Calipari says investment in basketball pays off for the rest of the SEC

Published 3:35 pm Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Kentucky was always been the team to beat in the Southeastern Conference, but that trend has changed in the past few years, which doesn’t bother coach John Calipari.

“I’ve said this over and over for 30 years — basketball coaches win games and administrations win championships, because they invest in it,” the Kentucky coach said. “You think of what happened in this league. Mike Slive got this TV deal done and you had a choice of where you can put all that money. Put it into one sport or you can say basketball needed it.”

Most of the programs in the conference made an investment in basketball, which is starting to pay off, especially for schools such as Tennessee.

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Kentucky is one of three teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. The Volunteers are sixth, followed by the Wildcats in eighth, while Auburn is No. 13 according to the latest poll.

“Many of the schools said we are invested in basketball and invested in baseball and we are doing this and we are going to upgrade football stuff,” he said. “Now all of a sudden they got unbelievable facilities, they got the top coaches in the country and they are able to go recruit.”

He added that coaches in the conference now have the tools in place to recruit on a higher scale than in the past.

“Everyone in our league is in a private plane moving around,” he said. “To recruit … If you think you are going to fly commercial during the year and do this job and recruit and then stay overnight and get a 5 o’clock flight back. You better be 30 years old.”