Arkansas coach John Calipari quicky earns fans’ praise up-close

Arkansas coach John Calipari’s introduction to the masses, to the rank-and-file of the state began Tuesday as the basketball head man was on the road for the school’s typical spring get-to-ya.

Calipari, just about a month into the job, is already playing the greatest hits. He made jokes about the low number of players on his first roster and shared the story of how he landed at Arkansas. The tales made sense considering it’s that sort of congenial personality that has made him beloved everywhere he has coached.

Arkansas fans have quickly warmed, too, even though he was persona non grata during his time at Kentucky. But his success at Kentucky – plus his success at Memphis and UMass before that – also make him the sort of hire that satiates a desire for Razorbacks Nation to consider itself one of the big boys.

Only seven players are on the Arkansas roster as of early Wednesday morning. An eighth is likely by the weekend in Kentucky transfer DJ Wagner, whose father also played for Calipari at Memphis. The coach was quick to say that even though the seven he currently has are dynamite, depth is required.

“I’m coaching everybody. I don’t just coach the guys that are starting, I’m coaching them all,” he said. “Basically, I’m preparing them and putting my soul and everything for another guy to coach them. … Well, how about I just focus on my eight or nine and let me do that?”

Story originally appeared on Razorbacks Wire