Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker (1) gives Kentucky college basketball coach John Calipari, right, a hug prior to an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Thursday, March 30, 2017, in Phoenix. Suns' Booker played for Calipari at Kentucky. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Kentucky coach John Calipari concedes that watching his complexities and past revealed along with his triumphs in an ESPN documentary was difficult.
"It is what it is," the Hall of Fame coach said after Monday night's screening of the 30 For 30 film "One and Not Done," which premiers Thursday night on the cable network. "All I can say is we haven't changed from day one and won't change about these kids and how we do this. They've brought joy to you, to me and my family and we're just going to continue."
Jonathan Hock directed the 102-minute film that examines Calipari's background and how he built UMass and Memphis into national championship contenders before finally winning the NCAA title with Kentucky in 2012. The documentary chronicles Calipari's success at Memphis and Kentucky with talented freshmen, the so-called "one and dones" who have eventually left for the NBA after one season.
His enduring relationships with a long list of stars, from Marcus Camby at Massachusetts to Derrick Rose at Memphis and John Wall and Anthony Davis with the Wildcats are also explored.
"Players first is not just a mantra, he really lives it," Hock said of Calipari in a phone interview.
Hock also looks at controversial chapters of Calipari's career, such as the recruiting scandals at Memphis and Massachusetts. The coach wasn't cited in either case, but the NCAA vacated Final Four appearances and wins at both schools.
Calipari addressed those issues along with his brief stint as coach of the NBA's New Jersey Nets, giving Hock access to his successful Kentucky program and opening up in a way that allowed the director to show many sides of the coach _ warts and all.
"What stood out to me was not just his success or with the one-and-dones, but how complicated he is," Hock said. "He's driven, but compassionate. One brush isn't enough with Calipari."