BOZICH | Calipari's Way Works -- So Does Bo Ryan's Four-and-Done - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Calipari's Way Works -- So Does Bo Ryan's Four-and-Done

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Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan has never had a one-and-done player in Madison. Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan has never had a one-and-done player in Madison.

ARLINGTON, Texas (WDRB) – John Calipari's system works.

Call him the master of the one-and-done universe. Recognize him for handling the tricky task of blending overwhelming talent and ego against a background super-sized Bluegrass expectations.

Crinkle your nose because you'd prefer a more traditional college approach. Calipari is used to that. Considers it motivation.

There's room for every reaction to how Calipari has done his job at the University of Kentucky.  Just don't forget to say that it works in March and April.

Calipari will make his third Final Four appearance in five seasons when UK plays Wisconsin Saturday night at AT&T Stadium. During that five-year stretch, only Rick Pitino of Louisville and Brad Stevens of Butler have been to this stage of the tournament even twice.

Others – raise your hands, Mike Krzyzewski and Tom Izzo – have failed to do it more than once.

Elite Eights? Credit Cal with four, the same number as Florida's Billy Donovan. Nobody else has more than two.

Convinced? You should be. The way Calipari does it works, despite what happened last season.

But other systems work, too. That's the attraction of this NCAA Tournament. There's not simply one way to do it. It's more than a copycat business.

Donovan is here with Florida. Donovan has coached one-and-done players at Florida, too. But only two – Brad Beal and Donnell Harvey – while winning two national titles during his run in Gainesville.

Kevin Ollie is here with Connecticut. That's the program where Jim Calhoun won three national titles. The Huskies have rolled with one-and-dones.

But most guys do it the way Bo Ryan does it. They don't have a choice.

No one-and-dones. Heck, no two-and-dones. Devin Harris was a three-and-done guy. Alando Tucker, the best scorer Ryan has coached, played parts of five seasons for the Badgers.

"Here's all I've got to say to Cal," Ryan said. "When somebody asks me about one-and-done, all I remember is when Mom would give me a pork chop or piece of meatloaf and I would ask for another piece and she would say, ‘No, one and done.' "

Ryan's way works, too. Ryan's way is the Ryan has advanced to the NCAA Tournament 13 times in 13 years at a program that had made the tournament seven times in 60 years.

It's not like Ryan took the keys from John Wooden or Dean Smith. It's not like guys from New York City, Dallas and Indianapolis are racing to play in Madison.

If you're looking for the cleanest snapshot of the difference between Calipari's approach and the way Ryan does it, these numbers handle it well:

Kentucky will start five freshmen against the Badgers. Wisconsin will not start any. Three Wisconsin starters averaged less than 8 minutes and 2 points when they were freshmen playing for Ryan.

That trio includes Frank Kaminsky. He is Wisconsin's leading scorer, a junior contributing nearly 14 points per game. As a freshman, Kaminsky played 7.7 minutes and averaged 1.8 points.

Point guard Traevon Jackson is the son of former NBA all-star Jimmy Jackson. Didn't matter. As a Wisconsin freshman, Jackson averaged less than 6 minutes and 1.1 points.

Then there is Ben Brust. He has made 232 three-point shots, more than anybody who has ever played at Wisconsin. Guess how many threes Brust made as a freshman?


He played 3 minutes per game, averaging 0.7 points and 0.1 assists.

Jon Hood had better numbers than Brust as a Kentucky freshman.

I asked Brust if he simply wasn't good enough to play or if Ryan advises freshmen how little they'll contribute before they arrive at Wisconsin.

"There's always an opportunity," Brust said. "I knew there was an opportunity there. I just had some learning to do and some growing up to do …

"I think that experience really helped me grow as a person and as a player. Led me to where I am today."

Where Ben Brust is today is preparing for an NCAA Final Four game against Kentucky. John Calipari's way works. But so does Bo Ryan's.

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