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John Calipari says five Kentucky players have put their names in the NBA Draft

Almost immediately after the Kentucky basketball season came to an abrupt end back on March 12, UK head coach John Calipari called into SportsCenter to talk through his thoughts on the team and why he felt they were capable of winning a national championship.

Tucked in the middle of his conversation was an early prediction on how many Wildcats would ultimately enter the NBA Draft, telling the world he felt “four or five guys” would test the waters.

“Now, I’m going to have four or five guys that are putting their names in the draft and you ready?” Calipari asked. “When is the draft? When is the combine? … Will there even be a draft? … This is a hard thing for these kids. Think about it.”

Again during a Zoom video conference call with the media on Tuesday, Calipari doubled down on that prediction, adding that he’s working on “getting information to the kids” right now about their draft stock.

“We’re getting information to the kids,” he said. “Most of the stuff I’m doing is texting to stay in touch. But my guess is four to five guys would probably test the waters.”

During an appearance on the SEC Network’s “SEC House Party” Friday evening, though, the Kentucky head coach took his early predictions a step further. In fact, Calipari spilled the beans that five players “have put their name in the draft.”

“What we did, before they left, I had individual meetings with each player and I had the staff in there,” Calipari said. “I wanted everybody to hear it together individually with my staff. Then we just did a Zoom (video conference) call yesterday with my entire team to try to keep touching base with them, but the reality of it was five of them have put their name in the draft.”

Though he didn’t specify which players this includes, the general consensus is that Kentucky’s five starters – Tyrese Maxey, Nick Richards, Ashton Hagans, Immanuel Quickley, and EJ Montgomery – are the ones considering a jump to the NBA.

Now, the next step for Calipari and the UK coaching staff will be to find out any new restrictions on returning to school and whether or not the final withdrawal date will change.

“We’re trying to figure out how, with the draft [potentially] moving, will they be able to come back to college at a later date than normal?” Calipari asked. “What if they go through the draft and don’t get drafted? Come back to college. This is uncertain times right now, the NBA doesn’t know when we’re going to have a draft.”

As of now, the UK head coach is worried that players throughout college basketball will rush into decisions they aren’t comfortable with and could ultimately regret.

“We can’t put these kids in a position where they say, “If I have to make a decision now, then I’m going to go.” And then guys don’t get drafted,” Calipari said. “Now what do you do? “Oh, they can go to the G-League for a year and figure out the rest of your life because you’re done.” I don’t want to do that to these kids. We’re trying to figure out, it’s almost like a moving target right now for these kids.”

Calipari hopes that despite the obvious ongoing hardships, this crisis will spark much-needed change throughout college basketball.

“One thing I would tell everybody, in all my years of coaching, there’s only one thing that brings about change: a crisis,” he said. “It’s not meetings, it’s not individual meetings, it’s when, “Uh oh. What just happened?” And it’s a major crisis for everything. We have a chance as coaches to put together a different calendar for recruiting. We have a chances as coaches in the NCAA to say, “If a young man puts his name in the draft, let them stay in the draft. And if he doesn’t get drafted, let him go back to college.” There are things now, because of the crisis, we can now say, “This is right for kids if we do this, this, and this.”‘

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

42 Comments for John Calipari says five Kentucky players have put their names in the NBA Draft

  1. dave1964
    7:57 am March 29, 2020 Permalink

    Only one that will make an NBA roster is Maxey.

    • Bluehender
      11:25 am March 29, 2020 Permalink

      dave…don’t forget about Richards. I’m sure that’s what you did. He’ll be a better pro than he was a college player

    • Bluehender
      11:27 am March 29, 2020 Permalink

      You can’t teach that size. And he has an excellent shooting touch for a big man

    • MississippiBlue
      12:45 pm March 29, 2020 Permalink

      I’m sure you said the Briscoe, Wenyen, and Skal would never make a NBA roster as well!

  2. Fitz
    8:04 am March 29, 2020 Permalink

    That may be true, but the concern is all or any leaving UK for the pros, be it the NBA, Italy, or the G-league or whatever they call it.

    • Bluenblood
      7:53 pm March 30, 2020 Permalink

      Yeah Devin Book. Carl T. Wall. Bledsoe. D Fox. Bam. Stop it troll. Love on Chris Mack on the Cards sites

