I just returned to the Nike Hoop Summit team hotel after dinner with some of the crew from tonight's broadcast, and guess who I see working his recruiting magic near the lobby. That's right, John Calipari.
As I mentioned earlier, Coach Cal and other coaches were not allowed to attend tonight's game between Team USA and the World Team, but he was allowed to contact the players after the game away from the arena. A stupid rule in my opinion, but nonetheless, Cal was there doing what he does best. One would assume that he left a great impression, if only because he was first. I didn't see any other top level coaches at the hotel waiting to talk to these kids shortly before midnight.
The two players hearing Calipari's latest pitch were, of course, John Wall and Xavier Henry. Not only are they two of the top five players in the country, they were also the only players on the USA Junior National Select Team that have yet to announce where they would be attending school next fall. Both players confirmed to me during the game, however, that Kentucky was definitely a leading contender on their respective short lists.
Coincidentally, Wall and Henry were the two brightest stars for Team USA despite its 97-89 loss to the World Team. The X-Man led all U.S. scorers with 22 points, including 6-of-11 shooting from 3-point range, which tied the U.S. Hoop Summit individual record for both 3-point makes and attempts. While Wall finished with 13 points, a U.S. Hoop Summit record 11 assists and tied the steals mark with five.
UK fans can only hope Calipari's recruiting magic works on these two future NBA standouts.