Coach Cal’s Combine: What does it mean for Kentucky Basketball?
05/04/2011 03:03 PM
What do you do when you’re the head coach of an elite NCAA program that brings in #1 recruiting classes during the era of one-and-dones? Well… host a combine for your team’s NBA prospects, of course.
That’s exactly what Coach Calipari has done at the University of Kentucky this year for freshman Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones, junior DeAndre Liggins, and senior Josh Harrellson. How many colleges across America can do that?
Lexington saw scouts from at least 20 different NBA teams on May 2nd and 3rd trying to evaluate the player’s potential futures. Although Kentucky’s coaches could not participate or attend the workouts, Calipari is confident the guys would get honest feedback from the event.
So how does having an NBA Combine help Kentucky? The answer is simple.
Not only are the players deciding whether or not to enter the draft helped out by having more time in front of NBA teams, but also Kentucky itself is benefitting from the publicity. In homes all across America, high school kids are catching wind that UK is hosting its own combine. Regardless, if it’s ever done again, the highly touted recruits and their families see the power of Kentucky basketball at this moment.
It’s no question that the one-and-done mentality is hard for fans to cope with, but it is the reality of college basketball today. If a coach is hired to recruit, sign, and develop the best student-athletes available (and is good at it like Calipari), then the potential of having them leave early is always going to be there.
Even though it’s nearly impossible to do, put UK’s long and powerful tradition aside for a second. Having a coach that understands the player’s perspective, that has a system in place to develop guards and big men alike, and who also produces talent like Tyreke Evans, John Wall, Demarcus Cousins, and 2011 NBA MVP Derrick Rose puts Kentucky on the top of the list of every single student-athlete out there.
Coach Cal hosting a combine for Knight, Jones, Liggins, and Harrellson only adds to the certainty that Kentucky is the place for the best.