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Why Calipari’s criticism of grad transfers doesn’t apply to Reid Travis

Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images North America

Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images North America

John Calipari has been a vocal critic of graduate transfers, which may make today’s news that Stanford’s Reid Travis could transfer to Kentucky for his fifth year seem a little hypocritical; however, when you compare Travis’ situation to those Calipari originally rallied against, the difference is clear.

Calipari’s main arguments against the fifth-year transfer rule came a few years back when Rick Pitino lured Cleveland State’s Trey Lewis and Drexel’s Damion Lee to Louisville. As a result of losing its best player, Drexel struggled and the administration fired head coach Bruiser Flint, one of Calipari’s best friends. To support Flint (and take a shot at Rick), Calipari spoke out against the grad transfer rule, arguing that it plunders talent from mid-major programs and leaves them in a lurch.

“What happened was, the NCAA has a rule that a kid can leave a program like Drexel after being coached and molded for three years and go to another school without having to sit out,” Calipari said in a voicemail to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Dick Jerardi. “If (Damion) Lee is there, they’re in the NCAA Tournament. We’re not even talking in these terms, but that happened.”

But, Calipari’s already taken a grad transfer in Julius Mays, who came to Kentucky from Wright State back in 2012, right? In March 2017, Calipari was asked how his views on grad transfers had changed since then.

“(Mays) really wanted to come to Kentucky,” Calipari said. “And I’m happy that we took him because he is one of the greatest kids I’ve ever coached, and he gave us a veteran guard. But at the end of the day, anyone that has a board with all the graduate transfers on it – like, ‘Who can we get from here?’ – think about it, those are players who are playing for a mid-major program that has invested in them and they have a year to go, and it’s that coach and that program’s time.”

So, how is Travis’ situation different? First, he went to Stanford, a Power 5 school, not a mid-major. Also, unlike Lee, the coach Travis originally committed to, Johnny Dawkins, was fired in 2016. Don’t forget that Cam Johnson, a grad transfer from Pitt, almost came to Kentucky last spring. He ended up at North Carolina, but Kentucky’s involvement proves Calipari is fine going after grad transfers from Power 5 conferences.

Reid Travis’ skills in the post and experience will help make either Kentucky or Villanova a national title contender, but taking him doesn’t make Calipari a hypocrite.

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Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

31 Comments for Why Calipari’s criticism of grad transfers doesn’t apply to Reid Travis



  1. DennyC
    3:11 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    LOL!!!…Whatever you say… #smh



    • KYcats11
      3:22 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

      I wonder if Louisville will miss the tournament again for the third time in 5 years… Lol!



    • ClutchCargo
      4:05 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

      DennyC is just afraid his favorite UofL players will transfer when they get probation for paying players.



    • (Aixelsyd)0505
      12:25 pm May 31, 2018 Permalink

      Here’s the jist… we’re better then you and we know it.



  2. Twick39
    3:17 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    In the words of Matt Jones: ” If you’re explaining you’re losing”



  3. Han
    3:18 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Thanks for making this point. I’ve seen rival fans try to attack Cal for this before, but he was pretty clearly talking about mid-major transfers being plundered by Power 5 teams when he talked about it.



    • Jiminy Crickets
      3:37 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

      If pitino said that, then took a top grad transfer, this site would lead the charge calling him a hypocrite



    • Han
      4:15 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

      LOL at this guy thinking a) Pitino will ever coach again, b) that someone would go from us to Pitino, and c) that we’re likely to have any meaningful grad transfers out ever.



    • Han
      4:15 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

      Misread it, but you’re still full of crap



  4. FlySoup
    3:26 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Still seems hypocritical



  5. Jiminy Crickets
    3:31 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Crap is crap no matter how you spread it. Cal was mad because His friend lost his best player to Louisville, so directly defended him, but doing so made him look bad. Stealing players via transfer is cool as long as they sit out a year (twanny, harrow) or grad transfers as long as they want to come here…,lol



  6. sp
    3:33 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Very hypocritical. The only thing that may not make it so is the fact that the coach that recruited him was fired. Cal is plucking the best talent off a weaker school so they can improve our team. Doesn’t matter if it’s a mid major or a weak power 5 school. It’s the same thing.



  7. Blueballz
    3:39 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    As usual, your logic sucks



  8. Realme
    3:40 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    We’re all hypocritical in some way. I don’t know if Cal really needs to be defended. We could all agree to let him be a human being instead.



  9. gasman01
    3:43 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Just my opinion but if all 3 comes back, he goes to Nova.



  10. oruacat2
    3:43 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    So what? Cal changed his mind and adapted to a new reality now that he can benefit from it. He’s allowed. We can also criticize him for this sudden and convenient change of heart. No big deal. Making excuses for it to shield him from that criticism only makes UK look bad IMO.

    A better comparison is all of us here at KSR screeching and moaning about Coach K’s new affinity for (and the media’s adulation of him for adapting to) one-and-dones after all the crap they’ve given Coach Cal.



  11. bigbluehank
    3:47 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    I’m not sure which is more ridiculous: the article’s defense of Cal, or Cal’s own defense of his tactics.



    • ukmcky
      4:12 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

      That article isn’t dissing Cal, it’s simply stating that the backlash is coming from the haters. It even says this situation is different from Cal’s criticism.



  12. KYcats11
    3:54 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Would have been better if this post was never written.



  13. Brad
    3:56 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Its whatever. I just know evan Daniels said we are the heavy favorite for Reid travis so I’d assume we are losing 2 of 3. Hopefully just 1 if any.



  14. oruacat2
    3:58 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Talking about grad-transfers, I’m reminded of what Pat Tillman supposedly told his college football coach when the redshirt question came up – paraphrased – “I’m gonna graduate in 4 years and then I’m moving on – if you don’t use me all 4 years, that’s your loss”

    That’s how I feel about these kids – if they’ve put in their 4 years and gotten their degree, their obligation to that school is fulfilled and they should be able to move on to another school for their advanced studies and play while there if that’s what they want to do.

    Just my two cents.



  15. ukdave62
    4:17 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Just get the players and win!



  16. mashburnfan1
    4:19 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    I like how each time Cal did this “it was different”. LOL….No it’s the same thing. Oh but his coach was gone 2 years ago, well if it bothered him that much why did he stay until now? But Julius wanted to come here, well maybe other transfers wanted to go to those other schools as well. If Stanford coach gets fired next year for a bad season it would be ok as long as it is not a friend of Cals. If you are so against it then don’t do it, otherwise you should never have made a comment. This is something he totally controls, but to pull the if it helps me then it’s ok is garbage.

  17. I agree this is different, but no one will care, because all they’ll see is the headline screaming that Cal took a transfer after criticizing the rule. You can shout the real details from this post from the top of Mt. Everest, but no one will care except UK fans.



  18. dbookno1
    4:39 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Honestly, who really gives a crap what Cal said, I mean, we’re all Kentucky fans, and at the end of the day we all want the same thing…for Coach Cal and the and the rest of the coaching staff to put a national championship contender on the court come March, and if adding Reid does that, then who cares what Cal said in the past, or what he said 15 minutes ago on the topic



  19. DennyC
    8:25 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Tyler Thompson…do better. Smh….



  20. kenny
    10:40 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    I love Cal, but he set himself when it comes to this. He let his emotions at the time get the best of him. I would imagine if he was being honest he’d say as much.



  21. Fitz
    5:11 pm May 31, 2018 Permalink

    I thought Cals ressòn for taking Mays was a bit hypocritical but wanting to take Travis from Stanford is not the same as a grad transfer from Sanford.