Calipari praises Crean for engineering IU’s turnaround

DES MOINES, Iowa — Tom Crean has at least one significant supporter in the race for national coach of the year.

It’s his counterpart at Kentucky, John Calipari.

The Wildcats coach went out of his way to praise Crean on multiple platforms following Kentucky’s first-round win over Stony Brook on Thursday. Calipari said Crean’s ability to improve his team even without the contributions of second-leading scorer James Blackmon Jr. is among the many reasons the IU coach is deserving of more national attention.

Crean was named one of four finalists for the Naismith coach of the year award on Thursday.

“My opinion, Crean is the national coach of the year for what he did,” Calipari said. “It’s not that they won the league. It’s that he had his best or one of his best — Yogi is probably his best player, but one of his best players out for the year and they had to adjust to how they play. What he’s done with that team in that league is incredible. He’s got a terrific passing team, a terrific shooting team, an attacking team.”

Crean and Calipari are friends, with a relationship that dates to their times shared in Conference USA — with Crean coaching Marquette and Calipari at Memphis. While the two coaches have agreed to disagree about the resumption of the annual border rivalry, they continue to share mutual admiration for one another.

“You know, it’s kinda unfortunate that this game is being played this early,” Calipari said. “This should be another round or two later. But it is what it is, so both of us are going to have to play. Tom knows the respect I have for him as a coach and as a leader and what he does. They’re really, really good. Like (Thursday) they were really good.”


  1. AD Glass let’s take that final offer: at Indy, then at Lexington, then at Indy, then at B-Town, every 4 years! This game deserves to be played every year, and twice with an NCAA match-up!

    1. BeatPurdue,
      That two neutral, two home-and-home offer was from Glass, and Calipari doesn’t want it. It’s neutral site or nothing as far as he’s concerned.

  2. ^ Meanwhile in 2014 Calipari agreed to play UCLA home and home:

    LEXINGTON, Ky (Dec 9, 2014). — Kentucky will face UCLA next season in a home-and-home series that will bring the Bruins to Rupp Arena for the first time in 2016.

    Scheduled to meet on Dec. 20 in Chicago, two of college basketball’s most storied programs will resume home-site games with the Wildcats visiting Pauley Pavilion on Dec. 3, 2015 in their first trip to Los Angeles since December 1959.

    UCLA plays in Lexington for the first time since February 1961 with a Dec. 3, 2016 matchup at Rupp.

    Kentucky coach John Calipari said in a release on Monday that “not only does Big Blue Nation get to see two of the historic programs in Rupp Arena, it gives our fans on the other side of the country a chance to see our team in person.”

    Destroy them tomorrow! We have the more mature team, and with a far higher basketball IQ. Crean needs to hustle his counterpart and that’s one thing Crean is really really good at. Go on a 28-0 run like they did in Ann Arbor and dismantle the Calipari Wildcats. They won’t even know what hit them. Yogi will run circles around their one and done’s and threes will pour from everywhere! Just flatten them.

  3. Bobby played them on neutral sites all the time…Their was no hang up about it being solely for the students, affordability, and the rest of the BS….

    The greaser friends are merely playing a game of hide and seek…They don’t want to box in the ring…They want to apply lotion to each other…and take private jet trips with their sons to watch their glorious creations in the NBA.

  4. Aside from reading minds and knowing the motives of others, Harvard also sees dead people!

  5. Metaphorically speaking, I only see ‘dead’ coaches…And the day Crean was hired, I was moved by the spirits of best days already on tombstones. .

  6. What’s the motive of flying to games together with their respective sons…? Yeah, I guess it’s because they hate each other.

  7. Win or lose tomorrow I U doesn’t want U of K on the schedule, the U of K talent pipeline is superior and I U wouldn’t be able to compete on a year to year basis.

