John Calipari just wrapped up an appearance on Kentucky Sports Radio, and he had a bit of swag to him. After some draft talk, Cal turned his sights on next season, the motto for which he says is “Next Man Up.”
“The motto right now is ‘next man up.’ I see–and I’ve been wrong before–I could see 5, 4, 6 guys being drafted off this team,” Cal said, comparing this group to the 2011 team with Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb, DeAndrew Liggins, Darius Miller, and Josh Harrellson.
“Alex comes back, when he’s 100%, he’s going to be one the best players in the country,” Cal said, also praising Marcus Lee, who got stuck behind three first-round draft picks. “Now it’s his time to step up.”
And don’t forget Skal. “If Skal does what I think he can do, we’re probably looking at the opportunity to be the #1 pick like Karl, like Anthony, like those guys.”
Cal echoed the praise we’ve been hearing for Charles Matthews and Mychal Mulder so far. “Charles is better than everyone thinks. I’m telling you, when you see him, especially with Tyler. Mychal can absolutely shoot and gives us some veteran [presence].”
How about his two guards, Tyler Ulis and Isaiah Briscoe? “Everyone loves Tyler,” Cal said. “Isaiah right now is out in USA Basketball. I just called out there and they said he’s a man. He’s lost some weight, he’s in great shape, he’s going to play on a team where he can lead and he can do his thing. He becomes like Eric Bledsoe for us. He can play either position.”
Cal confirmed that other teams used the platoon system as a negative recruiting tactic against him this spring. “It was, and I don’t blame them. You think they’re going to cheer for us? They’re not going to cheer for us. They’re going to do whatever they can and say whatever they can to beat us and get the wagon move the other way.”
Speaking of recruiting, Cal hinted there’s still space to add another player to this roster–cough, cough, Jamal Murray. “We might. We’re always looking. Recruiting never ends for us. That could happen.”
Even without Murray, Cal sounds pretty pumped about his new squad.
“I’m looking at this year saying, ‘next man up. Who wants this?'”
Here’s Cal’s entire interview. I’ll have more of his quotes up about the draft here in a minute.