Kentucky Blog - College

CBSSports.com continued their coaches' poll on a variety of subjects, and Thursday's tackled the perceived influence of William Wesley -- aka World Wide Wes -- which meant John Calipari's name (inevitably) came up as a result.

The poll results to the question: Is William Wesley a factor in recruiting or is his perceived presence overblown? Out of nearly 100 coaches:

-- 63 percent voted "factor"

-- 37 percent voted "overblown"

And, of course, the natural extension of this question will be: how much does it help John Calipari?

A few anonymous quotes from different coaches cover the spectrum.

-- "I think he's a factor. He has unlimited access to kids and coaches -- and clearly makes it no secret of his allegiance to John Calipari."

-- "Some people think he helps Cal with every kid, but I don't think that's true. He's involved. He has influence. He uses it. So he's a factor. But he's probably not a big factor with every kid ... at least I don't think he is."

A strong connection between Calipari and Wesley is often made when discussing Wesley's ability to funnel players to schools and, eventually, agents. But of the 15 players who played under Calipari the last three years, only two -- Eric Bledsoe and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who has family connections to Wesley -- signed with Leon Rose, Wesley's long-time friend.

It's enough to make Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Eisenberg skeptical of the Calipari-Wes connection, and CBSSports.com's Jeff Goodman had a piece in 2010 saying that Wes' perceived influenced was overblown and manufactured.

Goodman concludes this article with a nuanced take that falls in the middle ground. "But William Wesley as the most powerful man in sports -- or even in basketball? I'm not buying that," Goodman writes, "but Uncle Wes still has some pop."

He continued with his take on Twitter, saying that he doesn't think Wes "wields much power for Calipari these days. Honestly, Calipari/UK don't really need much help." But, he does say Wes "was far more involved when Calipari first arrived in Lexington -- and helped Cal more back in his days at Memphis."

The variety of responses to the question from coaches shows that it's not an easily definable question (how much influence does one have to wield to be considered a "factor" in recruiting?) and not a clear-cut answer. To some, World Wide Wes is a major player in the game. To others, he's on the periphery, present but not controlling.

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