John Calipari congratulates Billy Donovan on OKC job

Billy Donovan’s rivalry with John Calipari will be missed. (USATSI)

Billy Donovan’s biggest SEC rival, Kentucky coach John Calipari, sent out a few tweets on Friday afternoon. Cal congratulated Donovan on the move to the NBA and said some kind words about their professional rivalry and Donovan’s father.

It’s an interesting twist that Donovan wound up back in the NBA before Calipari, who’s been rumored to want to get back in the league — in the right situation.

Now it’s Donovan who goes to the pros under pretty amazing short-term circumstances: coaching Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Here’s what Calipari said on Friday.

The SEC is certainly losing its marquee matchup between its two highest-profile coaches. They’re the only two in the league who’ve won a national championship, after all. But with Bruce Pearl beginning to build at Auburn, Ben Howland already landing arguably the best guard in the country (and beating out Calipari for said guard), Alabama has a former pro coach in Avery Johnson, and Tennessee just brought on Rick Barnes.

Plus, we’ll see who Florida brings in. (Here are the names in the play.) The SEC is trending up, even with the loss of Donovan. I’ll also note that a report from ESPN.com that had Donovan nudged even more toward making the move to the NBA because he’d grown weary of going up against — and losing to — Calipari on the recruiting trail. Donovan has a 17-27 record all-time vs. Kentucky.

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