Newly renovated Wildcat Coal Lodge (screen shot via CoachCal.com)
If John Calipari loses a recruit to a fellow college basketball juggernaut, it certainly won't be because living conditions at Kentucky were inadequate.
Calipari posted a video on his website Monday giving viewers an MTV Cribs-style tour of Kentucky's newly renovated Wildcat Coal Lodge, which will house the basketball team beginning this school year.
The $7 million privately funded dormitory is located directly adjacent to Kentucky's practice facility and athletic tutoring facility for maximum convenience. It features everything from a private chef, to plush lounges, to spacious dorm rooms designed with a 7-footer in mind.
Why would this be in compliance with NCAA rules when athletic dormitories typically are not allowed? Well, as Kentucky is careful to note, non-student athletes will also live in the building. NCAA rules indicate at least 50 percent of the residents of every wing or floor of a dorm have to be non-student-athletes for it to be permissible.
Whoever the lucky everyday students are who live in the lodge, it's safe to say they won the housing lottery at Kentucky. Here's a look at some of the extravagant amenities Calipari showcased that are sure to entice potential recruits and dismay opposing coaches.
1. ITINERARY FLAT SCREENS: Kentucky players will have no excuse for being late to anything from now on. Flat screens scattered throughout the lodge display individual players' schedules for practices, classes and weight lifting and conditioning. If everyone had one of those in their homes, the company that makes Post-it notes would go out of business.
2. PLUSH SEATS: The lounge at the lodge features about a dozen leather recliners situated around a giant flat-screen TV. Why recliners? "They don't sit on couches anymore or chairs," Calipari explains. "They want to be on recliners."
3. POOL, ANYONE? Among the items in the lounge is a blue felt pool table matching the various Kentucky basketball murals and championship banners hanging from the walls. Interestingly, Kentucky did not put its school logo on the cue ball the way Oklahoma State did in its practice facility. You're falling behind the competition, Wildcats.
4. WHAT A FIRST IMPRESSION: The first thing any future recruit sees upon entering the lodge is a display case that holds Kentucky's eight national championship trophies. And, as Calipari points out above, there's a blank space at the end for No. 9. Hint, hint guys. Expectations are high in Lexington.
5. ATTENTION TO DETAIL: Proof that Kentucky thought of just about everything: Sinks designed with a center in mind. "For me to wash my hands on this sink, the sink is kind of high," says Calipari, standing in front of the sink in 6-foot-8 Kyle Wiltjer's dorm room. "But everything in here is for 7-footers. We want to make sure a 7-footer is comfortable."
6. A PRIVATE CHEF: Head chef Chris Cain explained to Calipari that Kentucky players who want a grilled cheese sandwich, burger or cheese steak can make a special order and their meals will be done in minutes. Hopefully Cain mixes in a few salads and grilled chicken sandwiches too or the Wildcats are going to have to do extra conditioning to burn those calories.
7. SUBTLE REMINDERS: In case current players or future recruits somehow missed the murals featuring Anthony Davis, John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins in the lounge, the dorm hallway features another reminder of Calipari's proclivity for producing NBA talent. The wall features a list of Wildcats drafted by NBA teams and photos of former Kentucky players currently in the NBA.
8. SINGLE ROOMS: The dorm room above is Kyle Wiltjer's. It's not lavish or enormous, but it's all his except for the bathroom he shares with a teammate in an adjoining room. For those of us who still have nightmares about sharing a shoe box-sized room with two other people freshman year of college, that's a pretty good perk too.
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