Basketball Recruiting - Fact or Fiction: Coach K was out of line in presser
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Fact or Fiction: Coach K was out of line in presser

With the basketball season in full swing and recruiting news starting to heat up, Rivals national recruiting analysts Rob Cassidy and Dan McDonald tackle three of college basketball’s hottest topics and debate whether each statement is true or false. Below, they discuss Mike Krzyzewski’s dust-up with a student reporter, Maryland’s NCAA Tournament chances and what Kentucky’s disasterous season means for the future.


More Fact or Fiction: NCAA tourney will go off without a hitch

2021 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2022 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2023 Rankings: Top 30


1. Coach K was out of line for chastising a student reporter after a loss 

Mike Krzyzewski
Mike Krzyzewski (AP Images)

Cassidy's take: FICTION. Let me start by saying there was absolutely nothing wrong with the student reporter's question about the future. It was fair and pertinent to the situation. But speaking as somebody who has been berated by a coach or two in post-game pressers, I was a little surprised Krzyzewski’s reaction caused such a stir.

There are far bigger bullies in the profession, and the response in question seemed mild in comparison. The student later said Coach K called to apologize for getting testy, and that’s that. I know saying this is a non-story as I spend time writing about it makes me a hypocrite, but aren’t we all?

McDonald's take: FACT. If you’re going to assume the role of being one of the top voices of college basketball like Coach K has on a variety of topics, and he absolutely deserves to be one, then you have to be better than going after a student reporter in this situation. I don’t think it’s a terrible offense, but he was definitely in the wrong here. I get the emotions of being ticked off after a loss, but why not just answer the question with some coaching cliché? That would have been a pretty easy way out here.


2. This dreadful season will hurt Kentucky on the recruiting trail 

John Calipari
John Calipari (AP Images)

Cassidy's take: FICTION. John Calipari’s legacy and reputation are bigger than one awful season. The guy is synonymous with putting elite players in the NBA and that’s not gonna change anytime soon. Recruiting is based on perception, and I refuse to believe that this year, dreadful as it has been, is going to change the perception of Calipari of his NBA factory program. UK will still be in play for elite recruits year after year.

McDonald's take: FICTION. Calipari has built up enough equity both winning on the court and putting star players in the NBA that this year will not negatively impact his program one bit. I’d bet on Kentucky being back towards the top of the SEC next year and competing deep into the NCAA Tournament as has been the case more often than not in his tenure in Lexington.

We’ve seen this story before. In 2012-13, Kentucky had a very similar season to this one. They went to the national championship the following year and went 38-1 the year after that. I’m not saying that’s what will happen again, but Kentucky will bounce back quickly.


3. Maryland will make the NCAA Tournament 

Eric Ayala
Eric Ayala (AP Images)

Cassidy's take: FICTION. I’m gonna say they’ll miss out, but I’m not going to say it confidently. This is one of more erratic teams in recent memory and has the talent to start rattling off critical victories. For now, however, Maryland is simply a team flirting with a .500 record and sitting at 3-7 in conference play. An offensive efficiency rating that ranks in the mid-70s is also alarming.

I also wonder if the selection committee will have some (possibly misplaced) sympathy for mid-majors that performed well in conference, but were deprived of the opportunity to collect quality non-conference wins because of COVID-19. If that’s the case, it will hurt teams like the Terps to no end. The question is if Maryland will make the tournament. Not if it deserves to make the tournament . The two conversations are very different.

McDonald's take: FACT. Terps fans will certainly have to sweat it out until Selection Sunday, but they will be on the right side of the bubble. Playing in the Big Ten gives them a chance to collect quality wins almost every time out. If the “eye test” becomes more of a factor this year with so many variables at play this season, that benefits Maryland too. In the few times I’ve watched them this year, they look the part of a team that should be in the NCAA Tournament.