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John Calipari Responds to Jay Bilas’ NBA Draft Comments

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.

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%.”

“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.

What’s your take on Bilas’ comments?


Article written by Brent Wainscott

Twitter: @BrentWainscott_

57 Comments for John Calipari Responds to Jay Bilas’ NBA Draft Comments

  1. krautdog
    1:08 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

    Consider his alma mater!

    • 2andToodleLoo
      1:19 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink


    • mashburnfan1
      2:49 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      KSR will not let me speak the truth, keep moderating my comment. Basic Cal ass kissing by KSR.

    • nocode96
      3:08 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      Quit acting like you’re being oppressed idiot, if anything, KSR can’t wait to get your posts up so we can all laugh at your ignorance.

    • 4everUKblue
      2:54 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      LMAO, The truth is not in you @ss clown!

    • runningunnin.454
      3:30 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      LOL, Mash is a martyr. I, too, was the victim of moderation when replying to your statement that no team that relies on freshmen can win a title. Our 2012 team certainly relied on three starting freshmen.
      Jones and Lamb were only sophs, and Darius was the only senior.

    • catsarerunnin
      6:30 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      Bashburn isn’t a martyr. He’s Slater which means he’s the biggest douche of all douchebags.

    • 4everUKblue
      7:00 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      I can’t believe Pat Riley has not hired mashbum to evaluate talent. Does anyone think mash knows more than Pat Riley?

  2. season-3-disc-2
    1:22 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

    Bilas is only trying to help keep Coach K and Duke relevant in the recruiting world right now when it’s obvious there are many things they’re going to struggle with in the future talking to kids. Coach K is terrible at developing players absolutely terrible not a single player on his team got better from beginning to the end of this year. Zion was a better player on day one then he was in the NCAA tournament. Look at what he did to Tatum Jayson Tatum should have been the best player in college basketball the year he played for duke he had all the tools to be a superstar but for some reason the ball was being shot by the wrong players such as Grayson Allen. Everybody wants to talk about HOw coach k has choked in the NCAA tournament several years but that is a completely false and fabricated statement there’s no choking it’s simply the fact that he can’t develop players to reach their full potential. Now don’t get me wrong every school misses with some players and struggles to develop them here and there but there is a serious pattern with him and those kids. Let’s talk about Bagley he had all the tools to become a superstar in the NBA he easily should have been right up there for rookie of the year but he came into the league completely unprepared and not developed for NBA basketball. I understand he’s won national championships and he has a ton of wins and he’s well respected but it doesn’t change the fact that the proof is written all over the walls. So now he’s making phone calls to all of his buddies and X players on TV who work for all of these huge network’s trying to get them to either talk down about other schools in the way they do things or talk them up so it puts them on a level playing field and a person would say why would they need to do that their Duke well it’s simple and it’s right in front of our faces. He literally had one of the greatest teams in college basketball history this year with the talent he had and he couldn’t develop them to even make the final four and that my friends is no less than embarrassing not just for the Duke program not just for Coach K but also immensely embarrassing for college basketball

    • 4everUKblue
      1:32 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      Very well said and right on the money. You can expect a visit from the number one NOT Kentucky fan on this site, won’t mention any names but we all know of whom I speak.

    • mashburnfan1
      2:06 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      No team that has to rely on FR will win a title, been proven year after year and does not matter who the coach is. Still with that team they beat us by 34 freakin points in a game where we had the larger crowd and more experienced players.

    • nocode96
      2:28 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      Shit up nerd

    • abobicesaevior
      2:35 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      Obviously, that game is meaningless unless you want to factor in how much Duke regressed with how much UK improved. Terrible job by K last season.

    • 4everUKblue
      2:33 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      And there he is, mashbum, I told you this clown would show up. This nut job never makes a valid point. Your clown car is waiting to take you back to the circus sideshow.

    • runningunnin.454
      2:38 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      Wow, 4ever; it only took 34 minutes. Did you say his name three times… like Beetlejuice?

    • 4everUKblue
      2:55 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      I was hoping by not mentioning his name I would be proved wrong

    • 4everUKblue
      2:55 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      Guess I need to lower my expectations.

  3. 2thepoint
    1:25 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

    Not only his choice of school, but his affiliation with espn. Then throw in the jealousy makes Bilas look bad. A couple of years ago he was some better. I think espn told him to be an acc homie.

  4. VirginiaCat
    1:34 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

    I have a daughter who attends a high school that is consistently ranked as the top high school in the country. Entrance exams are highly competitive and that ensures that only the best students gain admission. There are two ways to look at it. Is it the school that produces stellar students or is it the highly talented students who make the school? I think it’s the latter and I think there is a parallel with blue blood basketball programs. When you recruit the best of the best, the potential to play at the pro level is already there. Cal did not develop Wall, Cousins, AD, et al, into pros. He helped sharpen the skills of many other players, but the pro potential was already there. There is a much smaller subset of players that Cal developed into pros. Tyler Ullis comes to mind. Bilas’ argument does not take into consideration marginal players who made it to the pros. Cal’s argument gives too much credit to the program. As with most things, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

    • 4everUKblue
      1:41 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      I wasn’t talking about this Bozo but I should’ve expected some anti-Cal comment from him.

