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REMINDER: John Calipari said just about every Wildcat would test the NBA Draft waters, and they did just that.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Just over three weeks ago, John Calipari said on his radio show he expects “just about” every player on the 2017-18 Kentucky basketball squad to test the NBA draft waters.

“My expectation would be that just about every one of them will put their name in the draft to figure out where that committee sees them going,” he said. “If you’re not draftable, that means you’re not going to the combine, which kind of helps you make the decision, unless you absolutely want to go one way or another.”

He followed it up by saying the NBA combine invitations will be a big indicator of draft stock, as if you fail to earn an invite, you almost certainly won’t get drafted and it may be in your best interest to return to school.

“A first rounder or early second rounder, you get invited to the combine,” Calipari said. “So that’s where you’ve got to be. If you can’t make the combine, you’re more than likely not being drafted or if you do get drafted, you’re barely getting drafted, which means a season in the G-League if the team chooses to put you in camp.”

And what happened? Just about every Wildcat will be putting their name in the draft to receive feedback from NBA teams.

And that is perfectly fine. Encouraged, even.

Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Hamidou Diallo made decisions to enter the draft and sign with an agent. All expected.

When PJ Washington put his name in the draft without an agent, fans weren’t necessarily surprised, but they found it odd he was the first to jump the gun on a decision. When Wenyen Gabriel announced he would join Washington, most of the fan base understood the sophomore’s financial situation at home and applauded his decision to leave the door open for a return.

Today, Jarred Vanderbilt followed suit by putting his name in the draft without an agent, and (some, not all of) the Big Blue Nation blew a gasket.

Here are just a few of the comments left on KSR earlier when the news was announced:

Jarred Vanderbilt declares for the NBA Draft, won’t hire agent

“Jarred- Ok NBA am I a lottery pick? NBA: who are you?”

“Great news! No offensive game, my grandmother has more skill around the rim! Less equals more folks, got rid of him and Hami aka Archie Goodwin! This is great news! Don’t need him eating up valuable minutes ala WCS.”

“This makes zero sense considering he is injured and apparently having surgery.”

“All of these guys declaring for the draft is so ridiculous that it has become comedic.”

“I can’t run but I can push and pull myself up and down the court like you wouldn’t believe. So do I get my million??”

And here is why that mindset is ridiculous.

For starters, Washington, Gabriel, and Vanderbilt are not alone as fringe guys to put their name in.

As of last night, there were 108 underclassmen who entered the draft without an agent. Today, Vanderbilt, Kansas’ Udoka Azubuike, Michigan’s Charles Matthews, South Dakota State’s Mike Daum, Syracuse’s Tyus Battle, and Kent State’s Jaylin Walker pushed that total to 114.

And that doesn’t include seniors and players that have already signed/plan to sign with an agent like Knox, Gilgeous-Alexander, and Diallo. That total is reportedly over 175 players.

I’m no math major, but with only 60 total draft selections each year, there will be a whole lot of players that will have to put their professional dreams on hold and withdraw in the coming weeks. And I think a lot of them realize that going into it.

To start every year, John Calipari hosts a Pro Day for NBA scouts to come in and evaluate the talent on the Kentucky roster, and no one complains. It was a genius idea from the start, as scouts could see players before and after they played a full season of college basketball and the development they saw in that time. This is no more than an in-depth extension of that.

By putting their name in the draft without an agent, they are able to personally work out for teams, scrimmage with/against other top draft prospects, interview, pick NBA brains, etc.

For a guy like Jarred Vanderbilt, who is rumored (unconfirmed) to need surgery in the near future, it’s not just about going in and working out. If he can’t work out due to injury concerns, he can still talk with teams about the pros and cons of his game, evaluate film, and discuss what exactly he needs to work on to get to the next level. The average fan knows he’s limited offensively, but teams can give specific tips on how to take the next step up and prepare for next season in college basketball, and ultimately, the 2019 NBA Draft.

It’d be stupid not to take free advice from the guys that could be potentially writing his paychecks for the next several years in the NBA. Same goes for Washington and Gabriel, who both have several obvious kinks to work out in their respective games.

In fact, Quade Green and Nick Richards have yet to submit their names in the NBA Draft, and the deadline is Sunday night. We’ve heard transfer rumors with Green and there are reports Richards has already decided to return for his sophomore season, but I’d argue it’d be silly for them to not give it a go. Hell, Jemarl Baker, Brad Calipari, and Jonny David should give it a whirl. What does it matter? Again, it’s free advice from the professionals with no danger of losing college eligibility. That’s why the rule was put in place to begin with.

