From Coach Cal to the Big Blue Nation.
April 21, 2011
There’s been some talk about what it means to be a “players-first program” and coming off the road from recruiting seems like a perfect time to discuss this.
Being a Players-first program means:
1. During the recruiting process, we don’t make outlandish promises about playing time, starting positions, minutes, shots, points or anything to these young men that we can’t keep. At Kentucky, you have to work for everything and compete every day at the highest level.
2. The second part is that once the season begins, we are teaching players to be the teammate they want to play with. Our whole focus is on team play. I want individuals to play well but I’m getting them to understand nothing of significance will be accomplished by themselves.
3. Lastly when the season is over, when our TEAM is done playing, my job is to help them make the best decisions, with the best information I can give them, for them and their families. I’m not trying to convince them to come back if that’s not in their best interest. Likewise, I’m never trying to shove anybody out the door.
The Truth is that these top players in the country want to play for a certain kind of coach in a certain kind of program. They are not playing for just any coach. They want to play with someone who has proven results.
The Lie is that because a player won’t go to a certain school, it’s impossible to win championships with that type of young, elite talent.
None of this takes away from our goal of winning championships. If you do right by these kids you will win championships and we have. It’s a ludicrous statement that you can’t win with players who earn a chance to pursue their NBA dreams early.
We’ve done pretty well in March. Winning a championship won’t change me one bit; but it would change me if it came after I told a young man to return to school for my own selfish reasons.
I’ll leave you with this, if we do right by these young people they will do right by us.