John Calipari – in typical John Calipari fashion – is pushing an NCAA rule to its limit, announcing Wednesday that all of his players will enter the NBA Draft.
Many of them will return to school, of course, but will Calipari’s latest just-to-prove-a-point act ruffle some NCAA feathers?
“Well, it was intended to,” CBS Sports college basketball analyst Gary Parrish said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “Whether it did, we’ll see. I’ve known John for a long, long time and that was his middle finger to the process. I’ve had some Kentucky fans say, ‘Hey, here’s what you don’t get: John’s just trying to say there’s no harm in doing this, so if you’re an underclassman, why not go through the process?’”
That’s a fair argument – one that makes sense for Skal Labissiere, Tyler Ulis, Isaiah Briscoe and others. But it might not make sense for, say, junior E.J. Floreal, who averaged 1.5 minutes per game and didn’t score a single point this season.
“If John was saying all of my reasonable prospects – which is honestly most of his roster – are going to enter the draft and test the process and then we’ll see, that is taking advantage of the system,” Parrish said. “But when he makes a point to say my walk-ons are also entering the draft, well, there’s no advantage to a walk-on entering the NBA Draft or testing the process just because he can. Nobody gets anything out of that. These walk-ons aren’t going to play professional basketball somewhere of note. So that is his way of saying, ‘If you guys want to set up this silly system, fine. Every year, everybody on my roster, including my walk-ons, are going to test the process.’”
It’ll be interesting to see if coaches and players at other schools follow Calipari’s lead.
“If other kids across the country – and I suspect this is John’s goal – echo what he just did, you’re going to end up with 500 kids on the early draft list,” Parrish said. “I don’t know that there’s a perfect way to do all this, but undeniably, this wasn’t John doing what’s best for his prospects. This was John flipping a bird to the NCAA.”