Karl-Anthony Towns
Minnesota Timberwolves
2015-16 unanimous NBA Rookie of the Year
“Coach Calipari runs his program the best in the country, and he runs it like a professional team. For us, being able to be there for such a great year also, where all the pressure was on us, it felt like one of those years where it, again, was one of those special years at Kentucky. It prepared me very well for the pressure that was to come with being an NBA player. It prepared me for personal life as being an NBA player. But it also prepared me as a job for being able to work hard every day, trying to learn something new. It gave me so many more tools other than just basketball that comes with being an NBA player, and that’s just a testament to the program that Coach Calipari and the coaching staff at the University of Kentucky run.”

John Wall
Point Guard
Washington Wizards
2010 No. 1 Draft Pick
“He’s just like a father. He takes care of us like we’re his sons. He’s going to push you to make sure he gets the best out of you. He’s preparing you for the next level and he does a great job of it.”

Devin Booker
Shooting Guard
Phoenix Suns
2016 NBA All-Rookie First Team

“It’s just a brotherhood that we have there that Coach Cal instills in us. We know what people in the past have gone through and we know what people in the future have to go through. Everybody wants to beat you. You’re on the biggest stage in college basketball. Most of us are top recruits, but at the same time it puts a bigger target on your back. Every time you step on the court, you’re somebody’s Super Bowl. I respect people that have the urge to go play for that. Some people go to their own school by themselves and get to shine by themselves, but I think Kentucky is the closest thing to the NBA.”

Derrick Rose
Point Guard
New York Knicks
2010-11 NBA MVP
“He always wanted me to be great. When I was going to college, I wasn’t aggressive. In high school, I probably averaged 14-16 points. He just makes you aggressive the whole time. He makes you play hard the whole time.”

Willie Cauley-Stein
Sacramento Kings
No. 6 overall pick
“He’s like a life teacher. He’s a life coach. He doesn’t just coach the game of basketball. He wants us to become men. It’s not all about basketball. It’s not all about wins. Regardless whether we won games or not, Coach Cal is still going to be Coach Cal. He’s still going to be really successful. He’s still going to do all the things he does. I think one of his biggest teaching moments is actually making us into young men and teaching us life skills to use when we’re done playing basketball, or when we take the next step.”

Jay Bilas
ESPN analyst
“John’s out front (with) ‘We want to prepare you to be a pro.’ Nothing wrong with that. Kids want to be pros. It’s OK to pursue that dream.”

Larry Brown
Hall of Fame coach
NCAA and NBA champion head coach
“I’ve been with some great ones, but I think John’s the whole package.”

Mike DeCourcy
Sporting News
“Calipari unapologetically has made Kentucky basketball into a program designed to help young prospects develop their skills, to showcase them for professional scouts and, perhaps most important, to build an awareness that it’s a team game first and collective success can be reflected in all those who contribute.”

Knoxville, TN - 2015.03.31 Tennessee Volunteers Head Coach Rick Barnes portraits

Rick Barnes
Head Coach
“I think he’s a great basketball coach. He’s a Hall of Fame coach, and he’s won everywhere he’s been. What I love about him and what I think makes him special is the tremendous loyalty he has with his players, and they love him. And I think that speaks volumes. I think he’s great.”


Ryan McDonough
Phoenix Suns GM
“There’s nobody doing it any better in college basketball in terms of recruitment, player development. With Coach Calipari and his staff, they’re well coached, they’re well prepared. I don’t mean this as an infomercial for Kentucky but they really have a good thing going.”

Mitch Barnhart
Athletic Director, UK
“The one thing people have always enjoyed emotionally is Kentucky basketball. Cal has brought that (joy) back and given people some pride in their program again. He’s given them energy and fun and I don’t know how you put a price tag on that.”

Jon Hood
Former UK guard
“He makes you better as a player. Look at Josh (Harrellson). Look at DeAndre (Liggins). It doesn’t matter who you are. He makes you better as a person. He’s not only a great coach to play for but to be around. He’s upbeat about everything and can change your life.”

Josh Harrellson
Former UK forward
“Basketball isn’t about taking all the great talents. It’s about making players better. That’s what he did with me. I don’t have all the talent in the world. But I’ve got hard work and determination. That’s what he brought out in me.”

Dan Wetzel
Yahoo! Sports
“The thing about Calipari is he’s always moving forward, on to the next thing. Here’s a guy whose mantra is to “Bounce Back” (the title of his book) from adversity and strive to be better. It sounds hokey. It doesn’t fit the image. Then he raises a million bucks in 90 minutes.”

Gregg Doyel
The Indianapolis Star
“UMass had been stalled for 25 years, but he got that program up and rolling. Memphis had been stuck in neutral until he got that place rolling. He’ll get Kentucky rolling, too. Heaven help anyone who gets in the way.”

Jon Rothstein
CBS Sports
“Kentucky is more than a basketball program under John Calipari — it’s an empire. And there really is no way to stop it.”

Ron Cook
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“But there’s so much more to the Kentucky story than just great players. Calipari is at the center of it all. He not only recruits the best of the best, year after year, but he also coaches ‘em up and controls their egos. No one in his sport does it better.”

Wayne Martin
General Manager, WKYT
“There has always been a big UK following, especially in basketball. What has happened now with Cal is he’s expanded it exponentially. He embraces it. He makes himself accessible to the Big Blue Nation. He’s an amazing ambassador for the University of Kentucky.”

Andy Glockner
Sports Illustrated
“The marriage of Calipari with the storied history, resources and relentless passion of Kentucky … has created an unassailable monster.”