Now, while other coaches search for talent to trickle into their programs, Calipari turns on a fire hose. Controlling that flow has been his greatest trick. Among the challenges he faces, Calipari must convince his freshman stars to play for each other instead of NBA scouts; and he must persuade his seniors (yes, Kentucky does have seniors) to share the spotlight. And then there's the matter of actual basketball. "He doesn't get enough credit for the job they do defensively," Izzo says. "It's hard to get freshmen to play defense. And he's gotta do it with five, six of them [on his roster]."
Izzo says he would happily take a one-and-done player, but he doesn't want a whole team of them, nor does he think the likes of Krzyzewski or North Carolina's Roy Williams would either. "I don't think I would enjoy my job that way," he says. "It's like a factory. Nobody has any ties to the place."
Which isn't to say that Izzo—or any other coach—could make such an institutional change, even if he wanted to. "As [basketball] crazy as Kentucky is," says Izzo, "that's probably one of the few places you could do that."
Add to that the scarcity of freshmen who are good enough to star for a contender and that right now most of those players have an eye on Kentucky, and you have a situation where, Telep believes, Calipari's success will mostly breed further Calipari success. The more Kentucky wins, the easier it is for Calipari to land the one-and-done stars. The current recruiting year is not over. But Telep wouldn't be surprised if, for the fourth straight year, he ranks Calipari's class No. 1 in the country.