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Calipari: “I will be shouting from mountain tops” if NBA lets high schoolers go directly to D-League

It’s been eleven years since the NBA instituted the “one-and-done” rule, and John Calipari is still being asked about it. On this morning’s SEC Coaches Teleconference, Cal was asked about the possibility of the NBA switching from the one-and-done rule to letting high schoolers go directly to the D-League (I refuse to call it the G-League), and, well, it’s safe to say he’s not a fan.

“You’re talking about a 17-year-old leaving his bed in his home with his mother who is waking him up and walking into a man’s world right now. Or, you go to college and you get a gap year. Maybe you stay two years. So, whatever we do, I’ll be on record if we’re trying to get kids to go the D-League and if it’s a baseball rule and we give $20 million contracts right out of high school and the NBA thinks they can deal with that, I’m good. I’m fine. If they’re trying to get kids in high school to go to the D-League, I will be shouting from mountain tops, saying, what is this going to do to a generation of kids who say, alright, I’m going to do this. You get one or two years to make it and now you’re out, without any opportunities. Who’s taking care of those kids now?”

Cal preached the value of the one-and-done rule, which he says forced kids to focus on their academics enough to make it at least one year in college. Cal was skeptical at the time, but admitted today it’s one of the few things the NCAA has gotten right.

“So, what the NCAA did was challenge kids to do well. If you really want to do this and go to college and have a gap year and prepare, or maybe stay in school two or three or four years, you’ve got to get your academics up to these standards. Well, I thought it would shut people out. Very rarely do I speak highly of the NCAA, but in this case, what it did was it challenged a generation of kids to do better academically, to be on point, to get themselves where they need to go. The NCAA reported this year we had the highest graduation rate in men’s basketball for African Americans. Ever. Ever.”

Wait for it, wait for it…you know it’s coming!

“So, my kids all finish the term. I don’t know where they got this, ‘They don’t go to school,’ that’s all — look, it’s kind of like fake news, if you say it enough, it becomes what’s real. It’s not real. My kids have lifetime scholarships.”

The same reporter asked a follow up question about the one-and-done rule, which led to this classic exchange.

Reporter: “Do you think the one-and-done rule has been good for college basketball?”

Calipari: “Have I think it’s been what?”

Reporter: “Has it been good for college basketball or has it hurt college basketball?”

Calipari: “It depends on your perspective — Excuse me?”

Reporter: “When you see all the freshmen that were drafted in the first round?”

Calipari: “Say that again what you just said? I thought you said, is it good or bad for college basketball. What do you mean?”

Reporter: “When you see all the freshmen that were drafted in the first round, has it been good or bad?”

Calipari: “Well, I think it’s been good for those kids, what do you think?”

LOL. Listen to that awkward exchange below.


Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

12 Comments for Calipari: “I will be shouting from mountain tops” if NBA lets high schoolers go directly to D-League

  1. T-wah
    1:34 pm June 26, 2017 Permalink

    I personally don’t like the concept of allowing kids to skip college, go straight to the D league, and then to the NBA. Has nothing to do with not going to college. Think about D league salaries and lack of exposure. One thing the one year of college experience does provide is high-profile exposure. To me, that’s probably the biggest advantage for many of these one-and-done guys. In order for the D league concept to become viable for many kids, the NBA would have to look at salary structures and possibly expanding tv contracts.

    • Wilfred Smith
      1:48 pm June 26, 2017 Permalink

      But it’s okay for baseball, hockey, golf, and tennis?

    • BigBlueMeade
      2:42 pm June 26, 2017 Permalink

      Those systems are set up entirely differently. Such as baseball kids being able to come to college after entering the draft once.

    • T-wah
      2:56 pm June 26, 2017 Permalink

      Also, many of the baseball kids (for example) actually sign multi-million dollar contracts to play their way through the minor leagues to get ready for the majors. Unfortunately, if basketball players play in the D league, the average salary is in the mid-$20k range. Hard to make a living off that. That’s just one of many differences. Between basketball “minor leagues” and those of other sports.

  2. Sentient Third Eye
    1:40 pm June 26, 2017 Permalink

    Surely not even the NCAA is stupid enough to throw high schoolers to the wolves by allowing them to enter the D-League. That would absolutely destroy a lot of kids lives. Oh, the cream would make it through fine, but the borderline kids would be out-of-luck with no college opportunity, no networking opportunity by playing for an elite coach (D-League coaches are competent journeymen at best), and no chance to better themselves.

    • Peas and Carrots
      1:48 pm June 26, 2017 Permalink

      The NCAA didn’t make the one and done rule and doesn’t have any input in potential rule changes. The rule is an agreement made between the NBA owners and the NBA Players Association.

    • Sentient Third Eye
      2:10 pm June 26, 2017 Permalink

      I knew that, but I just accidentally typed NCAA instead of NBA. It’s very frustrating not having an edit function. Anyway, thank you for the fix!

    • Kernel Sanders
      5:49 pm June 26, 2017 Permalink

      Granted, one and done has destroyed less lives than if kids were allowed to go directly to the draft. But c’mon, to act like a 19 year old kid ALWAYS makes better, more mature decisions than an 18 year old kid is not right either. Daniel Orton? And I hate to say but is Isaac Humphries’ path really that much different now than it would have been had he decided not to come to UK?

      If a kid can join the military right out of high school and potentially give up his life as a teen, then why can’t he declare for the draft?

      I like the baseball rule. Come to college, stay 3 years. Or don’t come at all.

  3. binarysolo
    1:47 pm June 26, 2017 Permalink

    Cal will be shouting from mountain tops saying, “And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my one-and-dones.”

  4. bankerbh
    8:26 pm June 26, 2017 Permalink

    Cal never discusses the impact to college basketball. Always dodges and avoids answering the question. It would definitely change the landscape of college basketball by not having that talent play at the collegiate level for 1 or 2 seasons. Would force someone like Cal to have to coach the lower level talent (relative to today’s talent) and that could be problematic.