    • nocode96
      3:10 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      Your daughter probably hates you and has developed a coke habit. Can’t blame her a bit.

    • runningunnin.454
      3:21 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      To say that college coaches do not develop even the most talented recruits is a laughable, incongruous statement. Our 2012 team was led by three freshmen; Jones and Lamb were only sophs; yeah, Miller was a senior; but, certainly not a senior led team.
      Cal develops players much more than Coach K. And espn is showing last year’s Duke games all weekend trying to camouflage K’s most recent failure.
      Did Dook win? NO

    • CATandMONKEY
      4:47 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      Your daughter, VAcat; is obviously adopted.

      5:32 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      What you’re referring to is “on court” talent. Cal develops players in other ways such as business expectation, training, etc. to develop them into NBA ready players. Their learning curve is significantly smaller than one and done’s from other programs, this is well documented, most recently by Pat Riley.

    • UKinmyblood
      11:21 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      When he said Virginia had the best high school in the country, and his daughter went there, his credibility evaporated

  5. Duuuuuude
    2:00 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

    Cal is 99% correct and Bilas about 50% wrong. Ben Simmons had horrendous coaching but is a fabulous NBA player. Jahlil Okafor was the favorite to be the #1 pick in 2015 and is pretty much a NBA bust. Doubt Okafor could have played in the NBA out of high school but he did have tremendous talent that I believe Calipari could have developed. Devin Booker was not suppose to be one and done. I think Bilas should ask Pat Riley what he thinks.

  6. Underdog
    2:05 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

    If the statistics that Calare actual facts, then that says something.

    “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%.”

    It would be great if someone getting paid at ksr would do the research to substantiate what Cal said.

    If these are true statistics, then we can throw out opinions and heated debate and let the statistics speak for themselves.

    But of course the selling point for UK grows and any intelligent parents would advise their superstar talented kid to attend UK (I’m talking to the parents of Kerry Blackshear). And any intelligent kid who’s willing to work his butt off would obviously want to come here to take advantage of the process and the system which coach Cal has made no secret is designed to prepare kids in the shortest amount of time possible for a professional career.

    Blackshear, come on, this is the place for you if you want to work hard and optimize your earning potential next year.

  7. Wildfelinebeeline
    2:13 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

    I think all the Bilas helping Duke stuff is correct! I also think his writing that has to do with limiting Blackshear’s interests in UK! Think about this: If Blackshear come to us, there’s no way Duke could run with us next year and that would end Duke recruitment highs!

  8. IndianaSucks
    2:32 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

    Not to ride the fence but they’re both right. No, colleges don’t produce “elite” NBA prospects. But colleges might develop a kid over several years to see him make it to the NBA.

  9. bbn606
    2:36 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

    Herro from 37th senior to 13th draft pick says it all.

  10. Voice of Reason
    2:56 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

    This is easy. Barrett and Zion go to UK under a more disciplined system and they win an NCAA championship.

    • 4everUKblue
      3:05 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      Bingo! But that would mean Barrett would have to share the ball.

    • Kojohnson
      3:44 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      Cal would have yanked barrett anytime he took an ill advised shot. And he would have put confidence in Cam Redding. Especially turning him into a defensive playmaker. You think of WCS, SGA, herro, etc as guys he help develop to pros. KAT and AD played the perimiter in high school. Cal especially put KAT in the paint made him go from a #10 recruit to number 1 draft pick.

  11. Logic_Prevails
    3:08 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

    It is a matter of semantics. For some players, it really does not matter what college you go to or which school you go to because you are going to be that good. RJ Barrett was always going to be a top pick and obviously a Ben Simmons. That is a very small % of the players. For vast majority of others, it matters that you go to college and then it matters where. You could probably put together an All-NBA team of players who were not highly recruited but developed well into who we know them to be today. Kawhi was developed, Giannis was developed, Kemba was developed, Butler was not on anyone’s radar. Booker, Jokic, and Draymond Green. No one would have said that these guys coming out of high school would be where they are now. There are just as many who are developed into being great as there are who are finished products at an early age if not more.

    • runningunnin.454
      3:40 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      Excellent rational logic; but, convincing Mash and Virginia is an unachievable endeavor.

  12. VirginiaCat
    3:46 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

    Gentlemen (and ladies) and nocode96, in particular: Please note that you can disagree with a posting without personally attacking the poster or involving his family. Truly reprehensible.

