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It was 20 years ago yesterday that one of the greatest post-game blowups of all time went down in Amherst. Back when UMass was relevant in a national conversation, they won an ESPN classic in a one point win over arch-rival Temple. Things got interesting during coach John Calipari’s post game press conference:
Such a classic freak out by old man Chaney. Calipari is just such a d-bag in this video, I can’t possibly love it more. Think he cares that Chaney is about to have a heart attack? Nope. Funny part about this is that Chaney wasn’t standing up for his players, he was standing up for the refs. Who stands up for the refs? For whatever reason it was really annoying him that Calipari was railing against the officiating at CALIPARI’s press conference. Apparently you don’t talk shit about the refs when Chaney is in the building. He will burst into your press conference to defend their honor, and he WILL fight you if you besmirch their good name.
As I’m writing this I am watching UMass lose to the worst team in the conference (George Mason), a team whose conference record sits at 1-8. UMass is not only losing to the worst team, they are losing to them at home, and they are losing by double digits as they have been all game. Actually, switch that, they just lost by 11. At no point in that game was the outcome of the game ever in doubt.
The combination of this game and the above video made me miss Calipari so much. He has a reputation as a dirty coach in NCAA basketball, but why? Sure after he left UMass AND Memphis, both schools Final Four runs were nullified by the NCAA because it was discovered that their top players violated NCAA rules. But as UMass super fan Brian Long has pointed out over and over again, he never did anything wrong himself. He just happened to be the coach when players were doing dirty things.
Fair enough. Did Calipari know that Derrick Rose and Marcus Camby were taking money from boosters? I obviously have no proof of that. I think you have to be pretty naive to believe that he didn’t though. You’re pretty much the surrogate Daddy for these players. You’re with them 40-50 hours a week. And it’s not like Calipari is an old fart like John Chaney. He was young when these violations happened, and obviously should’ve been astute enough to realize that SOMETHING was up.
More than likely though he had an idea and didn’t give a shit, and I thank God for that. The UMass Final Four run was one of the defining moments of my childhood before I began riding turtles for a living. College athletics is a dirty, dirty system. Urban Meyer won because he let a bunch of murderers and drug addicts run wild in the streets as long as they won on Saturday. Jim Calhoun and Jim Tressell have both forfeited postseasons because of violations as well. I’m not advocating NCAA violations, but it certainly wouldn’t be out of the ordinary if Calipari knew and didn’t do anything about it.
And you know what? Calipari is still the most honest coach in college basketball. Unlike the other frauds, he truly has the best interests of the players at heart. Jim Boeheim has been quite outspoken that it would be “idiotic” to pay college players, while he gets paid $1.9 million a year, which only makes him the fourth highest paid coach in his conference.
Calipari on the other hand has been very outspoken that players deserve to be paid. While other coaches lecture about the need for college athletes to stay in school and finish their degrees, Calipari urges them to leave early and take the once in a lifetime NBA money. That right there is all the proof you need that at his core he is a decent person who puts the interests of his kids over the interests of his program. He is willing to sacrifice winning every year in order to help impoverished kids achieve their dreams.
Calipari is everything that Derek Kellogg is not. DK is quiet and reserved. He says all the right things and no one suspects he is violating any rules. Calipari is loud and outspoken. He doesn’t care if you think he’s violating NCAA rules, because like most rational people he recognizes that the NCAA themselves are the real crooks.
I’m sorry, but if UMass doesn’t make the NCAA tournament this year then there is no way Derek Kellogg should keep his job. This is his sixth year as head coach, and the sixth in which they won’t make the tournament. The players are all his recruits, and he can no longer blame Travis Ford for leaving him a steaming pile of poop to work with.
The DK apologists will tell you that it’s not his fault that this season seems to be collapsing in front of our eyes; it’s the player’s fault. They’re not good enough. They don’t play with any heart. They’ve improved steadily since he took over as head coach and they are on the verge of a third straight 20 win season. Two of those things are true.
1) They’re not good enough. Oh yea, then how’d they beat New Mexico by 16? How’d they score 105 against BYU? Both of those teams are going to the NCAA tournament. You don’t win games like that, and then lose to terrible teams like George Mason because the players aren’t good enough. They obviously weren’t coached well enough.
2) They haven’t played with any heart. This is definitely true. Sometimes athletes do that, and it’s the coach’s job to get the best out of them when they do. Why else are they being paid? I don’t think I’ve ever seen DK get mad at a player. This isn’t the NBA, he can afford to flip out on them, get in their faces, and/or publicly humiliate them without losing their respect. I want to see more emotional interactions with his players like this…
In college basketball you have to really love your players. Calipari does. Izzo does. God knows Bob Huggins does….
