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Author Topic: The real John Calipari is all about family
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posted 03-31-2012 04:09 PM      Profile for eleem   Email eleem   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I’ve never seen a guy stay on the phone worrying about other people more than him,” said UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart. “He created an atmosphere of appreciation and love of one another.”

When Calipari first gathers his team over the summer to explain the goals of the season to come, one of his points of emphasis is that Italian phrase, La Familia.

While the language is new to the players – “I didn’t know any Italian before that,” Doron Lamb, a sophomore guard, said with a laugh – the message is simple, clear and inspiring. They just joined something bigger than they realized.

“We’re all one big family,” freshman Anthony Davis, another likely one-and-doner, said earlier in the day. “We’re all brothers. We all look after each other.”

He may have. Calipari returns the calls of lowly reserves or student managers or volunteer assistants in sports information offices from many schools ago. His greatest NBA pride this year may be courtesy of Josh Harrelson, a once nearly hopeless project now getting decent minutes with the New York Knicks.

“The perception of him is so far from the truth it’s a joke,” said Auburn coach Tony Barbee, who played for Calipari at Massachusetts and worked as an assistant under him at Memphis. “He loves basketball and that’s what he does, but this is the human element that is most important to him. Everyone who has played or worked for him knows it’s more than business.”


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