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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: The Most Telling Calipari-NBA Draft Stat

Image result for ron mercer nba draft

Tonight is the night that John Calipari dreams of each year.  And certainly that bothers many fans but it is just the reality.  He laid all the cards on the table in Year 1 when he called that draft night the biggest night in UK history.  You can hate it all you want but this strategy has still brought UK a national title, 4 Final Fours, a boatload of SEC championships, and a generation of NBA stars.  But if there is one stat that represents the imprint that John Calipari has made in the NBA, it is this one:

PRE-CALIPARI 1st ROUND PICKS (28): Groza, Wah Wah Jones, Ramsey, Riley, Payne, Grevey, Robey, Givens, Macy, Bowie, Turpin, K. Walker, Chapman, Ellis, Mills, Mashburn, Rhodes, A. Walker, Delk, McCarty, Mercer, Anderson, Mohammed, Padgett, Magloire, Bradley, Prince, Rondo

CALIPARI 1st ROUND PICKS (26): Wall, Cousins, Patterson, Bledsoe, Orton, Kanter, Knight, Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, T. Jones, Teague, Noel, Goodwin, Randle, Young, Towns, Cauley-Stein, Lyles, Booker, Murray, Labissiere, Fox, Monk, Adebayo, Knox, Gilgeous-Alexander

Consider if Washington, Herro, and Johnson all get selected in the 1st round tonight, John Calipari will have more 1st round NBA Draft picks in his 10 years than in the 62 years previous to that.  Add to that, Leron Ellis, Chris Mills, Michael Bradley and Rod Rhodes are all counted on the first list even though they transferred from Kentucky before getting drafted.  So if you remove them, Cal already has more draft picks than all others before him.

It’s a tough balance and ultimately, it is what divides this fanbase more than any other.  The undeniable fact that Calipari has brought in as much talent in 10 years as any coach in UK history by a long shot and his promotion of that fact.  And the other side of the coin which is if that should have brought more titles.  Nonetheless, the NBA imprint that Kentucky has made in the last decade removed a commonly used argument against the program, which was lack of NBA success.  And John Calipari should be celebrated for that.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

12 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: The Most Telling Calipari-NBA Draft Stat



  1. KYBOY1
    10:21 am June 20, 2019 Permalink

    That is very impressive BUT teams and coaches are measured by success not by how many players have been drafted in the first round. I bet at least 50% of these players would have gone in the first round out of high school as the NBA has put most emphasis now days on potential. I think Coach Cal is doing a great job so please don’t misinterpret what I am saying to think I am a hater.



    • nocode96
      11:22 am June 20, 2019 Permalink

      I’m like the way you put this. While I may not fully agree, then again I may, I can appreciate a differing opinion when it’s put out like this.



    • 4everUKblue
      1:44 pm June 20, 2019 Permalink

      Not in any way painting you as a hater but Cal does so much more than get the players drafted in the first round. He prepares them for the draft and the NBA, how to stay humble and give back, how to grow into honorable young men. You don’t read about his players getting into drunken street fights (Jahliil) or other off the court issues. As much as I like to win, there is so much more to life than winning a ballgame and I sometimes forget that.



  2. treeham3
    11:02 am June 20, 2019 Permalink

    Success is measured by a number of things. If you value championships as the ultimate sign of success then Cal is doing ok. If you measure the change of people’s lives and circumstances by getting kids into the NBA and thereby reaching their dreams (playing the game they love, providing for their families, and helping to shape them into men of character) then he is wildly successful as is the university. Kentucky is and has been more than relevant on the national stage of college basketball which is something the fan base cried out for prior to his becoming head coach. I love seeing the team do well and winning each year, but I’m proud of the job he’s doing with these young men.



  3. frankengland
    11:03 am June 20, 2019 Permalink

    It should be noted the Dan Issel and Louie Dampier we’re first round picks in the ABA draft, bring all former coaches to 30 and Cal to 26



    • 4everUKblue
      11:13 am June 20, 2019 Permalink

      According to Wikipedia Dampier was a fourth round pick (38th overall) and Issel was an 8th round pick (122 overall) so that brings all former coaches back to 28 and Cal still at 26.



    • 4everUKblue
      12:02 pm June 20, 2019 Permalink

      In the NBA, I didn’t notice any mention of the ABA so….



    • frankengland
      12:09 pm June 20, 2019 Permalink

      Issel was the 5th overall pick in the ABA to the Kentucky Colonels, and Dampier was also drafted in the first round to the Colonels on 67



  4. frankengland
    12:05 pm June 20, 2019 Permalink

    They were selected so low in the NBA draft because they had already been drafted in the ABA.



    • nocode96
      12:19 pm June 20, 2019 Permalink

      You’re making a good point, and I get it, but what 4everUKblue is arguing (correctly) is that the ABA and NBA are two separate entities. This article and associated stat are about NBA drafts, not professional drafts.



    • 4everUKblue
      1:36 pm June 20, 2019 Permalink

      Thanks nocode96, that’s exactly what I was saying, I’m just not as good with details. Thanks for making it clear.



    • Luether
      5:36 pm June 20, 2019 Permalink

      Bingo, bongo, bango…