LEXINGTON, Ky. -- John Calipari leans back in the black leather chair jammed into his makeshift office -- a temporary home while his main one in the Joe Craft Center undergoes an overhaul -- and shakes his head after another request from a friend arrives in a text:?Could you call Drake for me?I cant, he says to everyone in the room. I just called Drake, and I called Future for Aaron Harrison.For the past seven years, the games most charismatic figure and pioneer of the one-and-done craze has owned the most powerful phone in college basketball.With one call, he can reach your favorite hip-hop star. In August, he used that phone to call young NBA stars, former Kentucky football standout Jared Lorenzen and other popular figures who have ties to the Lexington area to invite them to play in the inaugural Coach Cal Celebrity Softball Game.The event raised six figures for victims of the summer flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.Throughout Caliparis reign at Kentucky, he has also grabbed his phone to text a fleet of five-star studs who have often replied with some variation of Im coming to Kentucky, coach.Hes assembled ESPN.coms No. 1 recruiting class five times since 2009. That first one, in 2009, was the year future NBA all-stars John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins arrived. The Wildcats boast the top incoming class this season, too. In two of the past three years, however, Dukes Mike Krzyzewskis haul of talent topped Kentuckys.Were in competition, Calipari said. Were competing. Not really for every kid. There are kids I think should go to Duke that should not come here. Im fine with that. I mean there are other kids that theyre the kind of kids that need to come here and do their thing. We get those kids. Weve missed on a few kids to them. But weve missed on a few kids to Kansas, and weve missed on a few kids to Michigan State, and weve missed on a few kids to North Carolina, and weve missed on a few kids to Syracuse. We dont get every kid. Just how it is.And thats the first thing any college basketball fan must understand about this season.Yes, its about Villanovas fight to win back-to-back national championships and Josh Jacksons bid to lead Kansas to its 13th consecutive Big 12 title and Arizonas Sean Millers push for his first trip to the Final Four and UCLAs Steve Alfords job and the NBA prospects who could save it.But everything about college basketball in 2016-17 begins -- and could end -- with the Duke-Kentucky cage match for supremacy on the court and in the eyes of Americas most promising recruits.In the past few weeks, Kentucky has hosted a two-day, NBA-style combine -- the event aired on ESPNU -- for the third consecutive season. But now, for the first time, Duke will launch a pair of Calipari-style sessions -- a source says the school is calling the event a practice in front of NBA scouts and execs -- to give pro power brokers a chance to see the impressive talent on Dukes roster before Krzyzewski blocks NBA folks from subsequent practices in 2016-17.The battle between Duke and Kentucky, however, extends beyond subtle swipes.This is a fight.And Calipari intends to win.But how?By touting Kentucky as the place where all the cool kids -- and future millionaires -- shine throughout their six-month stints in college basketball. Want to face good competition and earn an NBA contract before you finish second semester? Well, come to Kentucky, birthplace of the one-and-done movement.This past Fridays Big Blue Madness season kickoff featured appearances by John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Willie Cauley-Stein and other former Kentucky stars in town for a Rupp Arena exhibition game between the Sacramento Kings and the Washington Wizards. The school reportedly paid Michael Buffer $15,000 to emcee the event, which also included a Welcome to the Family Jumbotron video anchored by 13 former Wildcats who praised the program.According to ESPN.coms Jeff Borzello, Kentucky hosted 10 five-star recruits over the weekend.You come here as a recruit, Wall told CoachCal.com, how can you say no?And thats why Calipari remains optimistic about the future of the program. Not even Duke can match his NBA success rate.Youre not gonna do what we do better than we do it, Calipari said. Even if youre doing what we do, youre not gonna do it better. Im absolutely convinced of that.It took Duke to do it for it to become OKOnce considered the games biggest headache by many, the one-and-done pools potential and persistence lured other coaches to the altar where they gradually converted and began to accept its permanence and the benefits for their respective programs.Krzyzewskis run to the 2015 national championship with a team led by freshmen Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow seemed to stamp the one-and-done markets normalcy and newfound appeal.It took Duke to do it for it to become OK, Calipari said. And thats, everybody knows ... Im not saying it to be nasty or mean. It is what it is. The minute that happened, they said, You know, Coach K adjusted to the times, and it was great.The