Kentucky basketball and Alabama football are two of the most tradition rich programs in the country in their respective sports. Both teams entered their season the defending champions, lost a large chunk of their starting roster to the NFL and NBA drafts, and went out and locked up some of the top players in the country during recruiting season.
Earlier in the year, down at SEC media days, Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari couldn't pass up the opportunity to pick Nick Saban's mind when it came to recruiting, and Cal left the conversation with some valuable advice on staying ahead of the pack, as Rant Sports points out.
“When I met with Coach Saban at the SEC meetings I wanted to know, ‘When you won it in 2009, you guys kind of faltered a little bit. Now that you won it in 2011, tell me exactly what you thought you learned,” Cal asked.
“He gave me some great insight in what he saw and how things had changed and what he would guard against. One of the things was he started right away on the next season. He didn’t wait. He gave me some good things, like we’re not trying to defend a national title. That one is in the bank, that one is on the shelf. We’re trying to become the best team this team can be.”
Cal added that after his conversation with Saban he realized that he needed to adjust his own thinking in order to hit the recruiting trail with the same frame of mind as Saban.
“If you recruit a kid and you’re promising him the world, how in the world are you going to coach him in that short a period of time to do that? You can’t. You have to say, ‘This is Alabama.’ Without me being in the home with those kind of kids you have to say, ‘Look you have a chance, I’m not promising you but look who we have. Do you understand how hard it’s going to be? Do you understand what it means? Are you up for that challenge?’ It’s the same thing here. It’s all similar.”
This would have been a great conversation to have been a fly on the wall. Two coaches at the pinnacle of their professions bouncing ideas off one another, hungry to find an edge on getting better. Great stuff.