  8. I U South, yes of course they do. When a school tells players during the recruiting process that they only have to take a few High School level classes for one semester, and that they will get to work full time improving their skills in preparation for the NBA, that school is going to have a superior talent pipeline. That school is going to have an advantage over almost every other school that requires their athletes to make a legitimate pursuit of academic achievement. Calipari, with support from Kentucky’s administration, has found and is exploiting all the loopholes in the NCAA rules and taking full advantage of the NBA’s “one-and-done” policy. If and when that comes to an end, or if and when the NCAA requires athletes to be legitimate students, Kentucky’s recruiting advantage will evaporate and that talent pipeline will no longer be superior. I suspect that if that ever happens, Calipari will retire or return to the NBA. If not, he’ll be forced to start cheating again.

  9. When a school tells players during the recruiting process that they only have to take a few High School level classes for one semester,

    he’ll be forced to start cheating again.

    Nobody knows any of that to be true…Hell, at NC they weren’t even taking classes…UNC was putting factitious classes on transcripts…That’s outright lying and falsifying documents.

    Those very public written defamatory shots at Calipari, acting like he has some sort of “cheating” advantage,is libelous. You can’t extend any previous misdeeds into the future. There is no current evidence to smear Calipari personally or the institution.

  10. Screaming at one person in a claim of “wrecking a program” in the live feed of a publicly televised broadcast potentially reaching millions of viewers is also slander. Targeting one person as being wholly responsible for any collective misdeeds without any chance for the accused slandered to “publicly” refute such hostile generalizations elevates the slander to a potential punitive scale.

  11. Yep, missed some that are usually pretty good looks.

    RJ going down hurts. That means Troy will handle the ball more up top. UK is not the team to play Troy at point against. Yogi will log a lot of minutes.

    I think the Hoosiers look more athletic than Kentucky, which I haven’t thought to be the case in forever. TB needs to stay out of foul trouble (cut and paste to every game). Love me Missouri freshmen. Nice piece of recruiting on those guys.

    Really good job of scouting the Kentucky backcourt. That’s a lot of offensive fouls drawn by the Hoosiers.

    I think the Hoosiers looked better but you have to put the ball in the basket.

  12. Harpard selects a minor event that occurred in the heat of battle four years ago and was quickly forgotten by most reasonable people and continues to regurgitate it in an attempt to tarnish a man’s character. Meanwhile, he defends men who knowingly broke the rules, allowed their players to run wild and flunk out of school, and all but destroyed a once proud IU basketball program. That’s not just being a contrarian folks, that’s hypocrisy at its finest.

  13. Great display of composure when things were going south with the injuries. Quality win. CTC and staff did a GREAT job of scouting Kentucky. The Hoosiers looked a step ahead all day.

    Quality win. Now it’s time for quick healing.

  14. Quick healing is the key…Tim will need to work miracles to get us tee art to play NC.
    This wasn’t a beautiful game to watch but I thought that the IU players showed true grit.

  15. By saying ignore it, you’re not ignoring, short man of petty snide. Nothing is easy for your complex of massive inferiority.

  16. Po…his comments are to funny not to read…its like a car wreck, you just have to look. It’s like the crazy lady that sleeps in the door of the barber shop on Walnut, she screams and shouts profanities but no one pays attention…I like to point out the many inaccuracies when I’m bored at my blue collar job but besides that I scroll down until I find a post that is fresh…something that hasn’t been said since 2013.

  17. Quick healing will be the trick indeed. RJ has been playing well. His experience on th floor makes him look even quicker. It’s gonna be tough coming back on that ankle but it’s obviously still fragile.

    I am more hopeful for Morgan but, again, who knows?

    We are so thin at the point. Plenty of shooters yet but growing short on ball handlers. I wish Troy didn’t scare the hell out of me when he’s deep in the backcourt trying to beat a skilled point off the dribble. But he does.

    TB made a couple questionable decisions but really came up big today. Today had to have gained him some confidence.

    Great job by the Hooiers and their coaches.

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