diversification of the one-and-done culture complicated Caliparis perennial rule over the field. Five-star center Marques Bolden picked Duke over Kentucky this summer. Josh Jackson, the No. 1 recruit in the 2016 class pursued early in the process by Kentucky, chose Kansas. DeAndre Ayton, the No. 1 recruit in the 2017 class, per ESPN.com, recently committed to Arizona.Kentuckys pitch was just the NBA thing, said Hamidou Diallo, ranked 11th in the 2017 class by ESPN.com, during an interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal. Dukes pitch was, if you come to Duke, youre going to be set for life. Its more than just basketball. [John Caliparis] pitch was he gets guys ready for the next level. Look at the numbers -- it shows. Its the best place for you if you want to make it to the NBA. Both pitches are appealing. Its just a hard decision. Ive got a lot of schools recruiting me, a bunch of schools capable of taking me to the NBA.If hes ever felt threatened by this new reality, Calipari would never admit it. This is the same coach who denied that his blog that followed Diallos comments (he wrote hed never promise a recruit hed be set for life if he picked Kentucky) entailed a reaction to Dukes pitch.I do not spend much time worrying about any other program, including Duke or Mike [Krzyzewski] or Rick [Pitino], Calipari said. Im not worried about those guys. This job here ... you cant do it worrying about other guys.But its also clear Calipari has made the advancement and preservation of the Kentucky one-and-done machine his greatest offseason priority. And Duke remains the only adversary capable of getting in the way.This summer, Calipari asked each assistant to create three new ideas to help the Wildcats maintain their spot at the top of the game and the recruiting rankings. He told ESPN.com hes concerned about landmines other schools might use in home visits to hurt Kentuckys chances of luring a prospect.And late last month, he made former analytics guru and special assistant Joel Justus a full-time assistant -- hell replace John Robic -- who will focus on high school freshmen and sophomores, because we became so fixated on trying to replace players each year that we werent touching some of the younger kids and were coming in late.You want to dive right when they think youre diving left, Calipari said.The changes and tweaks could help, not that Kentucky needs much. The Wildcats, led by five-star prospects Malik Monk and DeAaron Fox, will enter this season with a top-three preseason ranking. And Calipari will likely snatch a handful of the top-25 prospects from the 2017 class. Again.Hell woo those youngsters with the same claim he has employed since Wall and Cousins became the first and fifth picks, respectively, in the 2010 NBA draft: No school can offer young prospects a better experience.In Lexington, the one-and-done culture Calipari built is upheld by an entire community that has learned to embrace its favorite, albeit temporary, stars and despise its most impactful rival.I hate Duke, said Lincoln Hendricks, a 32-year-old Kentucky fan and sales executive. Ive got the shirt that says, I still hate Laettner, and I do. I bet we hate Duke more than Duke cares about us. I dont think that were on Dukes radar. I think Duke talks about [North] Carolina quite a bit. But I dont think ... were not relevant [to them], and I think that pisses us off. They ought to hate us because we certainly hate them.Us and themWith one deep shot to center field, Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns won the home run derby at the Coach Cal Celebrity Softball Game at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington.The August event, along with the John Calipari Fantasy Experience ($10,495 registration fee paid by dozens of grown men who wanted the Captains Club Upgrade which included a private workout and meeting with the coach), raised more than $1.5 million for multiple charities in the area and $300,000 for victims of flooding in Baton Rouge.Former Wildcats standouts Nerlens Noel (Philadelphia 76ers), Andrew Harrison (Memphis Grizzlies) and Terrence Jones (New Orleans Pelicans) joined Towns at the event. All three proved they picked the right sport after they botched multiple throws and catches in the outfield during a game viewed by thousands of Kentucky fans who hounded the foursome for pregame autographs and selfies.