Larry Vaught Weekly: Brad Calipari’s Coaching Aspirations

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Larry Vaught Weekly: Brad Calipari’s Coaching Aspirations

Photo: UK Athletics

Brad Calipari knows it will be different playing for his father at Kentucky,

but he also knows that will help him reach his goal of becoming a coach one day.

By: Larry Vaught
Photo: UK Athletics

Photo: UK Athletics

Having his son on the team could guarantee that Kentucky coach John Calipari will be at Kentucky the next four or five years. Or at least that is what Calipari recently told ESPN.

Brad Calipari is a freshman walk-on at UK and is excited about the opportunity to be part of the program he has become so enamored with since his father left Memphis for Lexington in 2009.

However, he has no idea what this year will be like basketball-wise.

“Dad has never coached me. I don’t know how it will be,” said Brad Calipari. “I don’t think it will be too different. We will have an opportunity to be together in team settings. I’m glad I will get to experience that.”

After playing at MacDuffie School, a Massachusetts prep school, to improve his skills after starting his high school career at Lexington Christian Academy, he had choices of where to play his college basketball. He knew the pressure and scrutiny he would face playing for his father, but he also understood what the program was all about.

“It came down to couple of schools but at the end of the day it came down to my relationship with the players and coaches here. I will be going against NBA guys every day,” Brad Calipari said.

He seemed to always be with DeMarcus Cousins during his father’s first year at UK. Sometimes the coach indicated the two had about the same mindsets off the court to motivate the playful Cousins.

But it is Karl-Anthony Towns that Brad Calipari says he is closest to among his father’s former UK players.

“We met about my eighth-grade year. From the first day me and him just kind of clicked,” Brad Calipari said. “We just always had that brotherly bond to where we can talk about a lot of things. He is great. Very funny, very down to earth.”

The Kentucky coach likes the way his son worked out on his own during the summer. He can shoot and John Calipari says if he does not turn the ball over, he can possibly play when the Cats are up by substantial margins like other walk-on players often do.

The UK coach  jokes that his wife, Ellen, thinks her son is going to play more than that and says she “is out of her mind” when it comes to her son.

“Mom and Dad have both had a big influence on me. She obviously knows a lot less about basketball. But I am a mama’s boy. She has helped me a lot,” Brad Calipari said.

The coach’s son also has one other reason for being at UK — he hopes to one day be a coach himself. His father is now a Hall of Fame coach — “I could not be more proud of him and that’s part of what makes this such a great opportunity to play for him,” Brad Calipari said — and has agreed to help him pursue his goal just like he would any other player.

“I have always wanted to coach. Probably more college than the NBA,” Brad Calipari said. “It runs in my blood. I’m not sure what kind of coach I would be. Probably like him (his father).”

John Calipari will encourage his son to study what the UK coaches do, pay attention to video work and get a full grasp of what is involved in coaching during his years at UK.

Brad Calipari wants no preferential treatment, and knows he won’t get any. He also sees no potential problems with teammates because his father is the head coach.

“They don’t look at me any differently. They treat me just as well as anybody,” Brad Calipari said.

Why not? He says the biggest perk of being at UK is that he can get into the gym whenever he wants to shoot. “Instead of going to parties, I can go to the gym,” Brad Calipari said.

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