John Calipari picked up the phone and talked to the media today over the sound of intense jackhammering at the UK basketball practice facility. He talked about his 2017 NBA draft prospects, the one-and-done rule, coaching Team USA, the health of one of us his players, and much, much more.
Here are five quotes that stood out:
“If I wasn’t comfortable, I wouldn’t go.”
John Calipari is not worried about his upcoming trip to Cairo for the FIBA World Cup. He admitted that he was curious how it would go, but now he’s very comfortable in Team USA’s travel plans with the safety precautions in place. He said the president of Egypt is even assisting in the safe passage of the Americans during their time overseas.
“Kentucky eats first. I’m not saying that to be arrogant. You know it.”
There’s my favorite quote of the 30-minute teleconference. In talking about what will happen to the program if the one-and-done rules goes to something else, Cal said, “Kentucky eats first. I’m not saying that to be arrogant. You know it.”
He also said he’d like to see the NBA adopt the MLB’s draft system, but doesn’t expect that will ever happen.
“My plan is to be at the draft.”
Will Calipari miss the draft for the first time since he’s been Kentucky’s coach? Nope. Despite his commitment to Team USA’s training camp in Colorado June 18-25, Cal plans to sneak away to be in the green room with his Cats on draft night. It must be nice to have unlimited access to a private jet, huh?
“I think he’ll be fine.”
Calipari expects Jarred Vanderbilt will be back to playing basketball in about two weeks. Vanderbilt hasn’t been able to go full speed since suffering an injury in the Jordan Brand Classic back in April, but UK’s medical team looked him over and they believe he’ll be good to go in the coming weeks. Great news.
“If we go to 20 games we won’t have a series with North Carolina, so I’m not for it.”
Yesterday it was reported that the Big Ten will likely go to 20 regular season conference games, and Michigan State’s Tom Izzo supports the change. Calipari, on the other hand, doesn’t want to see the same for the SEC. He said if it does, UK will lose important non-conference series, like the one with North Carolina.