John Calipari Gives Updates on Draft Process, Recruiting, More


Zoom, WebEx, Skype- this is our lives as sports reporters for the foreseeable future. It’s an adjustment to be sure, but it’s still a bit weird. It’s what we all have to do though, as every single one of us must mobilize for the greater good. We all miss March Madness of course, but there is absolutely no way the games could have been played under current conditions.

In a year with no clear favorite, Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari had a team that could have definitely won it all. Betting on UK in the NCAA Tournament has a been a profitable endeavor over the years, as this accumulator calculator can show you. With eight NCAA Tournament championships and 17 Final Fours in their history, a lot of people have won green betting on big blue.

Calipari, who previously said his team definitely could have won it all, did a Zoom teleconference with the media, and he opened with a lot of thoughts on the current crisis that the entire world is facing right now.

“The uncertain times, what’s happening around our country right now. First of all, we are all responsible for ourselves,” Calipari said.

“Stay in your house. Wash your hands. If you go out, which you should – walking around, exercising a little bit – six feet from everyone. I think what’s happening around us, we still have to be responsible for ourselves. The other part of this then becomes, all right, now that I’m taking care of myself and I’m taking care of my family, what else can I do to help this situation and help others?”

“It may start with helping a neighbor. Maybe you have an older neighbor who needs you to help with groceries or other things like that. Today is Takeout Tuesday across the country…we’re ordering out every day to make sure we’re helping in that way.”

Yes, please order carry-out or delivery for your meals when you can. The restaurant business is a really tough racket; especially now when the economy at large is poised for dire straits. Calipari also said that no one on team has tested positive for coronavirus.

There was a lot of basketball news covered on this call, so let’s get into that.

Who knows what kind of situation our country, or the United Kingdom, will be next season for the UK-UM game in London. We’ll know by June, but of course, this is still a very fluid situation. Speaking of very fluid situations, the NBA Draft will apparently be moved back, as will the scouting combine.

“Every day—this is hour by hour, day by day,” Coach Cal said.

“We, as a staff and as a coach, are not allowed to work our players, are not allowed to have one-on-one meetings. If we have a group meeting, we’re not supposed to talk about basketball. So now we are giving them the information from the NBA to find out where they fall at this point in time.”

Calipari also believes the kids should be given more time to make their decisions, especially now in these uncertain times.

He also gave an estimate as to how many players will go through the draft evaluation process this summer.

“My guess is four to five guys would probably test the waters,” the Kentucky coach continued. 

“They changed a rule that I wasn’t on top of that you can now declare for the draft every year you’re in college and if you choose to go back it doesn’t hurt your eligibility. It used to be after the second time you had to stay in the draft. Now you can do it every time.”

“So, I don’t know how many will test the waters. We haven’t gotten to that point to talk to them.”

“My guess is four to five of them will.”

You can safely assume that Tyrese Maxey, Ashton Hagans, Immanuel Quickley and Nick Richards will be among that group.  

Finally, what does John Calipari have to say about the state of recruiting in these insane times? It’s very uncertain for everybody.

“Thank goodness we’re ahead of the game,” he said.

“Fate, it wasn’t designed obviously, but we’re in pretty good shape and anything we add becomes, ‘Alright, we have a chance with this or that.’ I think what may come out of this, reading tea leaves, which I’ve said since my UMass days, why are we recruiting in the summer? Why are we doing this? Let’s recruit April, May.”

“Let’s recruit some in September and then let’s do it during the school year. We get a chance to be with our own team. We get a chance to lead normal lives, like we are leading now. This isI mean, it’s not normal, but being able to be home for three days, I mean four days, it’s crazy.”

“So why are we spending all of this money for that when it may make recruiting a little more localized, which is not all bad. ‘Well, you may make mistakes.’

“Well, they’re transferring without penalty now. So, they’ll transfer. Tell me. I don’t understand that money spent in June, July and August which if you go across the country and figure out how much that is, it’s a ridiculous number. Let’s just do stuff during the school year. Let’s do it in May. Let’s do it in September and then let’s get down to a more normal life for all coaches.

“That may come out of this when college presidents say, ‘Tell me why we need this summer now? Because we just went without it and everything’s OK.’ So, that may happen.” 

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation.

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC and Chicago on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link

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