[The adoration] surprises me sometimes because you hear stories sometimes about fan bases not liking people because they leave early or dont feel like they accomplished a lot, said Towns, the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year. Not even for me, for anybody, whether it be the star player or the last player on the bench, the reception they give you when they step through these streets just shows how great our fan base really is.In all, 21 Kentucky players under Calipari turned pro after their freshman seasons and earned guaranteed money as first-round picks.Together, the four NBA players who participated in the charity game made more than $12 million combined from their respective NBA franchises a season ago. That remains the most pivotal element of Caliparis pitch. The Kentucky mantra encourages young athletes to leave after brief stays in Lexington, excel at the next level and return as heroes with a true bond to the community.Its just fantastic for these fans to really understand the bigger picture of a young athletes life and wanting to go on and fulfill his dream, and them really supporting it and knowing Cals gonna get another five to six real studs to come in, Noel said.Thats the norm now at Kentucky but still rare for most top-25 programs -- schools that fit underneath Caliparis they?umbrella.To Calipari, the word they is not a person or a thing. Its not even tangible most times. But its a powerful word, the pronoun he uses to draw the line between Kentucky and anything that might disrupt its plight.Sometimes, they will encompass the haters who once doubted him. Or the NCAA. Other times, its the kids who would rather play for a school that will give them 30 shots a game and elevate them to BMOC (big man on campus) status the day they arrive.In recent years, he admits, Duke has become his most significant they.Its us and them, Calipari said. And so, it is what it is. Were that team. They believe theyre that team. And we get recruits. They get recruits.One of his advantages over Krzyzewski is the media megaphone following every move he makes in a state that lacks a captivating professional franchise. The nearby Cincinnati Bengals and Reds dont fit that profile most years.I dont read the papers, I dont listen to radio, said Calipari, who has 1.5 million followers on Twitter. I tweet, Facebook, website, but guess what? Do I look at any response? Have I ever looked at a response? I wouldnt know how to get in. So I paint the picture I want. I hope you like it, but if you dont, I dont read about it anyway.The media attention helps Calipari extend the fence around the program and create the notion that Kentucky is always under attack. Its a unifying ploy.He kept everything close, said Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who helped Kentucky win a national title in 2012. Whatever he said, it was always between him and the team.Back in Caliparis office, Marcus Lee -- the same Marcus Lee who transferred to Cal after last season -- enters and embraces his former coach.Hey, Calipari says, gesturing to Eric Lindsey, the schools associate director of media relations. Tweet this: Im sad to see Marcus Lee go, but Ill be rooting for him.Then, Towns arrives and sits down to chat with Calipari. Kidd-Gilchrist poked his head into the room earlier after a workout with assistant Kenny Payne, whom the school will pay $900,000 per year as part of his new contract.Yo, Calipari says to Kidd-Gilchrist, who last year signed a $52 million extension to remain with the Charlotte Hornets. Im here for you if you need me.I know, Kidd-Gilchrist says.And if you change your phone number ... Calipari adds without finishing his sentence.Appreciate you, Kidd-Gilchrist says. I love you, man.Love you, Calipari says.Before Caliparis elite freshmen turn pro, they also go to class. Kentucky has posted a perfect APR score (1000) over the past three years. He provides lifetime scholarships and asks his former players to finish their degrees. Dakari Johnson, who played on the 38-1 squad in 2014-15, has re-enrolled to continue his studies. Brandon Knight will do the same soon, Calipari said.Through the school, the community and the coach, former players remain connected to Kentucky. That tenet helped Krzyzewski build a Duke program that has flourished since the 1980s. Its a trait that impresses Calipari.Theyve made [the rivalry] bigger than it is, Calipari says. Look, I respect Dukes program. When you do something 40 years, 40 years, at the level theyve done it ... and theyve been one of those programs where even in the down years, see they didnt care when they were down, theyre still trying to beat them because it was Duke. ... Incredible, incredible.Yet, hes not here to praise Duke. Thats not how college basketball works. Thats not how the vicious recruiting world works. Thats not how the battle to rule the one-and-done era will work, either.Calipari is here to beat Duke -- in the living rooms of Americas best prep players and perhaps on a court in Phoenix next April at the Final Four -- and protect his place in the one-and-done chapter of college basketball which he has dominated.I dont see someone saying, Well, were gonna do what he does, -- listen to me -- every year, Calipari says. Doing it once, OK, do it once. You may be lucky, you may not be lucky, but do it once. But to do it every year this way, you know ... You almost have to accept it and want it and cheer for the guys to leave, try to educate the ones that shouldnt, that even if they leave, you still help them, youre still there for them. Vans Old Skool Wholesale .R. Smith realized how easily basketball can be taken from him, and he wasnt going to take his place in the NBA for granted anymore. Cheap Vans Old Skool Canada . 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