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Calipari knows no one expected UK’s draft success this year

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander


Sometimes John Calipari has a strange choice of words when he has a point to make.

He did it again Sunday during Kentucky’s meet-and-greet day with fans when he got to talking about the NBA draft.

Kentucky had two lottery picks — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Kevin Knox — along with two second-round picks — Jarred Vanderbilt and Hamidou Diallo.

“If you told us when we lost four straight games (during the season) that we were going to have four guys drafted, and the fifth guy (Wenyen Gabriel) be signed by the Sacramento Kings when the draft ended, you would’ve said “he’s smoking crack, something is wrong with this guy,'” Calipari said.

He’s probably right. Not sure anyone really saw two lottery picks coming for Kentucky. Remember, Gilgeous-Alexander was the least regarded player in Kentucky’s 2017 recruiting class and he ended up as a lottery pick.

“For these guys to go in the lottery, two others be drafted, one of those they traded down to get him in the second round. It’s kinda neat,” Calipari said. “I told these guys it’s not easy, but being here, you’re going to have that opportunity.”


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  1. Cal keeps evaluating the success of his team by the number of NBA draft picks instead of the season outcome. Cal is not going to change. If BBN is serious about wanting to win national championships then a coaching change is needed. Coach K and Roy Williams have won multiple national titles since Cal came to KY. I thought that was why we hired Cal. It takes more than talent to win a national title …you also need an X and O savvy coach and we don’t have one.

    1. Right on Bluebleeder12. Good for them I guess, but I could really care less about the NBA draft. As one UK fan, I am sick of the system of OAD players. Cal is just building a legacy of first round draft picks. It is costing UK big time IMO.

  2. Coach Mike on board with pushing for change if Cal doesnt hang a banner with the talent we have.

  3. As Cal says ” You guys are Crazy” Remember the days of Billy G.

    1. No we aren’t crazy. Tubby Smith won a national title in his 10 years and he was encouraged to seek a coaching job elsewhere. Cal has delivered a similar result. The fact that he could not make the Final Four last year when the top of the bracket was eliminated just shows how much he lacks in coaching. He complained about being too young and not having any talent and now he brags about getting 4 guys drafted…he can’t have it both ways. His job is to win games, SEC titles, and national titles. Doing so will get the players plenty of attention from NBA teams. Cal has hidden behind his success at getting players drafted and that’s not what he is being paid for.
      As for Billy G…that hiring was a mistake, even though it looked like a good move on paper. Its time to get back to being a university that offers a solid education along with the opportunity to play sports at a high level. Recruit kids with solid fundamentals and want to win championships for UK. Cal always says he will take talent over experience and other good coaches around the country snicker. How about having experienced talent? Kids inevitably get better from year to year and experience helps them get the most out of that improved talent…providing that a coaching staff doesn’t limit them to developing just one aspect of their total game. Sometimes you can have too much talent that refuses to come together as a team…that’s where experienced upperclassmen provide leadership and we have been missing that for too long.

  4. The natives are getting progressively more restless, and the outcome of last season acted to stir the pot of restlessness. It was the worst team of the Calipari Era. It started that way. It ended that way. It played that way throughout the season.

    That team was never a serious contender.

    This coming season, all the off season hype is working to keep that pot of restlessness bubbling, and everywhere throughout the BBN, I hear fans unabashedly proclaiming this team is the best of the Cal Era, or the best since 2012.

    We hear that type of chatter every off season, but this year the chatter is more akin to the lead up to 2014-15 than the lead up to 2017-18, or most other seasons. The fans seem convinced that their chatter is true, and the fans seem unified in their expectation of #9 in 2019.

    I hope they are right.

    However, the consequences of another unfinished Final Four could well provide a tipping point.

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