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180cm / 5'11'' - Shooting Guard / Small Forward - 1992    USA USA

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Coach Calipari's personal redemption has been completed, winning a National Championship - Apr 3, 2012


POSTED BY:
FAYE
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After getting 3 schools to the final 4, countless amount of players to the NBA, had 5 players selected in the 1st round of the draft (new record) and few more impressing achievements, Coach John Calipari has won his first ever national championship. Not before he knock off two rivals/'personal demons' which haunted him for a while.

Coach Calipari is known for his ability to take a mid-major school and put it at the front line nation wise.

He did that in the 90s in Amherst with the University Of Massachusetts. He led the Minuteman to the NCAA 6 years in a row. For an Atlantic-10 school it is not an achievement to be taken lightly.

The year of 1996 was the highlight of Caliparis era at UMass. With Marcus Cambi as his leading scorer he led them to the Final Four that year. They met Kentucky at the semi final. Kentucky , coached by his friend and mentor Rick Pitino beat them 81:74 and put an end to Caliparis dreams. For the 90s at least. A demon was created. Not only Pitino sent UMass home. Calipari was not able to bring his ball club to the same level ever again before his departure towards the end of the millennium.

Twelve years later, Calipari have led the University of Memphis to an amazing season. 2007-2008 was not an easy schedule for the Tigers. The regular season championship and the Conference USA tournament were in doubt for a moment. The national stage and how good they can be that was the question. They played and won Gonzaga , Arizona , Oklahoma , UConn. It was clear that they are being prepared to the big stage.

And that year they got to the big stage.

That year Coach Calipari challenged history and tradition. Calipari and his stars Derek Rose, Dozier and Douglas-Roberts shut down UCLA and sent them home.
At the National Championship Calipari have met a new demon which will haunt him for the next 4 year. Bill Selfs Kansas .

They ran shoulder to shoulder for 36 minutes. 2:12 Memphis was up 51:60. Kansas got on a run. 9 seconds to go Kansas tied the game at 63. the ball is at Memphis' hand. Coach Calipari did not take a timeout. Robert Dozier did not convert his desperate 3 point shot and the game went to overtime. From that point and on, Kansas never looked back.

So few years went by, Calipari got the fancy but very demanding job at Kentucky and he was up to the challenge.

Last year he got the to the Final Four but was stopped there again.
This year, how symbolic, he had to face both of his demons on his way to his first National Championship.
In both game it was all about Kentucky .
As Coach himself said before the semi final: I am not worried about Louisville . We know how good they are. They are playing right now as well as anybody in the country. It is us I am worried about.
And he was right. Once they were able their game style neither team could force them differently.
Louisville hang to them and the semis. But they just didnt have enough to close the deal.
That was revenge number one, and Rick Pitino was not shy sharing his thought about his in state rival saying how proud he is in his players that made it that far and also wished his opponent good luck, I hope they will bring the championship back to the state of Kentucky.

At the Final John Calipari could feel like in a deja vu.

A great start by his team. Kansas catching up in the second half.

Up only 62:57 with 1:37 to go.

This time around his players made the free throws in the money time and secured the win.

Big smiles a lot of hugs and a huge relief. Now coach Calipari got rid of these demons and most likely will never be asked again about that time out in his first final which he should or should not take.   



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