Calipari: The NBA Draft is Kentucky's "graduation day"
07/02/2015 04:18 PM
LEXINGTON — After the players and their families, there might not have been a happier and more proud attendee at last week’s 2015 NBA Draft in Brooklyn, New York than Kentucky’s own John Calipari.
Coach Cal was in the Big Apple to congratulate his four former players who were picked in the lottery — Karl-Anthony Towns (No. 1 to Minnesota), Willie Cauley-Stein (No. 6 to Sacramento), Trey Lyles (No. 12 to Utah), and Devin Booker (No. 13 to Phoenix) — tying an NBA record for most players from one school in a single year. (North Carolina, 2005)
Two of Calipari’s other players, Andrew Harrison (No. 44 to Phoenix, traded to Memphis) and Dakari Johnson (No. 48 to Oklahoma City), were not in attendance but were still selected as second-round picks, increasing Kentucky’s total 2015 draftee haul to six players — tying its own NBA record from 2012.
But despite Cal’s success, naysayers have criticized the Naismith Hall of Famer for turning Kentucky into a one-and-done factory instead of keeping kids at school for four years.
Calipari took to his own website (CoachCal.com) on Wednesday night to defend his players who’ve gone pro earlier, labeling the NBA Draft as “a different form of graduation” for the University of Kentucky.
Calipari posted segments of his comments on Twitter as well:
People ask me, “Why do you go to the draft?” My answer: This is the culmination of a whole lot of work and dreaming. http://t.co/oMRBgnN2DK— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) July 1, 2015
Some say it’s for recruiting. What helps our recruiting is players getting drafted – not me being at the draft. http://t.co/oMRBgnN2DK— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) July 1, 2015
For as long as I have guys in the Green Room for their graduation, I’ll be there. http://t.co/oMRBgnN2DK— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) July 1, 2015
KSTV discussed Calipari’s piece on Thursday’s show, explaining that an NBA graduation is just as valuable — and often more lucrative — than a four-year degree for Kentucky basketball student-athletes. Plus, Wildcat players can always come back to school and finish their degree after their pro careers end.