Hog wild for Calipari

Arkansas opens the John Calipari era with a rousing intro. Now he's gotta rebuild the roster. Also, the latest with Kentucky's search, Marquette loses two to the NBA, latest transfer news and the best transfer fits thus far.

Zach Edey made a full sweep of the national POY awards, accepting the Wooden Award. He joins Ralph Sampson as the only players to win the award in back-to-back years. Not bad for the big fella.

Let's get to rest of Wednesday’s news.

1. Arkansas officially opens the John Calipari era

Arkansas won the press conference, as they say. Is anyone surprised, though? John Calipari always thrives in front of a microphone.

Still, it was quite the sight to see on Wednesday when Calipari was introduced as the 15th coach in school history. The former Kentucky coach gave a nod to the program he left, but also placed his new school among the elite.

"Kentucky is the bluest of blue," Calipari said. "There's only a few schools like that, and I hate to tell you ... Arkansas is one of them."

Also wild? John Tyson, the CEO of Tyson Foods, also got a big applause.

Calipari said he’s going to focus on building a culture similar to what legendary Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson did during his tenure. “If you’re not into basketball, you won’t come here,” he said. “This is about being at a place that’s zeroed in on a culture that creates professional habits, and that includes academically… you can care about the kids and still win.”

That likely means a mix of high school prospects and more experienced players from the transfer portal. Considering Arkansas has 13 open scholarships, he’s got plenty of work to do.

Winning the room is one thing. Winning games is what really matters. Arkansas coming off a 16-17 season is the best thing to happen for Calipari. There’ll be pressure — Musselman did reach two Elite Eights and a Sweet 16 during his five-year tenure — but more regular-season success should be immediately attainable.

The good thing? Calipari had a team meeting with the current Arkansas roster earlier on Wednesday. The bad thing? Only three players participated in the meeting, and all three are in the portal. Cal had some jokes about it, too.

Perhaps Cal will bring some of his previously signed Kentucky players with him. So far, three of the six players in UK’s recruiting class have asked to be let out from their National letter of intent.

  • Jayden Quaintance, he No. 8 ranked recruit in the 2024 class

  • Karter Knox, the younger brother of former Kentucky wing Kevin Knox

  • Big man Somto Cyril

We’ll see what happens with Boogie Fland, Billy Richmond and Travis Perry, the three Kentucky commits who haven’t left yet.

2. The latest on Calipari’s Kentucky replacement

After reportedly being turned down by Jay Wright, Nate Oats and Dan Hurley, Kentucky’s focused on one guy: Baylor coach Scott Drew.

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