The list of NBA players who have played for John Calipari is rather remarkable (Seen Below). One can knock Coach Cal for his role in past controversy, but his ability recruit elite talent year after year and manage the personalities of young men while maximizing their potential is unquestionable. What has set Calipari apart from many current college coaches is the list of successful and talented point guards that he has had the opportunity to coach and send into the NBA. Also, having Jay-Z, Drake and other highly influential moguls in his inner circle doesn’t hurt either; but, with names such as Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, John Wall, Brandon Knight, and the recent champion, Marquis Teague to use as a calling card, its easy to see what makes Coach Cal a favorite in the high school, college, and NBA ranks.
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|Lou Roe (30th, 1995 NBA Draft)||Dajuan Wagner (6th, 2002 NBA Draft)||John Wall (1st, 2010 NBA Draft)|
|Marcus Camby (2nd, 1996 NBA Draft)||Earl Barron (Undrafted, 2003 NBA Draft)||DeMarcus Cousins (5th, 2010 NBA Draft)|
|Antonio Burks (36th, 2004 NBA Draft)||Patrick Patterson (14th, 2010 NBA Draft)|
|Shawne Williams (17th, 2006 NBA Draft)||Eric Bledsoe (18th, 2010 NBA Draft)|
|Rodney Carney (16th, 2006 NBA Draft)||Daniel Orton (29th, 2010 NBA Draft)|
|Darius Washington, Jr. (Undrafted, 2006)||Brandon Knight (8th, 2011 NBA Draft)|
|Derrick Rose (1st, 2008 NBA Draft)||Josh Harrellson (45th, 2011 NBA Draft)|
|Joey Dorsey (33rd, 2008 NBA Draft)||DeAndre Liggins (53rd, 2011 NBA Draft)|
|Chris Douglas-Roberts (40th, 2008 NBA Draft)||Anthony Davis (1st 2012 NBA Draft)|
|Tyreke Evans (4th, 2009 NBA Draft)||Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (2nd, 2012 NBA Draft)|
|Robert Dozier (60th, 2009 NBA Draft)||Terrence Jones (18th, 2012 NBA Draft)|
|Marquis Teague (29th, 2012 NBA Draft)|
|Doron Lamb (42nd, 2012 NBA Draft)|
|Darius Miller (46th, 2012 NBA Draft)|
This upcoming college basketball season, however, will prove to be Coach Cal’s biggest test so far as coach of the Kentucky Wildcats. Every season presents majors challenges while playing under the bright lights of Rupp Arena but this 2012-2013 Wildcat team does not have the same veteran leadership as Coach Cal’s teams have had in the past. As always, Calipari has been able to find a point guard with talent to lead the way. At the helm in the forthcoming season will be Ryan Harrow, who was ineligible to play last season as a result of transferring.
Harrow, a native of Georgia, has always been known for his ball-handling ability and quick crossovers displayed in various mix tapes on YouTube. His handle is always a topic in the comments, as he appears to have the ball on a string, manipulating defenders with relative ease.
Take a look…
Coming out of high school, I, as well as many others had very high expectations for Ryan at North Carolina State along with fellow freshman, CJ Leslie and Lorenzo Brown. Unfortunately Ryan’s play was less than stellar in part because of the system that former NC State Coach Sidney Lowe ran. Instead of highlighting to Ryan’s strengths—quickness, ball handling, athleticism, passing—Lowe’s slow-it-down, half court set kind of offense, limited Harrow’s ability. In addition to poor coaching, the team’s dynamic was a poor one, and Ryan himself did not appear ready to play point guard at the highest level physically and emotionally. When Harrow declared that he would transfer to Kentucky, Coach Cal did not mince words as he emphatically stated that Harrow had better “bring it.” Nonetheless, Coach Call saw Ryan’s one year off as an advantage.
“Ryan should be in the best position of any point guard I have ever coached because he’s got a year to be tutored without the pressure of having to play. Ryan has major college experience, quickness and an ability to score that you can’t teach, but he needs to use this season to take his game to another level physically. If he does that, he should be in a great position when he’s eligible next year.”
Ryan has had a year to refine his game, add strength to his wiry frame and learn what it takes to win an NCAA championship. Even with that experience, Coach Calipari has been putting Harrow to work thus far in an attempt to show him just how much pressure he will face leading this young wildcats team. The dribble-drive offense will definitely showcase Harrow’s ball handling, passing and scoring skills allowing him to play to his strengths more often.
If he buys into the system, Harrow will have great success in what might be his lone season at Kentucky. And with that he will be yet another example of the great lineage of point guards that have been groomed by John Calipari.