    • Bluenblood
      7:54 pm March 30, 2020 Permalink

      Meant for banker. Sorry

  3. bankerbh
    8:37 am March 29, 2020 Permalink

    It’s been great watching some of the Rewind games and seeing just how great some of the players were. Very few though have had a major impact in the NBA and most seem to have played an obscure role at best before being relegated to the developmental league or forced to go overseas. Although the NBA doesn’t need to change the age rule, college basketball does. There is a talent drain and more and more teams are playing with “rental squads.” The talent Cal gets pales in comparison to his last best team of 2015. If 5 guys put their name into the draft, that means the team lost 7 members from the beginning season roster. No program can rebuild from that. Think about it…5 years since the last final four and it will be 9 years in between national championships if KY were to win in 2021. That is starting to sound like a pretty long span. No team can with the NC with a roster of freshmen as we’ve seen it time and time again where the moment is too big and a less talented, but older team finds a way to knock the Cats out of the tournament. Cal can keep his ways and people can continue talking about how he turned the program around and his NC…but that was almost a decade ago. Can’t keep living in the past. Need to have higher expectations for the Program. And for all of those thinking Cal is the only coach in the country that does what he does, I humbly disagree. Cal doesn’t even do what he did a decade ago. So you will ask the question “so who are you going to hire?” Chris Mack is a helluva coach and could have been the the guy. Just a Sunday morning rant after thinking about the possibility of another totally new roster that will only be in Lexington for 5 months.

    • runningunnin.454
      12:17 pm March 29, 2020 Permalink

      UK started 5 freshmen against Michigan, Wisconsin, and UConn in 2014; Michigan started 5 freshmen in the ’92 title game; and, 2012 UK title team starting line up was 60% freshmen. Considering the changing nba landscape, it will probably never happen; but, those teams were close.
      LOL, Chris Mack? His teams routinely collapse in big games; and, he has no answer, no adjustments. He also has shown no ability to recruit at this level…would you trade next year’s UK class for his three 4 star recruits, one of which is a juco transfer, and may head to the nba?

    • Fitz
      1:02 pm March 29, 2020 Permalink

      I was with you Banker until the part about Chris Mack. Good coach, yeah, like 50 other guys, but nothing special.

    • KatFan48
      1:21 pm March 29, 2020 Permalink

      Hard to imagine so many “fans” who don’t understand the vast numbers of players available every year for college and how very few have the skill and even more the character and discipline to play at UK and how much more difficult to make it as a real “star” in the NBA. It is tiring to continue to see posts like this that expect a national championship regularly when the odds are so minuscule. We have the best coach in the nation for our university. Our teams continue to win at an amazing rate and in the vast majority make us proud to root for them. Cal didn’t create one and done. He has continued to adjust to rules in the NBA and NCAA far ahead of his peers. Go back and review the great decisions of the past driven by fan chatter. No thanks I don’t want another Sutton or Gillispie. Go Cats

    • Tom Bombadil
      4:12 pm March 29, 2020 Permalink

      How about you just write a book next time! You can name the book. ‘CAL Please’
      Why don’t you become a head coach and show us how it’s done? Why don’t you just find another team to root for Jackass! Get a grip crybaby!

    • KYCat4EVER
      8:42 pm March 30, 2020 Permalink

      Thanks for your opinions Bankebh!

      SPOT ON and intriguing.

      Of course you can always tell when you are “on topic” when members of the “Cals Pals” troop attack a person while not adding to the subject! LOL ?

      To your points… Calipari is a great person, great recruiter, who will never win anotNational Championship: his bench coaching is just average!

      GO BIG BLUE!

  4. CJKAssassin123
    9:11 am March 29, 2020 Permalink

    This was always expected. However I don’t think all 5 will stay in the draft. The other thing is that there may not even be a draft. The NBA may just let all of the players who entered the draft become rookie FA’s this season and let this years draft picks roll over to next season meaning every team gets two 1st Rd picks or they could add an additional Rd for next year’s draft and convert this years 1st Rd picks into 3rd Rd picks for next year. There are a lot of ways this could go. It all really depends on how long this pandimic will last. I think some of our guys will end up playing it safe and stay in school for another year. However anything can happen.

  5. Irish son
    9:12 am March 29, 2020 Permalink

    I think Maxey and Nick are the only ones that will get drafted.

    • bigbluebg
      10:19 am March 29, 2020 Permalink

      Ashton will get drafted. PGs are at a premium. I agree he shouldn’t be a high pick…but he will certainly get drafted in the 2nd rd if not the first.

      I’m not saying it will be a good pick, but just look at NBA mock drafts. He’s on most of them late in 1st rd. We won the game at UF at the end of the year, but that had more to do with Blackshere getting injured than UK finding a PG. Early in that game we were struggling to find any offense and really just bringing the ball up the court. Ashton made our team dangerous in the NCAA tournament, if it had occurred.

    • bigbluebg
      10:20 am March 29, 2020 Permalink

      Maxey played decently at PG in 2nd half as well. But couldn’t score. Ashton made it possible for those other guards to score easily. IQ really struggled that game without his facilitator Ashton Hagans.

    • zoupman
      1:56 pm March 29, 2020 Permalink

      The fact Hagans fell off bad the last two years towards ending of season is likely not going to look in the eyes of NBA teams.

  6. BobbyBlue
    9:41 am March 29, 2020 Permalink

    The changes in the G league have cost a lot of money. To maintain and support that a lot of players are needed, so a lot of border line guys are needed every year. Lots of slick talk and pie in the sky is out there. and Cal seems to be the only college coach actively looking out for, and guiding,his players, but ultimately it is the players decision. The biggest some will ever make !

