Blog Entry

UK preparing for the pros to come back to campus

Posted on: July 29, 2011 11:03 am
Edited on: July 29, 2011 11:05 am
By Ben Golliver john-calipari

The University of Kentucky's basketball program is practically a professional program already, spitting out lottery picks in large quantities year after year.

But some of those lottery picks are coming back home and their presence could take the school's basketball program up another notch.

Kentucky coach John Calipari tweeted on Thursday night that three NBA point guards who played for Kentucky will head back to Lexington if the lockout continues. "John Wall, Rajon Rondo & Eric Bledsoe all plan to enroll in the fall if the lockout continues," Calipari tweeted. "Kaboom!"

Kaboom, indeed. reported that the move could allow the trio -- point guards for the Washington Wizards, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers, respectively -- to get some court time in with the current Wildcats. "Calipari announces that John Wall, Eric Bledsoe and Rajon Rondo will all enroll at UK in the fall if lockout proceeds," the site reported. "What does that mean? Well, Wall, Bledsoe and Rondo are all eligible to be "Student Assistant coaches", which means practice with the team... Wall, Rondo and Bledsoe would have to be full-time students to be Student Assistants, but rumor is that is the plan."

A report quotes free agent forward Tayshaun Prince saying other NBA players could be following suit.
"Whether it's mid to late August or early September, I think some guys will start to roll in," he said.

Prince said he plans to spend more time in Lexington later in the summer and in to the fall and winter, if the NBA remains locked out. Brandon Knight - Prince's teammate in Detroit who was at the camp Thursday - said he plans to return to Lexington in late August or September. The two don't figure to be the only pros around campus.

"I think you're going to see over the next few months here that guys are going to start rolling in, doing workouts and things like that just because the relationship [Calipari's] putting out there with guys that he didn't coach but at the same time is building relationships," Prince said.
There are a lot of winners in this unique situation.

First, any NBA player who goes back to complete work on his degree is automatically a winner. Kudos to Wall, Rondo and Bledsoe for considering that step even after each has banked millions of dollars. That these three have chosen to do that while finding a home to work on their game and stay fit is a no-brainer, win-win.

Calipari, of course, is a winner, as the presence of an All-Star point guard, a Rookie of the Year candidate and a promising future starter on campus and in the gym only raises his already insanely-high profile as a mover and shaker in the basketball world and provides his current roster, which sports four potential first round picks in the 2012 NBA draft, with elite leadership and competition. Kentucky freshman point guard Marquis Teague, in particular, wins here too with three new mentors. Who better to answer his freshman questions than Wall, Rondo and Bledsoe?

The losers here are anyone that still believes in the purity of amateurism as well as any coaches that have to compete with Calipari for NBA-ready recruits. His factory just gets more and more refined by the season. Love him or hate him, his innovations and ability to find a competitive advantage are remarkable.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB

Since: Nov 7, 2009
Posted on: August 3, 2011 3:59 pm

UK preparing for the pros to come back to campus

UK fans defend Calipari because he's "OUR COACH."  That's what you do when you are a fan.  Like you would defend a friend, a family member, etc.  If we didn't defend him then people like you (Lee3022) would say that the shots must be accurate because the fans aren't denying it.  You can roll the words either way you want, but both ways make you sound less than intelligent.

I love your statement "UK...not even alone ahead of everyone in lottery picks."  Just go ahead and say we're tied for the most lottery picks in the past five years, because again you sound less than intelligent trying to switch words around. 

Since: Mar 23, 2008
Posted on: July 31, 2011 4:46 pm

UK preparing for the pros to come back to campus was 3.2 out of a 4.0 system. Academic powerhouse.

Since: Jul 30, 2011
Posted on: July 30, 2011 5:28 pm

UK preparing for the pros to come back to campus

And how many Million$ have you made in the past year?

Wow...when 'lil brother gets jealous....he really gets jealous 

Would you feel better if you had your own set of flash cards? 

Since: Jul 30, 2011
Posted on: July 30, 2011 5:09 pm

UK preparing for the pros to come back to campus

Just how many vacated Final Fours wil it take to consider Calipari a cheater???Innocent

Since: Jul 30, 2011
Posted on: July 30, 2011 3:16 pm

UK preparing for the pros to come back to campus

To all those who are apparently confused by what was said;

None of these players will be suiting up for Kentucky ever again. If any of these players who have not graduated yet (Wall, Bledsoe, Rondo, Cousins, etc...) enroll in classes at UK in the fall full time (12 credit hours), they are offically students. Any student can be a student assistant coach. A student assistant coach (sometimes called an equipment manager) can participate in team events (like practice) and sit on the bench during games. The advantage is for the current players, as they would be able to practice against players who would be better than anyone they would play against in any game that season and the student assistant coaches could provide leadership/advice during games.

We (UK) did this last season too. Enes Kanter and Wayne Turner were both student assistant coaches because they were full time students. Look how that worked out for Josh Harrelson. Now try to imagine what that could do for 5 star players.

Don't hate, appreciate. Your schools will be trying to do it too, if they have smart head coaches.

Since: Nov 4, 2010
Posted on: July 30, 2011 10:31 am

UK preparing for the pros to come back to campus

An IU fan talking about a Uk coach kind of ridiculous isn't it. You had Bobby knight and love him and he's one of the ugliest and ignorant individuals who's ever graced a basketball floor.

Since: Nov 4, 2010
Posted on: July 30, 2011 10:27 am

UK preparing for the pros to come back to campus

Because of the tradition of the University of Kentucky. Calipari is so far ahead of the rest of the coaches and that includes yours, whatever his name is. Coach gets it and he gets it right. He alone has ignited the Big Blue Nation and there's no other college with the base support UK has. We love our team and our coach. Can't take that away from us and guess what d.a. the rest of the nation knows the power and influence the BBN has. You might want to be a little more respectful of this great tradition.

Since: Nov 7, 2009
Posted on: July 30, 2011 6:58 am

UK preparing for the pros to come back to campus

I was replying to Jakelet's comment from earlier.  Rondo wasn't on the '09 team, hence why I didn't post about that game.

Since: Nov 16, 2010
Posted on: July 30, 2011 4:33 am

UK preparing for the pros to come back to campus

Calipari is not only the smartest college coach around, he is probably the most ethical and nicest.  He has to be.  He is so far ahead of everyone else, the losers of the world want to believe he cheats.  He just happens to be a super coach who likes kids and coaching.

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: July 30, 2011 1:27 am

UK preparing for the pros to come back to campus

This is almost a non story. I see the UK guys going after the KU guys but I am pretty sure there are many other schools with NBA guys on campus. Not all of them (UK or others) are going to enroll and not all of them are NBA All-Stars (Rondo) but most are playing pick-up bb ball this summer on campus with present teams (this is legal.)

What puzzles me is why the UK folks feel the need to defend coach Calipari over every comment? I understand why others are lobbing shots but do you really mean to be telegraphing that those shots are hitting home? I have nothing against a budding rivalry, especially since KU and UK will play in Madison Square Garden. Perhaps that game will be a forerunner to a later matchup as well.

UK is not the team with the most picks in the past 5 years and not even alone ahead of everyone in lottery picks. They have had success in getting guys drafted lately and many of us are interested to see if this one-and-done revolving door system can actually gain coach Calipari his first championship. I guess in that regard KU fans have bragging rights <shrug>.

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