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Cal says he wouldn’t encourage any players to enter draft right now

In what is a testament to how frustrated he is with his team’s play at the moment, John Calipari changed one of his favorite tunes a bit Friday afternoon, saying that as of this moment, he wouldn’t encourage any of his players to enter the NBA Draft at the end of the season, though still noting that point is still a good bit away.  Cal’s comments came during a meeting with the media where he expressed frustration with his team’s inability to win close basketball games, questioned their toughness and said they’re all making too many excuses.  You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would disagree with any of those sentiments and after a year of trying to motivate them in a number of different ways, Cal appears to have gone straight to where it might matter most:  their future.  With three critical games remaining as their last chance to build confidence and put the “crisis mode” behind them, hopefully it hits home.

Article written by Thomas Beisner

43 Comments for Cal says he wouldn’t encourage any players to enter draft right now

  1. Burlington_UK_fan
    3:28 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    Knight, Lamb, Jones, Gilchrist, Teague, Davis. Jr., Wilter…..and then I woke up.

  2. Burlington_UK_fan
    3:28 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink


  3. Wall2Cousins
    3:29 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    screw the NBA these Freshman need to learn to win on the road… welcome back boys!!

  4. TSlone08
    3:29 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    NCAA wouldn’t even let that team compete.. It would be cheating.

  5. UKFAN97
    3:32 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    Probably just coach talk trying to get the most out of the guys the last few weeks, but can’t imagine how awesome it would be to have everyone back next year!

  6. hersheyisabear
    3:33 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    This sounds promising.

  7. Al's IndiCats
    3:36 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    If body language says anything, after listening to the radio this morning I went back to the last game and sure enough, Jones walked away from the huddle during a time out. My money says he’s gone after this year. I think unless Knight and Lamb just absolutly lights it up during the SEC and NCAA tournaments they’ll be back. Or at least I would hope so. I wouldn’t mind seeing Terrence going for his soph season, but he has a lot to learn.

    3:37 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    1. Don’t forget Miller/Liggins. Possible Lacey.. That is more talent than 96. And if the two year rule goes into effect, can you say 2 year run… Woot…. Now I am waking up.

  9. Runnin'Ramel
    3:42 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    Jones is excited about March Madness, per his Twitter. You never know, a small factor could be if UK doesn’t do well in this tourney, they get motivated to join next year’s recruits to make a FF run.

  10. SC Cat Fan
    3:43 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    I agree with his assessment. All of these boys would just ride the bench in the pro’s right now.

  11. codeblue
    3:43 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    well played Cal, well played …

  12. Assistant Coach
    3:44 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    NBA: Jones – likely. Knight – 50/50. Lamb – unlikley. I agree with Cal, none are ready.

  13. Cat fan33
    3:48 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    I agree overall but what is it with not playing some sort of zone (2-3) on inbound plays under the opposing team’s goal. I know most colleges are doing it now but one miscue and the other team gets an easy basket – like at Arkansas?

  14. UK4eva-n-eva
    3:54 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    yay us

  15. paducahfan
    3:54 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    Who’s attending class? That should tell who’s coming back, although with Knight, he would probably work hard in the classroom even if he was going.

    3:55 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    Jones is good & he has been told that all his life, but he isn’t that good yet. As soon as he learns how to go to the hole without getting his shot constantly blocked, learns how to dribble the ball, learns how to make better decisions, and learns how to shoot with his right hand when he gets trapped; then he can talk about going to the NBA. Jones would be out of his f’ing mind if he jumps to the NBA. Jones needs a lot of work !!

    Lamb needs to wake the hell up before he tries going to the NBA. He shows so little emotion, he looks like he’s sleep walking. Someone also needs to show him how to defend someone.

    Knight needs to learn how to stop throwing the ball away, and start making better decisions. Someone also needs to teach this kid some defense.

    Liggens needs to grow up !!

    Miller needs to learn how to throw out all the crap he has in his head.

    Nothing worse than wasted talent.

    Cal needs to send these kids over to observe a Pitino practice.

  17. Drivin' me crazy....
    3:59 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    Speaking of a 2-3, it would be nice to see it from time to time during games to save these kids legs. Running with 6, man to man pressure all over the court, they seem to be a little gassed at the end of games. Just sayin….

  18. knightynight
    3:59 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    It’s funny to me how fans hang on every word Cal says…whether good or bad. He hasn’t said anything about players going to NBA this seasson but everyone is pissed that he recruits the wrong players to win championships…now everyone is back on the bandwaagon and positive again.

