Kentucky is viewed by many as the premiere blue blood program in college basketball, but long-time coach John Calipari recently departed for the Arkansas head coaching job, and he made a claim about that program that will catch the attention of Kentucky and college basketball fans in general.

“Kentucky is the bluest of blue,” John Calipari said in his opening press conference, according to Myron Medcalf of ESPN. “There's only a few schools like that, and I hate to tell you… Arkansas is one of them.”

This is a very bold take, as Arkansas is rarely, if ever mentioned among the blue bloods of college basketball. The most common schools mentioned are ones like Kentucky, North Carolina, UCLA, and others, although there are many differing takes

Arkansas found success with Eric Musselman in recent years, making the elite eight twice and the sweet 16 once, before missing the NCAA Tournament last season. Calipari is going to an in-conference rival in the SEC by moving to Arkansas. Being the coach at Kentucky for so long, he had many games against Arkansas, and referenced a time he got ejected during the 2019-2020 season, and joked about the difference in the reception he received.

“I have never gotten that kind of greeting in this building,” Calipari said, via Medcalf. “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.”

Regardless of whether Arkansas is viewed as a blue blood program, Calipari is expected to have a lot of resources at his disposal. He will need them, as the Arkansas roster is basically empty. He will likely need to convince some of the recruits he had committed to Kentucky to follow him to Arkansas, as well as utilize the transfer portal to fill out the roster. It will be a lot different in Arkansas next season, so it will be interesting to see the roster that Calipari builds this summer to try to compete in the SEC next season. Given the success that Musselman had in recent years, potential for March success is there.

John Calipari's 15-year run at Kentucky

Calipari had a really good run at Kentucky, all things considered, despite the last three years or so being disappointing. He was hired at Kentucky ahead of the 2009-2010 season. He coached for eight years at UMass before a stint with the New Jersey Nets. He returned to college with Memphis, coaching there for nine years and bringing the program to the national title game in 2008.

In Calipari's 15 seasons at Kentucky, he won the SEC regular season six times and the conference tournament five times. He also brought the program to the Final Four four times, winning one national championship.

After Kentucky got turned down by Baylor's Scott Drew, it will be interesting to see where the school pivots.