Only 60 players are invited to the NBA Combine each season, and that’s not even including a load of overseas players that are high on draft boards and don’t make their way over for the event. As Calipari said a few weeks ago, if you don’t get an invite, your chances of being drafted drop dramatically, and it’s likely neither Vanderbilt nor Gabriel receive an invite, with Washington being right on the fringe. I’d predict he is the lone Wildcat to earn a spot.

Could Washington, Vanderbilt, and/or Gabriel put on a show in front of scouts during workouts/interviews and work their way onto draft boards? It’s possible, but doubtful. Could a team make a draft guarantee throughout this process? I guess, but extremely unlikely. If any of the Wildcats to not sign with an agent go through the process and still feel the need to keep their name in the draft, it’s understandable if fans want to complain about their decisions then. But now, there is no reason to judge any player for giving it a go.

May 30 is the final day for players to withdraw from the draft, which is 40 days from now. The interview and workout process starts on Tuesday, so there will be a whole lot of time for the Wildcats to learn from the best in the business.

It’s inconvenient for fans to wait another six weeks, but it’s not about us. It’s their professional futures.

A reminder of important NBA Draft dates/deadlines

Take a deep breath. We still have a whole lot of time before we decide whether the sky is falling or not.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

44 Comments for REMINDER: John Calipari said just about every Wildcat would test the NBA Draft waters, and they did just that.



  1. Cincy Cayt
    9:48 pm April 20, 2018 Permalink

    Other fans are hating on these guys testing the waters, yet here I am hoping they don’t waste one of their two chances at the Combine.



    • lexcatfan2367
      10:00 pm April 20, 2018 Permalink

      Amen! You’ve got the opportunity to get feedback straight from the horse’s mouth. You’d be a fool to not go and see what they say.



  2. lexcatfan2367
    9:59 pm April 20, 2018 Permalink

    When they changed the rule to allow them to return, we were told to expect players to go get feedback and return if needed. Why are fans surprised now that it’s happening? It’s not the 90s. This is how it is. Y’all need to chill with this senseless anxiety.



    • JTA
      5:09 am April 21, 2018 Permalink

      It’s because our players have been staying in or ignoring the advice. Hami joins Briscoe and Ulis (most recently) to declare with agent with zero chance of a first round. Sounds like theres doubt that vandy, PJ and Gabe come back.



    • timbo
      9:01 am April 21, 2018 Permalink

      Because they are low-info people who jump to conclusions without actually knowing anything. How scary that you might work with some of them or they might manage others?!



    • ClutchCargo
      12:30 pm April 21, 2018 Permalink

      It’s same pathetic fans that want to bash Diallo for every perceived shortcoming are the ones now whining because he is leaving. SMH



  3. TB112162
    10:13 pm April 20, 2018 Permalink

    The problem is I don’t think all NBA teams tell the truth to the players just my opinion



  4. ukcats1776.90
    11:01 pm April 20, 2018 Permalink

    Matt Jones has an iq of about 93 and wants to run for the senate…why? he only makes sexual advances on women after they sign an NDA. – HES A GENIUS!!!



    • Troll Slayer
      12:56 am April 21, 2018 Permalink

      If you think all senators have high IQs, you are mistaken. Perhaps, Matt doesn’t want to get sued and lose all the money he’s created from ksr (which you are adding to by clicking on ksr articles). Seems logical to me.



    • Bull Filmer
      8:43 am April 21, 2018 Permalink

      There’s a sign on the fence…..DO NOT BITE THE HAND THAT FEEDS YOU……..but then again – real cur dogs can’t read.



    • Kat4Life
      9:24 pm April 21, 2018 Permalink

      I believe Matt has a degree from Duke Law School…….doesn’t sound all that stupid to me.



  5. chris43
    12:50 am April 21, 2018 Permalink

    Here’s to hoping Vanderbilt and Washington end up staying another year at UK. IF that happens and Quade doesn’t transfer we should have a REALLY good team. I hope Gabriel stays as well but not real optimistic at this point. 🙁



  6. Big blue erection
    3:04 am April 21, 2018 Permalink

    Dope



  7. runningunnin.454
    6:02 am April 21, 2018 Permalink

    LOL, I loved the “Stupid Comments of the Day” incorporated into the article…brilliant; but, you didn’t give the authors credit.
    That should be a new feature on KSR.



