Kentucky coach John Calipari has certainly heard the rumors before that he might leave the college ranks to return to the NBA, and he's a veteran at downplaying that kind of talk.
The instant success he's found at Kentucky gets his name bandied about as a possible coaching candidate for the pro ranks, but it's in Lexington where there is an adoring fan base and a top recruiting class coming to town. He's used to receiving the compliment of having his name out there, but also claims there could be sinister forces at work.
From the Louisville Courier-Journal:
"Now it’s only pro jobs," Calipari said. "Part of it is to try to screw up your recruiting. I laughed when the newest rumors came out. I said, 'You’re not going to screw up our recruiting; we’ve already got the kids signed.'"
As for moving on to the NBA: "I’ve got a great job. I’ve got one of the best in our sport. I can’t stop the rumors; I just don’t deal with them.
That's not exactly denial, but Calipari is right to laugh it all off because he wins either way. If a better job in the league comes along, great. If not, elite recruits continue to want to play for him at UK, where he has begun his tenure with appearances in the Elite Eight and this season in the Final Four.
Even if Calipari again loses many players to the NBA draft this offseason, he'll have the nation's top recruiting class with Anthony Davis, Michael Gilchrist, Marquis Teague and Kyle Wiltjer coming into the program. They all signed in November, with the Chicago native Davis being named ESPNU's top overall recruit.
So at this point, whatever the NBA can offer Calipari, it's all good on his end.