Jim Calhoun On Recruiting, How To Beat Kentucky And Jim Boeheim’s Violations
With Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim addressing the media today after NCAA investigation uncovered a culture of non-compliance within the school's football and men's basketball programs, it should come as no surprise that Jim Calhoun -- Boeheim's close friend/archnemesis -- is sympathetic.
It was only four years ago that Calhoun's Uconn Huskies were banned from the NCAA tournament after a similar set of allegations was levied against the program by the NCAA.
Speaking with Colin Cowherd today, Jim Calhoun was forthcoming in his support of Boeheim, also offering his personal opinion on how to beat John Calipari's Kentucky Wildcats, noting which team he thinks has the best shot at upsetting the overwhelming tournament favorites.
Calhoun also touched on how he turned the University of Connecticut from a farm school into the college basketball juggernaut it is today.
Jim Calhoun: i realized winning championships was great but they still have to recognize you for what you do in the end. you're in the great 90s. ray allen, donnell Marshall -- we didn't make a final four. i backed off, played mind games as i worked up.
Cowherd: mind games?
Jim Calhoun: yeah.
Cowherd: You were having them compete and strive late in -- just that you were having them compete and strive late in the season. not to wear them out but get them going. we always would either be the greatest or we're going to show we're the greatest or they don't expect us or care about us. we'll change. that a long-term mission, i'll do this for the next month. let's just door do it for today. win the day and you might win the week. win the week, you might win the month.
Cowherd: i'm not a huge fan. it is hard for me to promote low scoring, keep away basketball. i like, and i always felt one of jim boeheim's secrets is he looked around the carrier dome and say there are 40,000 people and i have to entertain them. you have to hire somebody that wants to move the basketball. it is los angeles. there are options, pro teams. with you, youymcñ have a fairly captive audience in connecticut but you had an attractive game for a player. did you think about that? you couldn't have done slow downs, if you did, would kids go to stores.
i grew up a kid in boston, massachusetts. i was a counselor, ran, ran, ran, so i believed in running basketball. the more positions you get in a game, the more mistakes you can make. the low possession games aren't doing it. last night watching u-conn play arizona state. the five seconds made a difference. it wasn't, trust me it wasn't byu and ole miss, but the game was better, the pace was better, more shots were taken, it was back to our game. we have to fix our game because right now dribble the ball for five sikdz and pick n -- seconds and pick and roll. it isn't going to get it done. having to make decisions on the fly, i thought we always ran good offense but we predicate everything on fast break, attacking.
Cowherd: when i think of you, i think of attacking. i think of jim calhoun as an aggressive recruiter, on a aggressive offense, aggressive defense. it was an aggressive program.
Jim Calhoun: i eat my hamburgers aggressively. so it was in my dna never to let you rest. never to let you let down against us. i'm going to come at you and make you make a play on defense. make you try to make plays, things you can't do. i will make sure i get the ball out of his hands, make somebody else make a play. offense and defense, if you're playing against us, sprint back --
Cowherd: i think that is attractive. my knock on virginia and wyoming is in the end it is about talent accumulation. you have to get players. okay. doesn't matter if you're urban mier or jim calhoun, you have to get players. ultimately players can talked out of playing for slow down. you want seven shots or 14? my program, we're moving the ball. i think there are limitations to that style in recruiting.
Jim Calhoun: the biggest problem with the style is, i asked one time over the recent years, we got to four final's in 15 years. and what is the greatest the thing you can teach. when i look at team, can you play them allways? we played kentucky in a game in the 70s. it was the semi-finals. the next night, 19-21, down against butler. we had to adjust our ways. can you run, can you press? can you get it done half court, and to me, those are the teams that make it to the final four.
Cowherd: jim calhoun, i've said this before. bill schneider, kansas state basketball couch and u-connchesre basketball cou the greatest college basketballs. what they created -- college coaches what they created, maintained. i'm 50 so i saw the duke, i saw your first championship team. i've seen the team with multiple nba players. those teams had upper class men, they were men. i don't consider kentucky great all time. i don't think it is the best kentucky team. there was a north carolina team six years ago i thought was really, really special. in the end, if you had to beat them, how do you do it? what is the secret sauce to a really, really young, long team?
Jim Calhoun: well, you know, the big thing. i don't think you're right but in 2012, anthony davis was on a better kentucky team. the 2004 Uconn team was over butler. Only pros on the team. and they're older pros, you're right. juniors. men.
and that is the difference. i think the key in kentucky is bringing good players. actually, they do more than you think they do offensively and that would be wisconsin.
Cowherd: do you think -- they have the size.
Jim Calhoun: and they do have the ability to shoot the ball. you have to shoot the ball against them. if you ever make the game and i think wisconsin has a chance to do this, into a jump shooting contest, make sure you get the defensive -- you have a chance. make it into -- arkansas can't beat them by pressing because you're putting talented kids in open floors the talented people who are quicker, stronger, better, and quicker, they win the battles. that is who they are. up the game and you have a much better game slow the game down, half court, hit 3's. when you watch kentucky, you can tell calipari knows the way to beat you. he runs you off the three-point shot. first thing they know, guys we're not losing trading baskets. we can lose, they hit 9, 3's. they run you off the three-point line at any time you can people don't realize when they're running them off. you're 100 % right and the key is when they're running, make a play inside, well, we can. that is the whole idea. we try to get you off the three-point marker and let you go to the hoop. there are 2, 6'11 guys waiting to block your shot. the fouls for most of us, depth for most of us. fatigue comes. with kentucky it doesn't.
Cowherd: jim boeheim, three years, negotiate the deal.
Jim Calhoun: i'm glad he got his own way. i have no idea the particulars about the situation and quite frankly to some degree i don't care. he has been great for syracuse. he went there when he was basically five years old and i think the guy, i'm talking just about syracuse. he should be able to dictate his own terms. the syracuse people thought the same thing.
Cowherd: my feeling on 39 years, he maybe wanted five, they said two.
Jim Calhoun: the other thing is, i know what he wants. we've talked a lot. not as much recently because he needs to fill in his own ideas without me. i think that they want a plan. they want this thing to keep going. as much as u-conn did. i thought it would keep going in the direction we wanted it to. it might be two years. i don't know for sure. i know he wants to make sure the recruits coming in know it what it will be like in the future.
Cowherd: advantage to syracuse. it is a great brand. brands, whether it is usc football, syracuse basketball. has a better chance of over coming scholarship loss. so many one and done players, i n't think it scares players anymore that you're around three years. most are like i'm not going to be here two.
Jim Calhoun: i want to play at the dome anyways. i hate to say this, it is true. i would hope connecticut continues to do this. coming to connecticut, you came from a connecticut and jim calhoun produces a lot of pros. that is real. syracuse must play the dome and they produce a lot of pros kids look, they stay st more important to win a national championship for you or having kids go to the nba for the kids? they look at ray allen, walker, ben gordon, rudy gay, all of those gays. they say -- all of those guys. they sincerely that is the place to go.
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