  19. loosedeuce
    4:03 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    Allow me to sum up #16s thoughts:

  20. Really?
    4:17 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    Wow… We are reduced to talking bout next year before March 1st… Let’s rally And make an elite 8 or final 4 this year! Go blue

  21. JackNicklaus
    4:18 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    A zone occassionally would really help. Stop the drives to the basket (see Rotnei C.), improve rebounding, allow Hood/Poole/Vargas to give the guys a little break. Until we get that lighting quick/smaller guard (see Teague), we will continue to struggle w/ stopping the opponents guard driving around us so often.
    I do not expect this to happen, however, as Coach is heck-bent on M2M no matter what.

  22. Gato Salvaje
    4:21 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    I bleed blue just like most who comment here, but seriously folks, we need to be realistic. Next year’s class looks great on paper and on youtube against high school players, but just because these guys are highly ranked prospects doesn’t mean they will have the impact of Wall/Cousins (as freshmen). One big question is how well will next year’s team play defense. Another is whether we will have consistent rebounding and a low-post presence (Davis is a tall drink of water, Jones is not coming back). I’m not trying to rain on the party – we will have a ton of talent and potential next year, especially if Knight/Lamb return, and I feel ten times better about Cal’s recruits than Tubby/Billy’s – but whether or not that translates into a final four-caliber team is something that is premature to say until they actually play some college games.

  23. bleedsblueinbama
    4:22 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    I say nobody leaves for the NBA. I love them, they are super talented, but they are just not tough enough at this point to go to the next level. Win/Win for everyone I say! I do think that Poole will transfer since he has seen any minutes.

  24. minton
    4:33 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    None of them are quite ready yet but will be in the future for sure. Next year we will be soooooo stacked.

  25. so sad
    4:39 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    this is the best coaching cal has done all year!!!

  26. justin jolly
    4:49 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    lets hope cal is right but even if hes just mad dontforget we still have the lockout in our favore . now lets kick some gator ass tomo.

  27. KYStout
    4:52 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    There isn’t a single NBA ready kid on this team. Not one.

  28. El_Duderino
    4:52 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    All these players are D-League at best! Jones couldn’t handle the pressure of the NBA, right now.

  29. Mark Liptak
    4:57 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    Given that according to a story in S.I. this week, there is a good chance they NBA will not have a season next year anyway, these kids will have little choice…try to get a job in Europe (fighting NBA guys for that right) or stay in college.

    Mark Liptak

  30. Han
    5:22 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    5) Just a note, if he’s truly expecting all 3 star frosh back (and with Calspeak, there’s no way to know what he actually expects vs what he wants the players to hear), it would mean someone else is going to be invited to transfer if Lacey really does/has committed.

    30) The choice is between getting paid to play basketball or going to class and playing basketball. Some would choose the pay, as the challenges it brings are still unknown. Hopefully they’ll read what Bledsoe said.

  31. bluekz
    5:30 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    I could be wrong, but I thought Knight had already said that he planned on staying longer than one year.

  32. jaybruce
    5:33 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    lol I love cal, but I always wonder just what percentage of what he says, he actually believes himself. He tries to motivate people different ways. Obviously some will get their hopes up, but Jones is going pro. He’s a top 10 pick. He is going to go barring something completely unforseen like an injury or he complete bombs out the rest of the season/SEC/NCAA tourney, which I think we can all agree we wouldn’t want either to happen to the kid. The question is about Knight and hopefully not lamb. Knight is a late 1st rounder to most. Which means he very well could go. But there is also the potential of him staying. From a pure basketball point of view, there really shouldn’t be a question of whether or not lamb goes. He’s a second round pick at best at this point in time, and could go undrafted. But I realize people keep saying he’s the most intent on the NBA and he is in cal’s doghouse, but realistically I just can’t see him making that decision. Ultimately if even only lamb returns UK will have a very good team. With 3 elite prospects with great athleticism, to go along with lambs shooting, and liggins/miller, and post depth in the form of wiltjer. Honestly I dont want to be a downer, cuz if both knight/lamb return the talent on that team would be immense, but I could really forsee ego issues. As there will just be so many players that fit a similar profile there are going to be serious playing time issues. If cal negotiated that well, the team’s potential would be thru the roof. But I guess I just wonder how happy everyone is going to be with the playing time situation. I would be very content if only lamb returns. I love knight and if both the guards return the potential would certainly outwieght the negatives and I would trust cal to find a solution but I would be curious how it would work itself out.

  33. Blueburg
    5:39 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    They need to come back- even Jones. Terrence is finding his game. Knight needs more work at being a leader and not just a scorer and though I like Lamb the best of all 3, he certanly isn’t ready. But we need to take all this one step at a time. Let’s see how things wind up this year. They need to win at least one non-Rupp game against a quality opponent. Everybody is beating SC and that was weeks ago so let’s not kid ourselves. These kids need to develop more of a hunger than they’ve had this year. A win at TN would be a good start. Then they have something to build upon. All they have right now is this monkey on their back of not being able to win on the road. This team lacks the confidence and swagger they need to come back with some leadership rather than one of the freshman having to be forced into that role.

