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NCAA Tournament is “not for funsies” for players who have a lot at stake

John Calipari (Vicky Graff Photo)


One positive for Kentucky playing well in the NCAA Tournament is that it can help the NBA draft stock of individual players while helping UK win.

But it’s not just our guys, it’s everybody. These kids are all being evaluated this three-week period. Believe me when I tell you, it overrides anything that’s happened all summer,” Calipari said.

“I can remember the kid — I think it was — he played for Gary Williams at Maryland, and he wasn’t thought of as a player that was going pro, and he went on an unbelievable run in — I’m forgetting his name right now, in the NCAA Tournament, and he ends up being a top-10 pick, and he wasn’t a guy that was even on the board that they were thinking about.”

Calipari says there is incredible pressure on many players in the NCAA Tournament for reasons fans may not always understand.

“I just say this for all these kids, and that’s why I respect these kids, because not only is the tournament there, the National Championship there, their own being and their own family and all this stuff that these 19 — my guys are 19-year-olds, have to deal with. I tell my guys, I tell them all the time, I respect you guys so much, and then you have like social media and you have the clutter and you have the lists and you have all the other stuff, and they’ve got to block all that out and play,” Calipari said.

“It’s not for funsies. It’s for real. So that’s why this tournament is what it is. You just don’t know. We want to say, well, we know that team is — you don’t know. This is hard for these kids.”


  1. Give me a break.

  2. Calipari riddles.

  3. Why would he need to protect kids who want to play this game against grown men next year?

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