    • TBW3011
      10:16 am April 21, 2018 Permalink

      Disagree 100%. It only furthers the narrative that all Kentucky fans are idiots. On top of that, some just don’t know much about sports, but love the Cats. Them making an uninformed comment and then getting annihilated by people says much more about those people than the person making the silly comment.



    • runningunnin.454
      10:52 am April 21, 2018 Permalink

      Maybe, but I think we all can determine which comments are made by someone just confused about a subject, and those that are intentionally making a cruel comment about our student athletes.
      “My grandmother is better around the rim, glad he’s gone”…seriously? Get out of here.



    • UK Big Board Update
      12:05 pm April 21, 2018 Permalink

      TBW3011 makes stupid comments and then gets mad when logical people call him out on it.

      That says more about TBW than anything. LOL



  8. Headhurts
    7:00 am April 21, 2018 Permalink

    So if ask yourself this, if KY football could be Alabama football and all your top players left early, would u still take that? I think u would.



    • runningunnin.454
      8:24 am April 21, 2018 Permalink

      It’s a little different; freshmen can’t leave after one year. Have to be out of HS for three years.



    • TBW3011
      10:17 am April 21, 2018 Permalink

      We’d all take it, but it isn’t just the “top players” leaving.



    • tiffincatfan79
      3:32 pm April 21, 2018 Permalink

      Nearly every 5* recruit out of high school leaves school early or declared for the draft without an agent. Why should it be any different at UK?



  9. kybigblue
    8:48 am April 21, 2018 Permalink

    If Green transfers while Washington, Gabriel and Vanderbilt go pro and we find out at the end of the summer that Hagans is staying in the class of 2019 that could leave UK with around 6 scholarships players. But we would have a backup at SG. Not likely but if you keep pushing the button it could happen which may be why Cal may not be done recruiting for this year.



  10. babbus
    9:02 am April 21, 2018 Permalink

    Great idea, ridicule the people coming to your website with anxiety over the state of the program. You all have acknowledged how this year seems to be a “reckoning” for Calipari’s system on whether guys go pro. So some of that angst overflows into comments, you all are so high and mighty you highlight their comments made in the heat of the moment. You all say the same thing, but by the time you get to writing an article, you’ve gotten more reasonable. We are only just getting into your discussion.



  11. timbo
    9:06 am April 21, 2018 Permalink

    Thanks for calling out the morons, Jack. These people deserve full credit for stupidity. The internet gives you another communication channel, but that doesn’t mean it HAS to be used all of the time, folks. Use it to look up draft rules and player histories (as the first commenter highlighted in this article failed to do over and over again), get facts, then make a contribution.



    • TBW3011
      10:20 am April 21, 2018 Permalink

      Yes. If you don’t know the NBA Draft rules inside and out you should certainly be crushed by the masses. Brilliant point. You wouldn’t say a word of that to their face. It would be nice if everyone was totally informed on everything they commented on, but that doesn’t mean they are morons.



    • timbo
      11:47 am April 21, 2018 Permalink

      Sure it does. “Better to be quiet and thought a fool…” Never heard it? Never tried it? The second half is: “than to open your mouth and prove it.”
      If I didn’t understand the process, I wouldn’t make a ridiculous and passionate comment about it, and neither should you or anyone else. Your passion is a product of your own selfishness, these kids have lives to live. They put a ton of thought into their words and actions, conferring with experts and getting feedback. You adults can’t be troubled to do the same before opening your own mouths???



  12. BBNDan7
    9:27 am April 21, 2018 Permalink

    *insert Michael Scott “thank you” gif*



  13. TBW3011
    10:13 am April 21, 2018 Permalink

    Vanderbilt can talk about what he needs to work on without putting his name in. Any way you want to spin it him putting his name in is silly and I assure you NBA teams think so is well. Amy conversation with them and Vando is a waste of both sides time. Also, IMO highlighting the most critical and idiotic posts you can find is equally ridiculous. Why even advertise that?



    • UK Big Board Update
      12:03 pm April 21, 2018 Permalink

      Wow, thats the dumbest shit I’ve read on here, and thats saying something…

      U mad.



    • BBNDan7
      1:50 pm April 21, 2018 Permalink

      No, no Vanderbilt can’t. Calipari could and relay the info, but Vanderbilt cannot while he’s an NCAA athlete. And you’re only mad because one of your comments made the “dumb*** of the day section on it”



    • tiffincatfan79
      3:30 pm April 21, 2018 Permalink

      Players can’t talk to NBA personnel unless they have declared for the draft. If not, then their coach has to get the info for them and tell them what was said. Always better to get the info for yourself.



