Busting Brackets

John Calipari continues to build up Arkansas Basketball for a postseason run next year

Successful coaches are successful because they are good at what they do and John Calipari is nothing but a prolific recruiter. After leaving his familiar haunt at the University of Kentucky rather suddenly after an early exit in the NCAA men's tournament, Coach Cal has been quite busy at work building up the foundations of what very well could be another budding men's basketball dynasty at the University of Arkansas. While it may seem strange that Calipari chose to stay within the SEC, the gap left by Eric Musselman after his exit to the west coast may have been entirely too enticing to pass up for a veteran college hoops coach. After all, when one window is about to close, go an open another window for some fresh air.
University of Arkansas Introduces John Calipari
University of Arkansas Introduces John Calipari / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages

It may sound like a broken record at this point, but John Calipari has made much of his coaching career around his ability to recruit like nobody else. The name of the game is not just about X's and O's but getting those players to fill the roster each season is becoming more and more daunting as the modern college basketball game evolves. Every coach has to be an astute salesperson and be ready to win over not only potential recruits with an enticing song and dance but win over family members as well and in this aspect, John Calipari has little competition within the coaching profession. Yes, there are always issues and controversies swirling around his name but Coach Cal each season seems to get the job done and stay competitive.

That, of course, was the University of Kentucky and now Calipari finds himself putting away the royal Wildcat blue and white for a much less familiar Arkansas Razorback red. It's not as though the University of Arkansas doesn't have any basketball traditions; after all, this program does have a national championship (1994) and many deep March Madness runs under its belt. However, the perception in collegiate athletics is that Arkansas is a football school first and foremost with baseball probably coming in second place. Basketball has been relegated at times to be little more than an afterthought despite having a great deal of success on the court in recent years.

Enter John Calipari and the magic of recruiting. Where Coach Cal goes, many young basketball players still will flock to his doors and this upcoming season will be no different. Calipari has already built up both a nucleus of incoming freshmen and a recruiting coup by bringing in top star high school players in Karter Knox, Boogie Fland and Billy Richmond. While Calipari has made much of his career around convincing young freshmen to join his programs, the reality of the NCAA transfer portal and the veteran talent that permeates from this system has become one of Coach Cal's new friends. Arkansas recently added University of Tennesse center Jonas Aidoo to its roster for next season as Aidoo is fresh coming off of an Elite Eight run with the Volunteers.

John Calipari can add another recruiting feather to his coaching hat with the commitment of Florida Atlantic guard Johnell Davis to come join the basketball rebuilding movement in Fayetteville. Although Davis has declared himself for the NBA draft, there are reports that the University of Arkansas has offered a very enticing NIL deal for Davis in order to win over one of the top players in the transfer portal. Combined with bringing over Kentucky big man Zvonimir Ivisic as a transfer, a potential roster built around Aidoo and Davis, along with top incoming freshmen talent means that Arkansas and John Calipari may well pose a threat in the SEC next season.

Next. Teams who survived transfer portal. Teams who survived transfer portal. dark

At any rate, it's about to get real in this conference as redemption for a dismal NCAA tournament performance is the first order of things and John Calipari may be working on a recipe to change the basketball fortunes at Arkansas this upcoming season.