Not counting the four players who left UK when John Calipari arrived, there have been a total of 12 players who have transferred from Kentucky in the 11 years that Cal has been here. For comparison’s sake, in the 11 years before that 21 players had transferred from Kentucky. So the reality is the attrition rate from transfers has declined under Calipari. Of course, you have to admit the one and done system has contributed to that because players are here and gone so much quicker now and don’t have chances to transfer. Nonetheless, there have been 12 under Cal. So here are my 2 questions:
- Which of Calipari’s transfers hurts you the worst?
- Outside of the Calipari era, who hurts you worst?
Here are my 3 from outside the Calipari era:
Michael Bradley (Villanova)
00-01: 20.8 ppg, 9.8 rpg
Bradley was an absolute beast at Villanova during his one year. He was stuck beginh Jamal Magloire in the rotation but I’d like to wonder how much better the 2000 and 2001 squads would have been with Bradley as a very capable player in the rotation.
Myron Anthony (TCU)
99-00: 10.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg
00-01: 14.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg
Anthony had issues throughout his time at Kentucky and didn’t seem to have the best relationship with Tubby Smith. But again, he proved to be a very capable player at TCU and his final 2 years would have been 2000 and 2001, when the team could have used him. Who is to say he could have ever made it work with Tubby but the talent was absolutely there.
Rod Rhodes (USC)
95-96: 14.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg
The way Rhodes tenure ended at Kentucky is too bad because people will never realize just how good a player he was. Rhodes was likely on his way to being a Top 10-15 scorer in school history. He would have been a part of the 1996 title team. As good as that team was, just imagine another guy like Rhodes, long and athletic, being on that squad. Yes, his relationship with Pitino was toxic and it was probably best for all for him to leave, but his impact on the program still should not be understated.
And my guy from the Calipari era:
Charles Matthews (Michigan)
17-18: 13.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg
18-19: 12.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg
When it comes to transfers I always think about the teams that missed out on these guys. Imagine Matthews on the wing with Monk, Fox, and Bam on the ’17 squad. Matthews might have been the top option on the ’18 teams. He certainly would have been a dynamic 1-2 punch with Kevin Knox. And what about ’19? You could argue that if Matthews would have been on those 3 teams, you would have had the best team in the country in ’17 and ’19 and the ’18 team would have certainly been improved. Whereas many Calipari transfers have flamed out or been non-factors at their new schools, Matthews was a significant contributor on a Final Four and Sweet 16 teams. I think he is the most damaging transfer of the Calipari era.