    • mashburnfan1
      4:02 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      You would have to have class to do that. ode and 4ever believe only their opinions count no matter how many facts you show them. Is actually comical how stupid they prove themselves to be. I even commend Cal for his life lessons he teaches our kids. Seldom, if ever, hear of a UK player in trouble. He teaches them them to give and contribute to communities. Other than Booker and Ulis bandanna incident I don’t recall and UK player, past or present, in wrong doings. Plus they all seem to come back to the area often and most seem to give of their time and money to different causes. Cal teaches that and does a great job of it but is stupid for him to take credit for guys like Wall, AD, MKG, Fox etc being drafted. Had they sat home a year all would have been top picks the following year.

    • 4everUKblue
      12:30 am June 24, 2019 Permalink

      First of all mashbum you wouldn’t know class if you saw it because you have none, second, you never post relevant facts, you pick and choose what fits your agenda. Do you think you’re more of an expert at this than Pat Riley? You probably do with that huge ego. Get a life and get a team that can live up to your expectations.

  13. mashburnfan1
    3:48 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

    Facts are what I deal in….Here are facts. You can say that Morant, Hachimura, Culver, Hayes, Cam Johnson, Clarke, Williams, Windler, Kabengele all developed into NBA 1st rounders as all were ranked very low or not ranked out of High School. The others, not overseas guys, were top picks all along and proof is Garland who played 5 games yet went 5th. Vandy did not develop him in 5 games.

    • StillBP
      5:35 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      You occasionally deal with facts and you Cherry pick your facts. You mad bro?

    • 4everUKblue
      12:31 am June 24, 2019 Permalink

      BP nailed you in one sentence. How does that feel?

  14. mashburnfan1
    3:56 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

    If you think it is Cal that develops top 30 players into NBA picks every High School kid in the world should line up to go to Murray St or Tex Tech. Their coaches took an unranked kid and a kid rated 312 to top 6 picks. Imagine if they had top 30 players, they would crank out picks 1-15 each year. Cal took #1 ranked C Richards and after 2 years “developing” him no NBA team wants him. Twins, POY, Skal, SKJ, Briscoe and many more were much higher picks had they been able to go pro after High School than they were after a few years “developing” under Cal. A kid worked at a shoe company and went higher than Keldon did after his year of development. You all are clueless.

    • StillBP
      5:34 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      Hahaha this post triggered trashburnfan and I love it!

    • 4everUKblue
      6:47 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      I don’t even bother to read his comments anymore because I know he’s full of $hit! I guess he thinks he knows more than Pat Riley.

    • StillBP
      8:39 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      Oh I definitely didn’t read it all! I read the first sentence and part of the second.

  15. Han
    4:38 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

    College teams just recruit pros, eh? Like Bolden at Duke, Jay?

  16. bigblue2284
    5:29 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

    Bilas is 100% correct. UK has a reputation for recruiting NBA level talent thus their players often are held in higher regard in the draft. I’m sorry but I’ve watched several players fall in the draft after a 9 month layover in Lexington. To name a few: Jones, Skal, both Johnsons, the twins. Every player I named would have went higher in the draft right out of HS.

    • UKinMKY
      6:32 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      And we’ve also had several players like Shai, Herro, PJ, AND Booker who went higher than they would have been drafted otherwise. Bilas is only correct regarding the Zions, ADs and KATs of basketball.

    • UKinMKY
      8:45 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      Oh, excuse me, I did mention AD and KAT. By saying that Bilas was right about those specific players. Try to develop some reading comprehension sooner rather than later.

    • bigblue2284
      6:49 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      If Cal is this master talent developer why is that townes, Davis and booker all improved after leaving? He held all three back offensively with the system he tries to run. Cal has to disagree with Bilas because he entire recruiting schtick relies on this myth.

    • UKinMKY
      8:43 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      Way to ignore all but one of the players I listed. Booker was “held back” by entering a 2 month shooting slump at the wrong time. The system has nothing to do with a guy forgetting how to shoot. Obviously guys are going to improve after 3+ years in the league when they have baseline talent. Amazing that you came to that conclusion with your walnut sized brain.

    • StillBP
      8:41 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      Even the best don’t get it right 100% of the time. You can name a few who got better after college, we can name a lot who got better in college. Also, perhaps the players worked harder after being out of school than they did while they were in school.

    • StillBP
      8:42 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

      Plus, players get better with experience so doesn’t it make sense to be better a year later?

  17. Matt10
    10:16 pm June 23, 2019 Permalink

    No one coach can create a pro in one year or four. The player is more important. Yes, Cal is good at identifying the best talent and maximizing his time with them. I bet he’d agree one of the keys to good coaching is getting players to realize their destiny is in their own hands, not the coach’s.

  18. TBW3011
    7:14 am June 24, 2019 Permalink

    Bilas is right

  19. catheaven
    7:25 am June 24, 2019 Permalink

    Anybody else see Bilas getting surly the last couple of years? Used to like him, but for a few years now he seems so negative and not as happy and fun as before. Now he’s joined my list of “turn off the volumn”. Dag on announcers just yap and yap about nothing to do with the game just to make noise. What happened to the guys who actually called the game as it occurred? I want to know who that ref actually called that foul on when it happens and not 5 min later and how many fouls is on that player now.