LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky coach John Calipari revealed this week an interaction in what is likely to be the final recruiting pursuit of the Class of 2017.
On his latest podcast with guest Anthony Davis, Calipari said, “I just had a kid walk me around in the projects in Harlem thinking I would be intimidated.”
Mohamed Bamba, the No. 2 player in the 2017 class, is from Harlem. NCAA rules prohibit college coaches from mentioning specific names when discussing recruits.
It is unclear when Calipari and Davis recorded the interview together, but Calipari tweeted a photo with former President Bill Clinton from Harlem May 9.
The conversation that led to the Harlem reference started because of a similar experience Calipari had in the recruitment of Davis, who grew up in Englewood, a neighborhood on the south side of Chicago.
“Nobody ever comes to Englewood,” Davis said. “When they were like Coach Cal is coming, everybody in my family wanted to see Coach Cal.
“My whole neighborhood found out. When you pulled up, my whole neighborhood was outside like, ‘Oh my God, Cal.’”
“You know that’s my element,” Calipari said before mentioning the trip to Harlem. “… The minute (the recruit in Harlem) said look, ‘I want you to walk through the neighborhood I grew up in, I’m like, ‘You don’t even know what you’re doing here.’ They have no idea.”
Davis chose Kentucky and helped the Wildcats to a national title in 2012. Bamba would be the seventh five-star and ninth overall player in Kentucky’s already-ranked No. 1 2017 recruiting class. He will soon decide between Kentucky, Duke, Texas and Michigan.
“It was kind of like a big deal,” Davis said of the Calipari recruiting visit. “Not just for me, but for my family because everybody wants to meet Coach Cal.”