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John Calipari doesn’t like Jay Bilas saying college coaches like him do not develop NBA talent

Tyler Herro developed into lottery pick at UK. (UK Athletics Photo)


Before the NBA Draft, ESPN analyst Jay Bilas said he didn’t think college coaches developed NBA players as much as they just recruited players who already had NBA talent.

Not surprisingly, Kentucky coach John Calipari disagrees — and probably other college coaches do as well.

“I don’t agree. What about Tyler Herro? What about Eric Bledsoe? I don’t know, maybe I’m missing something. Everybody must have missed on those kids. They just didn’t evaluate them right and we did,” Calipari said after the draft last week where Herro was a lottery pick after one year at UK.

“I think that are two things that have come out of this. How are our kids, 75 percent of them, getting to second and third (NBA) contracts? We just evaluated better? There are other schools that are evaluating just like us and their kids don’t seem to make it. When they do make it, it’s about 20 percent of the kids, 15 percent. So, I don’t agree with him.”

Obviously that was a not so subtle shot at some other major programs. But Calipari was just warming up.

“I think there’s a culture that we have and a system and process that we have of developing them with an idea of what the end result is, trying to win. I just told the guys, during the season it’s about winning, it’s about our team. When the season ends, it’s about each individual player,” Calipari said.

“In the season, we’re about this. How about teaching you how to defend? How many of our guys have gone in the NBA and not been able to defend, not known the terminology, not known all those kinds of things? I like to say, how many players in the NBA Draft as rookies are going to go in as volume shooters? None. They went to a school because they wanted to be the volume shooter. Now, they’re going to a team where they’re not going to be the volume shooter. You’ve got to know how to play.

“Our kids can do both. Not all of them because not all of them are going to end up being volume shooters in the NBA. They’re going to be one of those other guys. I don’t believe it, but he can say it. ‘Why go there when you can go anywhere’ is what he’s basically saying.

“Once you hear it doesn’t matter what school you go to, you’re going to make it if you’re supposed to. Do you believe that’s true? Does anybody believe that’s true? I don’t say if you don’t come to Kentucky – no, that’s not what I say. But to say it doesn’t matter, I don’t know.”


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  1. Bilas is just jealous because Coach K could not develop him into a long time NBA Star.

  2. This should clear up this matter. Calipari has maintained all along that he is more concerned with getting kids in the NBA than he is in winning SEC/SEC tournament championships. He also states in the article that his system limits the offensive development of his kids because most won’t be asked to be meaningful scorers in their first year? How crazy is this? Lottery picks are expected to be starters and scorers. He is trying to say he coached up Eric Bledsoe and Tyler Herro? Those kids had the talent when they came here. If anything, Calipari held back their offensive development in the name of his system. I guess its not wonder the Nets failed to flourish under Calipari’s guidance.
    I don’t get it. Calipari was a great coach at UMASS and a very good coach at Memphis. He changed upon getting the UK job. He literally pissed away a national championship with Wall, Bledsoe, and Cousins. They were clearly the best team in the country and a third string guard lights us up in the West Virginia game and we looked helpless. He won a national championship with Anthony Davis even though his system held AD to taking the 5th most shots. Again…crazy. AD should have been the focus of the offense, not the 5th option. We won the title in spite of that system, but have not won anymore even though we should have won at least 3 others, some would say 5. Yet Calipari crows about how he gets kids in the NBA. I thought he worked for the university, not the NBA.

  3. I have little respect for Bilas and even less respect for Catmandoo.

    1. Hornet, the day you start respecting me is the day I will question my morals and character Honest and truthful assessments obviously disturb you.

      1. You mean slanted and tainted assessments. You are an angry bitter guy and it comes through in all your posts. RAH RAH RAH !

    2. Hornet, Catmandoo prides himself on being anti UK. It is pretty obvious. Why don’t you apply for a head job somewhere Catmandoo since you know so much. By the way, we are all still waiting to hear the names of all the former players and coaches who agree with you about how lousy Calipari is. You frozen at the mouth?

  4. Bilas played for Duke and is employed by ESPN. Really, would you expect him to not be a HOMER for Duke? He’s paid to HYPE Duke and the ACC by his employer, so that’s what he does. Admitedly, the slurp fest is sickening, and totally unfair to all the other competing Universities, but if the shoe was on the other foot and we were getting all the free hype, I’d love it-Ha! He also puts out click bait, like this referenced piece of crap, to stay relevant like all the other talking heads. If anyone wants to hate ESPN ‘s uneven playing field, be my quest, but lets get real and not personalize it. You don’t have to like Bilas, but lets hope no one hates him, that’s ignorant. Without all this bickering, competitive sports wouldn’t be half as fun. Srew Duke and the horse they rode in on-Go Cats!

    1. Right on hfb. Never been a fan of Bilas. Could care less what he says. ESPN is a joke, forever. All one has to do is look at Corso.

  5. Shai Alexander, do the research Dukemando. Who had him as a lottery pick at the beginning of a season where he was not even a starter. Bilas sounds like a guy here who seems jealous of those with more talent and ability than he had. This is the same Jay Bilas who said Okufor would be better than C A T who won rookie of the year. At Duke okufor did the same moves he used in high school and they didn’t work in the NBA. Where Cal had Towns working on the things that he was uncomfortable with to prepare him for the next level. If that BS was true Duke would have more NBA players than we do. Especially since some here believe that they have better players.

  6. Rah!, Rah’s… may not like it but the Catmandoo does speak a lot of truths. Cal does show some slippage since coming, especially with the bigs and crucial in-game decision making, but I will be happy to take a little back if Blackshear comes. He definitely did not develop on coach up Herro.

    1. The saddest part Mike is these Rah Rah’s obviously think our program is so fragile that it can’t stand up to the truth. I guess the fear of another Billy Clyde has them content to be a perennial also ran in SEC and national titles. As for Blackshear, word has it that he is leaning to Tennessee. I would have thought Auburn or A&M had the inside track but I guess he likes the fact that UT produced a back to back SEC Player of the Year in Williams. Can’t blame him for not coming here after the way Ried’s talents were wasted.

    2. You two are the only ones unhappy.

      1. What in the world qualifies you to make that comment? You are too self absorbed in your thinking,

        1. It’ s true my man, Catmandoo and you make two. Don’t need any special qualifications to see that. I just read what you all say on this blog and disagree.

          By the way, let’s hear some more names Catmandoo. You were the one that popped off about all these players and coaches who are down on Calipari. You got quiet quick since then, and we are all ears now . Maybe Mike can help you out. He sees things your way. At least there are two of you who believe Cal is the worst coach in all of college basketball. That said, most UK basketball fans think you all are nuts. Your little know it all” rant above is nonsense. Listen and weep ……. “Lifetime Contract.” Great ain’t it?

            • Mike on June 25, 2019 at 9:22 pm

            You still could benefit from a little therapy. You want to carry everything to the extreme. My guess you are the lonely one

        2. Whatever Mikey, really. I think I’m getting to you my man. On! On! UK!! Say that several times a day, it might help you. You are so sensitive.

      2. @Larry:
        I think Catman and Mike would be a lot happier if they would simply get a room. Both of them appear to be very frustrated.

  7. Yes, I am angry. Calipari is supposed to be winning SEC titles and national titles for the University of KY, not be an NBA farm team.

    1. Calipari believes he can do both and players that come to UK believe that too

  8. Larry, you nailed it. Can’t take credit for this comment, since I heard it expressed on the TV show, American Pickers.
    “He loves the misery, he seems to lean into it, I think it makes him feel alive”.

  9. One title in 10 years and that was 7 years ago. We are not keeping pace with Duke, North Carolina, or Villanova. We know longer recruit elite big men. Anthony Davis was the only reason we won in 2012. The future only bodes second weekend defeats or worse. Thank God it will only last 2 or 3 more years at the most, contract or not.

  10. Wow, Blackshear chooses Florida. A surprise choice, but now the Gators are a team to be reckoned with in the SEC. We still have a solid team, but now the regular season title is up for grabs. He will definitely be the man there and a lottery pick in the 2020 draft. I wonder if Reid is thinking woulda, coulda, shoulda?

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