Earlier today, Sam Vecenie released his annual NBA Draft College Coaches Poll featuring anonymous quotes on this year’s draft hopefuls. The comments about Kentucky’s guys, specifically Ashton Hagans, have drawn a lot of attention, prompting a response from assistant coach Joel Justus and now, John Calipari himself.
After one coach’s quote about Ashton Hagans being “trash” made the rounds, Calipari took to Twitter to defend his guys and question the individual’s motives.
“It always disappoints me when coaches talk anonymously about kids,” Cal wrote. “I would hope that no coach would try to hurt a young person just to hurt a program. But I’ll just say it’s hard to bet against our guys because of the success we have had! And this particular group? If we would have been able to finish the season, I truly believe this would have been one of the last teams standing. Great group, wonderful and talented kids, and SEC champs! I would take every one of those kids to battle with me.”
Justus was a little more direct.
— Joel Justus (@UKCoachJustus) July 15, 2020
While Cal and Justus standing up for their players is commendable and some of those comments were particularly harsh, I think we can all agree last year’s squad didn’t have the same level of NBA talent as some of Calipari’s other teams, which makes their success even more impressive.