New York Knicks: John Calipari is latest outside face to attend practice


Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari visited the New York Knicks at practice Thursday, helping David Fizdale and co.

The New York Knicks continue to welcome outside faces into their practice facility; this was the case in 2018-19, but, so far, they had team legend Bernard King in town to help the younger players.

David Fizdale began this to help the Knicks connect with not only big names from the organization but top basketball faces. Ben Wallace, one of the top defensive centers of the 2000s, helped New York’s big men at Thursday’s practice.

However, Fizdale also had one of college basketball’s most successful coaches in town: Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari.

Per the New York Post‘s Peter Botte, Fizdale said he invited Calipari to training camp, but when the 2012 NCAA champion was not able to attend, he made sure to still join them at least once, before the regular season in less than two weeks:

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"“I’m taking advantage of that. We don’t have him here for long. But to have a guy like that with that kind of brain and understanding of the game, it’s good to talk ideas with,” coach David Fizdale said. “[Calipari has] very good knowledge of two of our players. We invited him to camp and he couldn’t make it to camp, but he said, don’t you worry, I’m going to come visit you guys when I come to New York. Sure enough, he lived up to his word.”"

The Knicks have a Kentucky-influenced roster, with Kevin Knox and Julius Randle as former disciples of Calipari. Randle’s 2014 team made the NCAA Championship Game, before he went to the NBA as a lottery pick, as one of many players from Lexington, KY to hear his name called early at the draft.

Randle, after practice, said he learned “accountability” from Calipari:

"“One of the bigger things is accountability. I think that’s helped me not only in the NBA, but in life as well. Just be accountable for my actions, what I go out there and do. The results that you want you’re responsible for. You can’t put that on anybody else. You got to go out there and be accountable. That’s one of the bigger things I learned.”"

Calipari has brought his coaching skills to the table for 10 years at Kentucky, and he will enter his 11th season later this fall. Through this time he is 305-71, missing the NCAA Tournament just once (2012-13). Otherwise, seven of those seasons have finished with single-digit losses.

Anything the Knicks can learn from some of this presence is a positive, whether the players, the coaching staff or the executives. Outside influences can help shape this team, especially after the year-long problems of 2018-19.

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Calipari is not the first different face to attend practice, and he will not be the last one to attend, either. Who will join the New York Knicks next?