Given Cal’s track record of putting players in the NBA, it’s no surprise that a LOT of NBA scouts regularly attend games at Rupp, and the demand for seats is so high that some don’t make the seating chart. Over at Draft Express, Jonathan Givony has a good piece about which college venues are the best for NBA teams to scout games. Kentucky and Rupp were near the top:
Kentucky received mentions from virtually every NBA person we talked to, mostly positive, but occasionally negative. “Calipari wants us at his games and practices. He embraces it. That’s part of what their program is,” one assistant GM told us. “But it all depends on your title. I would never send one of my scouts there because he’d be up on the balcony. Sometimes we need to embellish their title a little bit to make sure they can actually see the game. It’s understandable considering the demand. They can’t accommodate 150 NBA scouts and they’d have that if they didn’t have their policy in place. We can designate two people from our staff [typically GM and Assistant GM] at the beginning of every year to sit courtside at any game. The rest get sent up to a place where you’d be better off watching on TV.”
Another executive concurs. “Who you are matters more at Kentucky than probably anywhere else in the country. But that’s part of their deal. They want decision makers. They know which wheels to grease. If you’re a GM then you are on the baseline, which is great. If you’re a regular scout it’s not a great seat to watch a game, up on the balcony. On the flip side, they are one of the most accommodating schools in the country in terms of the way they interact with us. They go out of their way to help you. They obviously want you there, especially in practice. They are phenomenal with the way they manage their relationships with NBA teams.”
Some of the scouts’ least favorite venues? UCLA, Oklahoma State, and North Carolina. Considering their media overflow section is the stands, I’m not surprised.