In case you don’t know yet, ESPN will be releasing their latest 30 for 30 film on April 13th.
The film will be centered around the complex and controversial career of Kentucky head coach John Calipari. Whether you enjoy the controversy Calipari brings, or you despise the change he has brought to the game, this 30 for 30 will handle both.
Jonathan Hock, a decorated director who has cooked up 10 Emmy Awards and has produced other 30 for 30’s such as “Through The Fire” (2005), “Survive and Advance” (2013), and “Of Miracles and Men” (2015), came to screen his latest film at Springfield College, which is 10 minutes down the road from the Hall of Fame.
Luckily enough, I am a student at Springfield College, and I got to see the film first-hand before anyone else, and listened in on a Q&A with Hock and his right hand man, Alastair Christopher.
First, a little about the film, without giving out too many details. It’s REALLY interesting. There isn’t much raw emotion and heart wrenching storylines like other 30 for 30’s, but the insight we get to see from one of the most talked about coaches of all time is unbelievable.
We get to see how Calipari developed his coaching style and recruiting prowess at UMass. (Side note: look for Marty Dobrow during the UMass section. He’s one of my professors and has great insight on Calipari from the perspective of the media.)
His downfall from UMass and Memphis play a huge role in the film also. While Calipari spends a lot of time explaining why he left both jobs, much still remains unanswered to whether he is dirty or not, which adds to his mystique.
Personally, my favorite part was the amount of material Hock had from former high-profile players (UMass, Memphis, and Kentucky) on what kind of coach he was. All of his former players love him, and see him as a father figure. I believe that this is what Hock was going for throughout the film. Calipari changed the game with the one and done rule to make life easier for kids. Any father wants to make his son’s life easier, and Calipari did whatever he could, even if it was making one of his great players leave for the NBA, and millions of dollars.
Here’s what I learned from the Q&A with Jonathan Hock and Alastair Christopher:
Calipari is actually quite nervous for this documentary to release. Even though he is no stranger to the limelight, it seems Calipari may be nervous to see what people think of the real him. Hock explained:
When you do a film about someone who’s retired, or not living anymore, they don’t call you a week before to tell you they’re nervous about it. We haven’t done a documentary on an active person since “Through the Fire” with Sebastian Telfair.
This is actually three films. It’s a life story, sort of American Dream, it is an all-access season behind the scenes, and it’s also a meditation on the meaning of college sports and education versus money in a system where everyone is getting paid but the people doing the work.
Sorry Karl Anthony-Towns fans, KAT won’t be featured in this film as much as Hock wished. But he was interviewed and apparently he was great. Too great…
We ended up not using him because he was too good. He said one thing about Cal, Cal is the one who wrote all of our stories, no, Cal was the paper that our stories are written on. He’s just saying this off the cuff, like dude, you’re 19 years old. It was too good, it felt scripted.
Kentucky fans will be pleased to see the cast Hock got from former players, despite KAT being “too good.”
Cal even had an impact on Alastair. (On being in the locker room with Cal’s players) He said:
He was inspiring to me, everytime he would glance at me I would go aww, I’m going to be the number one pick. He has a way of making you feel confident and feeling good.
30 for 30’s are famous for their ability to draw emotion from sports, and a lot has to do with the shots and the “feel” of the room Hock and Christopher get. Hock said:
You really have to impose the shot to show what the story is. You have to make that shot, the shot doesn’t make itself.And Alastair seemed to be able to just do that without even thinking. He could feel where the story is.
“One and Not Done” will change your opinion of Calipari. You’ll see what being a college coach actually entails. You’ll see the bond he creates with his players and how genuine of a person he is. Whether he is genuine towards the NCAA rulebook is still up for debate, but you will respect the work he puts into caring for his kids.
Watch “One but Not Done” on Thursday, April 13th on ESPN at 9:00 PM EST.