  7. BowdenQB4ever
    11:47 am March 29, 2020 Permalink

    EJ has already put his name in once, correct? So this is it for him? What a wasted scholarship.

    • makeitstop
      12:14 pm March 29, 2020 Permalink

      The new rule appears to be that u can “withdraw” twice and not lose eligibility. But this year is so weird with limited workouts, and maybe no combine that I can’t imagine u couldn’t get a waiver. Short answer, he can withdraw again, I think.

    • UKCatAttack
      1:25 pm March 29, 2020 Permalink

      I was wondering the same thing. I’m pretty sure on Cal’s postseason wrap up radio show he said EJ has already put his name in the draft so he wouldn’t be eligible to return if he put it in again. Cal could’ve been wrong.

    • runningunnin.454
      2:14 pm March 29, 2020 Permalink

      No, players can now enter the draft, withdraw, and retain college eligibility multiple times. Cal surely knows that.

  8. channell
    12:08 pm March 29, 2020 Permalink

    These guys are dreaming

    • UKgrad80
      2:10 pm March 29, 2020 Permalink

      You can put your name into the draft as many times as you want now.

  9. UKFanSC
    12:48 pm March 29, 2020 Permalink

    Maxey and Richards will likely be drafted in round 1, in Maxey’s case in the lottery. Beyond that I really don’t see it. EJ is absolutely not ready, nor can I see Hagans getting drafted. Quickley is a flip of the coin.

  10. Heavy C
    1:12 pm March 29, 2020 Permalink

    In every mock I’ve seen Nick is nowhere close to a 1st round pick. Most have him at the end of the 2and round, same for I.Q. I ain’t hating, if this is what’s really the best opportunity these kids have I wish them the best. But damn…this gets old.

    • Bluehender
      2:28 pm March 29, 2020 Permalink

      Nick would be a s steal in the second round.

  11. slangterm
    1:40 pm March 29, 2020 Permalink

    These kids are quick to jump to the NBA. Now, if your a guard, every night you are guarding, Curry, Westbrook, Paul, Harden, Wall, James, Irving, the list does not stop.

  12. big cat
    2:04 pm March 29, 2020 Permalink

    My wife told me the names of the potential draftees and I literally already forgot about this team. This is sad. We (or at least I) can’t remember the players in just under 3 weeks since the abrupt ending of the season. Well, the only solution to this is they need to return to UK next season but I know that AIN’T happening.

    • runningunnin.454
      2:21 pm March 29, 2020 Permalink

      Wow, that’s some short-term memory loss you’ve got there. Reminds me of that movie, “50 First Dates”.

    • ClutchCargo
      11:50 am March 30, 2020 Permalink

      So, the players should return to school and forego any amount of NBA money just so somebody named big cat can remember them from 3 weeks ago. Noted.

  13. friendsofcoal
    2:50 pm March 29, 2020 Permalink

    I’m confused…the headlines says “Cal says 5 players HAVE entered the draft” and then I read it and I don’t see anything besides Cal saying “we’ll probably end up having 4-5 players entering the draft”.

    • friendsofcoal
      2:50 pm March 29, 2020 Permalink

      Big difference in “Have entered” and “will probably enter”

    • T-Town Cat
      5:05 pm March 29, 2020 Permalink

      During the SEC House Party show Cal said five players have entered their names in the Draft.

    • friendsofcoal
      5:20 pm March 29, 2020 Permalink

      I see that now. I read this article first lol.

  14. dcforuk
    7:22 pm March 29, 2020 Permalink

    Right now it’s hard to anticipate, prognosticate and get excited about too much because the new normal is still so uncertain. I don’t feel like spending too much time thinking ahead because it almost feels like a complete and utter waste of time!

  15. sharpshooter81
    8:21 pm March 29, 2020 Permalink

    I figured Maxey and Richards were a for sure going into the draft with Hagans a strong possibility, but EJ and IQ are making huge huge mistakes. EJ will not get drafted and will waste away in G league for a few years. IQ is a maybe late 2nd round and potentially not getting drafted and headed down the same as EJ because 6’3” shooting guards are a dime a dozen in the NBA and probably G league.

    If Cal truly cares about his players as much as he professes, then do the right thing and advise EJ and IQ to come back to school as they are most likely 4yr players.

    • CrystalBall
      12:27 pm March 30, 2020 Permalink

      What if EJ and Quickley are advised and don’t believe coming back is the “right thing”?

    • The Big Lebowski
      11:08 pm March 30, 2020 Permalink

      The G League ain’t the only game in town.

  16. CahillsCrossingNT
    4:22 am March 30, 2020 Permalink

    This is what it’s all about. Who cares about some little tournament, especially one you no longer have a chance to win?

  17. gasman01
    10:29 am March 30, 2020 Permalink

    Welcome to the G League gentleman.