You have to love the players like you love your own kids. When your kids screw up, you get pissed. You raise your voice with them, not because you’re mad, but because you want what’s best for them and know they’re capable of more. Cady Lalanne should’ve been benched tonight and yelled at in front of the home fans. GMU’s Eric Copes averages 3 points and 4 rebounds a game. At 6′ 8″ he is undersized, yet still put up 12 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks on the the much bigger and more talented Lalanne. Being humiliated sucks temporarily, but teaches you something in the long run about humility. These UMass players are walking around like they’ve already accomplished something. They haven’t. They seem to think that just showing up is good enough to scare Atlantic 10 opponents like GMU. It’s not.
Derek Kellogg does yell a lot, but mainly at the refs. He gets more exercise on the sidelines then any coach I’ve ever seen, running up and down the sidelines yelling things at the group as a collective whole. But I never see him have those one on one interactions that are essential for effective coach-athlete relationships. If he can’t get his players to play with heart, then he’s just not very good at his job and needs to pursue another career. That shouldn’t be good enough for UMass.
3) They’ve improved steadily since he took over as head coach and they are on the verge of a third straight 20 win season. This is the classic argument for those with lowered expectations. He hasn’t made the NCAA tournament. Nothing else matters. Six years is an eternity in this profession. He has improved the program for sure, but that’s because it was so terrible when he arrived. A 300 pound woman who loses 100 pounds has gone from morbidly obese to a last resort at 2 AM.
In the last three years UMass has plateaued. He will forever be stuck at this place, as long as he has players as talented as Chaz Williams and Raphiael Putney. But what happens when they’re gone? The only underclassmen with any sort of value on this team is Trey Davis. Tyler Bergantino is just a terrible, terrible waste of space. None of the freshmen make any significant contributions, despite the fact that the NCAA has been dominated by freshmen for several years now.
DK also might be the worst player caller I’ve ever seen. The half court offense UMass attempted to run tonight was a flaming pile of St. Bonaventure poop. First of all, the next time Chaz Williams just lets the ball roll up to the half court line so that he can save 1.5 seconds with 15 minutes to go in the game, DK needs to call timeout and completely lose his shit on Chaz. Why does he allow this? Chaz’ biggest advantage of his speed. By starting off every possession in a stationary position at half court he takes away his biggest strength. It’s a coaches job to tell him that.
The offensive play calling is as follows: have Chaz dribble around for a little bit, try to go around a bad pick, drive into three defenders, and jack up a shot. Hopefully the ref blows a whistle, and if they don’t then just complain about it as the other team scores in transition. That’s because Chaz isn’t a coach, he’s a player. Someone needs to direct him, and the coach would be a good candidate to do as such.
They were 16-1 because the players were leading the team. Now that they’re not, it’s his job to earn his $600K salary. His army of coaches, who nearly outnumber the players, cannot justify their positions if the players don’t improve.
Hopefully they rebound. Hopefully they win on the road this weekend at GW, and can take at least one of two against VCU and St. Louis. Hopefully this all will be forgotten. But the fact remains that this team simply isn’t going anywhere with DK at the helm.
Feel free to share your thoughts to keep the conversation going.
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To Turtleboy – “Obviously recruiting is not Kellogg’s strength as can be seen in our last two recruiting classes” – Huh? Trey Davis is looking more and more like a stud with each passing game and who knows what we will see from this years freshmen. We didn’t really start seeing Davis until around this time last year. Sure, Bergantino hasn’t been anything more than an 8-9th guy off the bench, but everyone has hits and misses.
Blong, you just proved my point. They have one contributor from the freshmen and sophomore classes. Tyler Bergantino is so terrible that he feels like he has to keep Cady Lalanne in games even when he sucks as bad as he did against GMU. There’s no reason that freshmen shouldn’t be contributing immediately, as they do at most other schools. The fact of the matter is that Chaz Williams literally fell into his lap after what happened at Hofstra. Without that happening he would’ve had to rely completely on his own recruits. What would their record be without Chaz?
You are beyond foolish to believe that UMASS is getting players who can significantly contribute from day one on a consistent basis. Big time recruits aren’t yet coming in here. Hell, even under John Calipari we got beyond lucky to get Camby, and that was only because UCONN ignored him. We’ve only had 1 McDonald’s All-American in our school’s history, Donta Bright. Your expectations continue to be way out of whack.
