As we near the unfortunate reality that the one and done rule may be coming to an end in the next few years, talking heads from both sides always have their opinion, and if there’s ever an opinion to be had in college basketball, of course, Jay Bilas has one too.
To Bilas’ credit, he has been one of the most prominent advocates for college athletes to get at least some compensation for their contributions to the university through athletics for as long as it has been a topic of discussion.
So in what seems to be Bilas’ anti-college stance until athletes get paid, it was almost no surprise when at Thursday’s NBA Draft, Bilas suggested that no college basketball program produces an NBA talent. Essentially, without college, the players you see in the NBA would be unaffected.
Interesting article on college programs with the most pros. One thing: college programs don’t “produce” pros, they recruit them. Good coaches at every level help players improve, but don’t “produce” pros. Which NBA team “produces” the most NBA All-Stars? https://t.co/YhKYGvV0qp
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) June 17, 2019
Coach Cal, who has prided himself and the UK basketball program on the success of their players in the NBA over the last ten years obviously didn’t take Bilas’ comments lightly.
“I don’t agree,” said Coach Cal at yesterday’s press conference. “What about Tyler Herro? What about Eric Bledsoe? I don’t know; maybe I’m missing something.”
Cal honestly could’ve added Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to that list as well.
Before last season started, everyone had the idea that Herro would play a six man role, who could make an outside jumper to spark a team. Being only ranked four stars and ranked at No. 37 in 247Sports’ composite ranking of high school senior, nobody predicted Herro to go in the lottery a year later.
Same can be said for Shai. Once a four-star Florida commit ranked 31st, people thought he would back up Quade Green in the 2017-18 season, and be a steady two to three year player at Kentucky, but now he is a centerpiece on a rising Clippers team that made the playoffs this season after he was also selected in the lottery.
That doesn’t happen if he doesn’t come to Kentucky, and Cal backed up that claim.
“Everybody must have missed on those kids, and we just evaluated them right,” Cal sarcastically said. “I think there’s two things that come out of this: How are our kids, 75% of them, get second and third contracts? There are other schools who are evaluating just like us, and their kids don’t seem to make it, and when they do make it, it’s about 15% or 20%.”
“What about Tyler Herro? What about Eric Bledsoe?”
“It doesn’t matter what school you go to, you’re going to make it if you’re supposed to. Do you believe that’s true?”
— Alex Walker (@AlexWalkerTV) June 23, 2019
“I don’t agree with him,” Cal addressed Bilas’ statement head-on. “I think there’s a culture that we have, a system, a process that we have in developing them with an idea of what the end result will be.”
Cal emphasized that during the season it’s about trying to win, but he’s still giving each player the tools to be successful at the next level.
“How many of our guys have gone in the NBA and not known how to defend?” Cal continued. “How many players in the NBA draft as rooking are going in as volume shooters? None. They went to a school to be the volume shooter; now you’re on a team where you’re not the volume shooter. You got to know how to play, and our kids can do both.”
And he’s right, did you know Anthony Davis took the fourth most shots on the 2012 National Championship team?
“I want you to hear: It doesn’t matter what school you go to. You’re going to make it if you’re supposed to. Do you believe that’s true? Does anybody believe that’s true?” Cal said.
“That’s not what I say,” he said. “But to say it doesn’t matter, I don’t know.”
Tyler Herro seemed to agree with his coach, as well.
???? I know I chose the right school ???????????????????? https://t.co/y1m6UTahHm
— Tyler Herro (@raf_tyler) June 23, 2019
What’s your take on Bilas’ comments?