  34. sillybstrd027
    5:41 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    Key words…RIGHT NOW.

  35. Bledsoe's Biceps
    5:56 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    I love all the NBA talent experts on here. If a kid has been told he is likely to be a 1st round pick, he is likely to go, regardless whether YOU think he is ready or not. And even if he washes out in 3-5 years he’ll still have made more money than most make in a lifetime. Was Randolph Morris or Orton ready for the NBA. Hell no, but can you match their bank accounts?

  36. The BCG Experience
    6:08 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    It doesn’t matter what Cal has to say though — all it would take for Jones to leave, regardless of whether he’s ready, are mock drafts and runners telling him he’ll be a high pick.

    Even if we lose in the first round with Jones having his worst collegiate game he’s still gone.

  37. Ray Boone
    6:22 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    None of us really know what these guys will do. Cal could just be trying to motivate them.

    Factors that will affect their decision to come back or not:
    -Coach Cal’s advice
    -Their homeboys tellin them how good they be

    Factors what won’t affect their decision:
    -Playing in the 2012 final four for like totally the best team evar!!!!11
    -The 2011 recruiting class
    -Loyalty to UK fans
    -Whether or not UK fans support them
    -Whether or not they are actually ready to contribute to an NBA team.

  38. Big Blue Swagger
    6:51 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    If you were in college and offered a minimum starting salary of $485,600 would you stay in school to earn your degree??? I sure as hell wouldn’t. I have a master’s degree and have been in the professional world for 4 years and I’m not making anything near that.
    Jones is gone, he’s projected as a lottery pick. If he stays then I’ll be even more impressed with Cal’s ability to persuade & influence players than I am now. Too bad the NBA drafts on potential.

  39. anothercatfan
    6:58 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    @ 38 Ray Boone:

    The Mike Leach “fat little girlfriends” speech keeps flashing in my mind when I read your comment! 🙂

  40. old_school
    10:17 pm February 25, 2011 Permalink

    Following the Cat’s final game (probably sometime in mid-March) we’ll see the following:

    Harrelson will graduate (good job Josh! and thanks for everything)

    Liggins (will explore his professional options – maybe even decide to play overseas)

    Jones is gone to NBA
    Lamb is gone to NBA or CNBA or D-League or anywhere but class
    Knight ???
    Hood will transfer and average 11-12 points next year at a mid-major or higher.
    Poole will transfer and might develolp as well.

    That will leave the following for next year’s team:

    Knight (Maybe)
    That transfer from Mississippi who averaged 1.2 ppg.
    and a boatload of talented but unproven freshmen.

    What we’ll also see and hear:

    UK Fans will talk about how we’re gonna be so come October because our freshmen all have multiple stars next to their names.

    Cal will talk about how Liggins, Jones and Lamb reached their dreams, which he said is his priority as coach of UK – never mind his 10-loss season.

    Cal and his supporters will silence any realistic critics by posting You-Tube videos of this year’s high school juniors and we’ll start hearinga bout how “sick we gonna be” come 2012-13.

    Rinse and repeat…

  41. Andrew
    12:16 am February 26, 2011 Permalink

    Potential is all the NBA cares about, so quite frankly it does not matter that I would not want any of our players on my pro roster. They will salivate over the player Jones will eventually become.

    I think Cal is going to need to look at the way he recruits. I agree with everyone here who has pointed out the cycle which could perpetuate itself for years to come. Cal gets 3 to 5 5 star kids each season. He does not develop the bench players so that they can give a few mins. each half saving the legs of the starters. We have tired, talented, but ridiculously stupid freshmen starring for our teams year in and year out. We never see their best basketball because the NBA is salivating over the youth and potential and drafts 2 to three of the freshmen each year. Cycle repeats. I know he did not think bledsoe and Orton would leave, but still it happened and it looks dangerous to not take a serious look at this process.

    I love Cal. He gets the job, he understands the fanbase and the passion, but you absolutely cannot lose to the SEC teams we have lost to no matter what your situation.

    I said this earlier, but you could count on Tubby’s teams coming out having fixed problems from the first half. EVERY SINGLE GAME. I do not see that here.

  42. Catmandoo
    11:40 am February 26, 2011 Permalink

    its going to be a all american team if we pick up lacey and another PF we have a 10 man rotation next year, the game will be played in a different gear they will be able to fly up and down the floor with disregard of fatigue it is going to be a great year I cannot wait. I still believe we can still make a deep run this year but next year is going to be special

  43. manbearpig
    4:31 pm February 26, 2011 Permalink

    #43 WHAT do you see in this team that makes you make a statement about a “deep run” this year? PLEASE explain…