DK has gone 1 for 2 in last years class with the one contributing big time at the end of last year. He is also proving to be more than a suitable replacement for Chaz when he is finished. We will find out by the end of the season who really has potential in this years class and for sure next year. You also completely discount Zach Coleman who has yet to play due to an early season injury and is the best of this years class.
And by the way, transfers are his recruits. Chaz Williams didn’t just wake up one morning and go “Hey, I think I’ll go to UMASS today” without any recruitment effort by Derek Kellogg. How do you think Forbes and Gaffney got here? They just drove to Amherst, knocked on Ford’s door and said “hey, ummm Coach, do you think maybe I can join your team? Pretty please with cherries on top?”
Fell in his lap… what kinda crack did you smoke this morning? You had no point to begin with.
Go back to watching the Olympics Triplecast, Hannah Gordon… You probably tried to watch double decker nude men’s luging earlier when you thought it was a real thing.
Matt – Good thing then he’ll be 1-5 then after this year.
Doesn’t work? 19-5 and if the season ended right now, in the tournament per the pundits, including that douchebag Lonardi. Yep, clearly it’s not working.
I would say you are wrong about firing him simply because I don’t trust the administration and the athletic department to hire anyone better.
Agreed completely. Sure, lets fire DK! And replace him with…….? Me? Hanna Gordon? Steve Manguso?
Right. So let’s just keep staying with something that obviously doesn’t work. No rush or anything. Not like we haven’t made the tournament since 98 or anything.
Since I can’t reply to Turtleboy I will reply to you, but direct this at Turtleboy… You continue to overlook the flaw in firing him. Who do you suggest they hire? There are a limited supply of Shaka Smarts, Brad Stevenses, and John Calaparis out there. As a follower of UMass Football and Basketball over the past 15 years, I have seen just as many horrible moves by the athletic department as I have seen good ones. Hiring someone like Steve Lappas, Bruiser Flint, or Kevin Morris is not going to make them a perennial Sweet 16 team. If Calapari ends up without a job tomorrow and we find that UMass is his top choice for a coaching job (and the administration doesn’t decide to just hire an internal nice guy), sure, fire Kellogg. I just think you are overlooking the fact that it does not come down to a choice between Kellogg and a Calapari clone who will rescue the basketball team and turn this team into a Butler or VCU-caliber team.
To Joey g, I would suggest they raid someone’s staff that comes from a mid major team that wins with lesser recruits. Go get one of Chaka smarts assistants. Kellogg was a calipari assistant. Calipari won because he can recruit. Obviously recruiting is not Kellogg’s strength as can be seen in our last two recruiting classes.
Can’t hire anyone who could do worse than 0 for 6.
Who is 0-6? Certainly not DK at this point in time.
According to an earlier commenter, DK will be 0 for 6 when they don’t make the tournament this year.
For the record, Derrick Rose did his “dirty thing” before he even stepped on campus at Memphis. He had someone else take his SATs WHILE HE WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL. Unless I missed something, I don’t believe John Calipari has ever coached at the high school level, nevermind coached Derrick Rose when he had someone else take his SATs for him.
Camby obviously did it while at UMASS and while I’m ok with saying that Cal probably could have ran a tighter ship, that doesn’t change the fact that he still had nothing to do with it.
But yeah, Cal is dirty. *rolls eyes*
Regarding DK, I completely agree that he needs to get on these guys more and light a fire under their ass. Why he doesn’t scream and yell at these guys is beyond me. We are well past the time to baby and coddle these guys. Beyond that, the rest of this blog is garbage. They will make the tournament and you’ll go on pretending to be a fan just like the previous owner of this blog.
Hannah (the real Hannah, not this imposter who is undoubtedly sitting around in his underpants watching more and more shameful displays of porno featuring girls who look like Hannah Gordon) reminds me of Dumb Old Margaret on Dennis the Menace. Can we start calling her that from now on?
Unless you were wearing Maroon colored glasses, you could see that they were the worst 16-1 team of all time.
Hey Matt, how much do you make per annum? I think there is a lot of weight being placed on how much Kellogg makes per annum. By the way, did you watch womens’ speed skating today?
Not as much as DK thats for sure. Might start making and selling cat houses. u in?
A beautifully written, persuasively argued piece. I agree its about accountability when you are making $600k per annum and this guy Kellogg has not made the NCAA in 6 yrs and is a poor,inarticulate spokesman for the university and the state. This year should be his last but for some foolish reason he was extended two years ago by the AD (the AD’s comments at Whipple’s press conference about the Kellogg hire 6 years ago paying off is laughable right now)..