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Mighty neighborly

Every time John Calipari lands a national recruit, his regional rivals breathe a bit easier

Updated: February 8, 2011, 4:11 PM ET
By Matt Giles | ESPN The Magazine

SEC basketball has always belonged to Kentucky. Okay, Florida and Tennessee could claim a piece too, but mostly it was the Wildcats' playground. If UK wanted a local recruit -- and "local" is loosely defined as "anywhere in the Deep South" -- it would get him, much more often than not. Then John Calipari, one of the nation's very best recruiters, arrived in Lexington in 2009 to restore the hoops program to its rarefied perch -- and the conference have-nots couldn't be happier.

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