images and stories to strengthen leaders. He teaches leadership for corporations such as Chick-fil-A, Inc., The Home Depot, American Eagle Outfitters, and Cox Communications among others. He has also taught courses on leadership and mentoring at nine universities and graduate schools across the U.S. Committed to developing young leaders on every continent of the world, Elmore also has shared his insights in more than 30 countries — including India, Russia, China, and Australia, among others.

Tim has written more than 25 books, including the best-selling Habitudes: Images that Form Leadership Habits and Attitudes®, Life Giving MentorsNurturing the Leader Within Your Child, and Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future.  Recognized as a thought leader on the emerging generation, Tim has been quoted in articles on Generation Y and generational diversity in the workplace in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Investor’s Business Daily, Huffington Post, the Atlanta Business Chronicle, and