John Calipari says players should look at the NBA
Posted on: April 13, 2011 8:54 pm
Edited on: April 13, 2011 8:55 pm
Posted by Matt Jones
In an informal session with local media in Kentucky, John Calipari said that he believes three of his players from last season's Final Four team, Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight and Deandre Liggins should all put their names into the NBA Draft and get an official evaluation from teams in the league. The coach said that for those three kids to at least explore the draft was at this point a "no-brainer" of a decision and one that he supported. Calipari said that due to the potential NBA lockout, the number of players who have stated that they will return to college and the uncertainty of the draft selection order, this may be the most difficult projection for potential draft entrants that he can remember. But he does believe his three players would be best served by testing the process and getting an evaluation from NBA teams.
Calipari noted that he believes Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones both have the potential to be selected in the lottery, but he is unsure where each would be slotted. If the players find out that they could be at the end of the lottery, they might be best suited to return to school. If however, they are guaranteed a selection towards the top of the lottery, Calipari said that it may make more sense to keep their names in the draft.
The Kentucky coach was however definitive about one issue, the fact that he believes an NBA lockout is inevitable. For Calipari, the likelihood of the lockout changes the calculus for all of these players. "The lockout really kind of screws everything up because a lot of kids are pulling their names because what if the lockout goes the whole year?...I have asked my guys, are you prepared for a lockout, because it is coming."
Calipari noted that being prepared for a lockout contingency means understanding that a player will have to pay his own living expenses, including basketball trainers, and that any money that is given to him by an agent will have to be paid back with interest. He notes that if a lockout lingers on, players will have to be self-motivated, with no outside force to ensure that they are maximizing their basketball skills.
Calipari did note that he believes another Kentucky freshman, Doron Lamb, will return to Kentucky and is unlikely to put his name in the NBA Draft. "If he comes back and puts on 15 pounds of muscle, he is a lottery pick," the coach said.
When asked if Calipari's future in Lexington was certain after a number of rumors of potential NBA interest, Calipari suggested that such rumors are usually created for those trying to have an effect on recruiting. "I laughed when the newest rumors came out because I said, 'You're not screwing up our recruiting because we already have these kids signed." While not answering directly about his future, he did speak in depth about his team next season and how he would play, regardless of what players return to go with his No. 1 overall recruiting class.