Kentucky basketball legends can't even agree on John Calipari's fate

Kentucky legends Rajon Rondo and Demarcus Cousins couldn't agree on John Calipari's coaching future.

Kentucky Wildcats v Connecticut Huskies
Kentucky Wildcats v Connecticut Huskies / Benjamin Solomon/GettyImages

The Kentucky Wildcats have yet to formally decide on John Calipari's future. Coach Cal did his best to persuade Big Blue Nation to accept at least one more year under his tenure. Athletic director Mitch Barnhart is expected to meet with Calipari on Tuesday, and it would be a surprise if Cal is fired given the direction of the program.

Yes, Calipari has lost in back-to-back postseasons to Saint Peter's and Oakland. That is unheard of around Lexington, with Kentucky perhaps the bluest of Blue Bloods.

Still, the Wildcats would risk losing their No. 2-ranked recruiting class as well as several players on their current roster to the transfer portal should Calipari leave. 2024 could be a tough year for his replacement, and Kentucky fans are not known to be patient.

On his radio show, Calipari did not take questions, but also admitted he hasn't coached up to his own standard the last few years. Calipari suggested an altered approach, focusing more heavily on the transfer portal, developing veteran players and roster turnover. It's a good vision if he can accomplish it.

Kentucky legends not sold on John Calipari's future

Demarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo -- both of whom went to Kentucky under different coaching staffs -- have opposing views on Calipari's future. Rondo, who was a player in the Tubby Smith regime, thinks the Kentucky brand is big enough to survive Calipari's departure.

“Don’t give me enough. It’s been over a decade,” Rondo said. “It’s about what have you done for me lately. … It’s the University of Kentucky, Cuz. Don’t disrespect the University of Kentucky. It’s been one of the greatest colleges of all-time way before Cal got there. He didn’t just come there and accept the standard that it’s winning basketball now. They have been that.”

Cousins argument that Calipari should stay was predicated on Cal having won a Championship in Lexington.

“I don’t understand how we get to the point where our next-best option is to replace this coach,” Cousins said. “That doesn’t even make sense to me. With what? … Everything Calipari brings to a program is going to go down if they replace this guy. Everything is going down.”

To Cousins point, replacing Calipari won't happen overnight. The rebuild will be intense, and have fans daydreaming of the mid-2000's title contenders. Banking on Calipari to lead Kentucky back to glory also seems like a stretch, however.

The answer is likely somewhere in between, and that's not good enough information to help Barnhart make the right call. For now, this is just another bar room debate.