John Calipari recently made the shocking move to leave Kentucky basketball to be the new head coach of the Arkansas basketball team. Calipari and the Wildcats lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament against 14 seed Oakland just a few weeks ago, and some Kentucky fans wanted him gone. The school wanted him back, but Calipari made the decision to leave and go coach the Razorbacks.

Now, John Calipari is the head coach of the Arkansas basketball team. It's a huge move for him, and Razorbacks fans are excited for this new era. Calipari had his introductory press conference on Wednesday, and he did note that it could take some time for him to build what he wants to build.

“I've got to put a roster together,” Calipari said to the Arkansas crowd, according to an article from ESPN. “I just met with the team. There were three guys in there and they were all in the portal. We've got work to do, and the only thing I want to tell you is I'm not that guy that has a magic wand. That's not who I am. I'm the grinder who comes every time. When you watch my team from the beginning of the year to the end of the year, we get better.”

After losing head coach Eric Musselman, Arkansas did lose some talent to the portal. Calipari is going to have to do some work in the portal himself to get ready for next season, and there should be a lot of players interested in coming to play for him.

A new era for John Calipari

John Calipari speaks during the off-day press conference in Memphis. The Cats will take on North Carolina in Memphis to advance to the Final Four.
© Michael Clevenger / Courier Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

John Calipari has coached a lot of college basketball games at Arkansas, but he's always been on the opposing sideline. The Razorbacks and the Wildcats are both SEC teams, so they play every season, and Calipari has been the coach of Kentucky since 2009. Now, the crowd at those home games will be treating him much differently than they have in the past.

“I have never gotten that kind of greeting in this building,” Calipari said after receiving a warm welcome. “As a matter of fact, you were probably in the building when they threw me out before the game ended. We did win that game, though. You guys were throwing stuff at me. I wasn't hearing any cheers.”

At the end of the day, this wasn't an easy decision for Calipari to make. He spent a lot of time with the Kentucky basketball team and he had a lot of success there. Most people thought that he would retire there. It was difficult for him to leave the Wildcats.

“It was [hard to leave],” Calipari said. “We've been there 15 years. Fifteen years. Great times, great achievements. Forty players to the NBA, 30 kids graduated. I love that state, I love the governor. The people are the salt of the earth.”

This new era of basketball for both Arkansas and John Calipari is exciting. Like he said, it might take some time for him to build what he wants, but there is certainly reason to be excited if you're a Razorbacks fan.