  14. Megan
    11:02 am April 21, 2018 Permalink

    I’m out of the loop on this (not surprising), but what is Gabriel’s financial situation at home? Is it bad? Is that why everyone thinks he might leave?



    • BBNDan7
      1:51 pm April 21, 2018 Permalink

      From my understanding it’s pretty bad. I believe his family basically lives in government housing in a Sudan refuge neighborhood



    • Megan
      8:20 pm April 21, 2018 Permalink

      Manchester, NH, is a wonderful city, the largest in northern New England, and a fabulous place to resettle. The Somerville neighborhood, where Wenyen’s family lives on the east side, is a medium-density medium-income residential neighborhood with several markets, cafes, and parks. Safer than the commercial areas to the west and north (with lots of auto body shops), it’s still on the wrong side of the crime spectrum. Residents identify their ethnicity or ancestry as French (20.6%), Irish (17.5%), French Canadian (11.0%), English ancestry (8.1%), and German (7.8%) as well as others. Manchester has been resettling refugees for decades (Somalis, Sudanese, Iraqis, Bhutanese), a couple of thousand over a decade in a city of 110k. But there’s no mention of Somerville being a Sudanese refugee neighborhood.

      You can use Google maps to walk down the street on which the Gabriel’s live. Small to medium-sized single-family homes ($234k) and small apartment buildings ($1338/mo.). There’s much more, but demographics don’t necessarily tell you about a particular family.

      We know that Wenyen’s siblings are graduated from college or going to college. So they don’t appear to be struggling to get a college education. And based on the furnishings in the video of Wenyen recounting his family’s story, it doesn’t appear that they are living in poverty or are so desperate for money that Wenyen should go pro now. They don’t live in a refugee camp. Indeed, the fact that Wenyen is not signing with an agent, leaving the door open for another year in college, would indicate that their financial situation is not as bad as many seem to believe.

      But we keep seeing vague references to the family’s “financial situation.” And I haven’t seen anything specific about that. So what’s the basis for these references?



  15. Swizzle
    11:23 am April 21, 2018 Permalink

    Never gonna win another title with an all or 80% freshman team. Had upperclassman with Davis in 2012. A environment has been created here that isnt helpful to nonsuperstar players or winning titles.



    • timbo
      11:49 am April 21, 2018 Permalink

      Glad we have “experts” like you who make solid decisions based on “expertise” and data. I wouldn’t let you fools run a hairdryer, much less a business or a ball team.



    • UK Big Board Update
      12:01 pm April 21, 2018 Permalink

      Yeah. Darius Miller won the championship for us in 2012…. ?



    • tiffincatfan79
      3:28 pm April 21, 2018 Permalink

      There were 3 players with experience that got any real time on that team. Granted, they were big parts of that team, but the 2 best players on that team were freshmen.



  16. Fitz
    1:16 pm April 21, 2018 Permalink

    Back to the topic….when does the combine begin and what is its duration.? Does it disrupt class attendance, which only matters for those without an agent?



    • BBNDan7
      1:52 pm April 21, 2018 Permalink

      It’s not until mid may, so school will be over



  17. dballrb
    2:57 pm April 21, 2018 Permalink

    Herro is a beast. No one Frey about the 2gaurd spot..



  18. makeitstop
    3:38 pm April 21, 2018 Permalink

    I’m surprised KSR hasn’t given provided this data, but how many UK players – or any players – declare without an agent and return to school versus sign w the NBA (whether drafted or not) versus go elsewhere (like Humphreys)? That would have required some research but provided context to the worried fans.



    • makeitstop
      3:54 pm April 21, 2018 Permalink

      All I could find is 73 of 137 early entrants last year pulled out to return to school. We know none of THEM hired an agent or they could not return. What we don’t know is how many of the other 64 did not hire agents. I also could not easily find – ie the great google machine on my phone could not tell me – how many players in other years announced without an agent and returned. That would actually be a helpful bit of data for KSR to dive into albeit more work than writing the same story speculating again.



  19. chrisg18
    9:09 am April 23, 2018 Permalink

    Since you used one of my comments, I guess I will comment on this post. My opinion that it makes little sense for Vanderbilt to declare IF he is still injured and having surgery is still totally valid. You did nothing to refute that. If he can’t workout what can he do now that he has declared that he couldn’t do through Cal without declaring? I would argue almost nothing. He can get the feedback he needs through Cal and his contacts. The only benefit, which is small, is that he can interview with teams. But for a kid who has limited tape and is (supposedly) injured currently, that will not amount to much of anything. Makes little sense.