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John Calipari knows Nate Sestina has right mentality about being at UK

Nate Sestina (Bucknell University Athletics Photo)


For the second straight season, Kentucky will have a grad transfer to bolster its inside presence.

Last year Stanford grad transfer was a God-send for the Cats and almost helped get UK to the Final Four. Next season it will be Bucknell grad transfer Nate Sestina hopefully bolstering UK’s frontcourt of EJ Montgomery and Nick Richards.

Kentucky coach John Calipari wants UK fans to know that Travis and Sestina are different players. However, he says that Sestina is “physically strong, great kid” who has the right mentality about being at UK.

“Knows he’s gotta work, nothing’s going to be given to him. He wants to see how good he can be and the way you get better here is the day-to-day grind, mastering your craft, falling back on that work, playing competitively every day in practice and every day in the summer. Should be fun,” Calipari said.

Calipari believes the 2019-20 team has a “great group” and hopes Sestina will have a locker room impact much like Travis did.

“You can’t come here and be totally into yourself, or it’s all about me taking all the shots or somebody who’s aloof and stands off. You can’t be in this program and make that,” Calipari said. “There are other programs where one or two guys shoot all the balls and do all the other stuff — that’s not here. It’s just not here.

“So I would expect us to have a good crew of kids and that’s why by the end of the year we’re playing our best basketball. We’ll keep growing because you’ve got a bunch of good guys that know the staff’s in it for them. They need to be in it for each other and your team eventually gets to where they need to go by the end of the year.”


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  1. Reid Travis possibly hurt his draft prospects by coming to KY. Calipari was so in love with PJ that Reid was relegated to a support role that did not allow him to shine, except in the 4 games that PJ missed. This is the reason Blackshear will not come here.
    Sestina is not the established star that Reid was so his prospects should have more upside considering he is competing with EJ for PT. But Calipari could go gaga for EJ this year which means Sestina will be the odd man out. Sestina really doesn’t want to play the 5 spot but may have to if Nick doesn’t come around.
    Either way, it will give notice to future grad transfers that UK is not a place to go to promote your draft prospects in a final year. Calipari sticks to his guys as should be the case.

    1. I don’t think Reid hurt his draft stock at all. Remember he likely was not going to even be a second round pick last year either

      1. Reid playing for UK helped his draft stock.

        1. Seriously guys. Reid went from an 18/9 all conference player to a 8/6 guy who is not on anyone’s draft sheets. He might be able to make it as a free agent, but he will have to work on his shooting…something he did not get to do here. If he had gone to Kansas, he would have been a 20+/10+ player of the year candidate and would be in the lottery pick discussions. Reid had to sacrifice his game to let PJ grow in his. That was not a good deal for a grad transfer.

  2. If Blackshear is as good as he thinks he is, he will start for Kentucky. He’ll only get better since no other team has the front court competition he’ll face everyday at Kentucky. Also, he will be seen regularly on the biggest stage in college basketball, being pushed by the best prepatory pro coach in the game. Reid Travis got something more than improving just his basketball talents at Kentucky. He got a chance in his many posted interviews, to show the fans of Kentucky how intelligent and mature an individual he is…he made his mark as a person we can all look up to… HE WILL BE REMEMBERED AND ADMIRED!

  3. Reid Travis got more attention by coming to UK than he ever dreamed of. He played against better competition everyday than in most games he played in for USC. He got the chance to show the pro scouts he could be part of a team and did not have to be the go to guy. If you are going to play in the NBA, most players are support players and have to learn how be ready when needed. He got all of that and more at UK.

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