Kentucky head coach John Calipari stated during his postgame press conference yesterday that Indiana Hoosiers coach Tom Crean should be named Coach of the Year for the 2015-16 season.
Calipari cited Indiana losing star wing James Blackmon to season-ending knee surgery in January and going on to win the Big Ten regular season title despite that as the reason why Crean should win the award. Oddly enough, the No. 4 Wildcats face the No. 5 Hoosiers tomorrow for a spot in the Sweet Sixteen.
Granted, some of Calipari’s words may have just been him playing politics and showing a rival their due respect, but consider Indiana basketball for the past couple of seasons. After entering the 2013 NCAA Tournament as a major national championship contender, only to lose in the Sweet Sixteen and then lose players to the NBA, Indiana did not make the tournament at all in 2014 and earned a bid last year by the skin of its teeth. This year, just when it looked like another lost season would be in the books and Crean’s seat would get hot, the Hoosiers rallied together and are now in a deep run conversation.
And as a coach, John Calipari has seen it all. he has won championships, been to the Final Four, lost players, the list goes on.
Long story short, he has gone through everything in his entire career what Tom Crean has in the past couple of years. Though his words were oddly timed with Kentucky and Indiana set to play each other tomorrow, he definitely has a great deal of respect for Crean regardless.
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*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports