By LARRY VAUGHT
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.”