John Calipari Upset With NBA Draft Eligibility Rules

04.12.10 9 years ago 31 Comments

Appearing on Mike & Mike in the Morning this past Friday, Kentucky coach John Calipari had some interesting thoughts about the NBA Draft eligibility rules implemented before the start of the 2005-2006 season:

“I don’t agree with the rule now. I think that, one, kids should be able to go directly to the League if that’s what they choose to do. And if they go to college, they should stay two years or maybe three. The way it is right now it’s really hard…”

On one hand, one could sympathize with Calipari. He’s losing freshmen John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Daniel Orton, Eric Bledsoe and junior Patrick Patterson to the Draft this year, and as he tells Mike & Mike, “At times it was like coaching eighth graders because we were so young.” On the other hand, Calipari recruits these types of players knowing that they’ll be coveted first-round picks throughout their freshman year. Yeah, he can’t know for sure who’s going to bolt for the NBA, but we’re pretty sure he knows what players like Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans are going to do when he recruits them. According to Calipari, he had no idea that Bledsoe or Orton were going to be one-and-done players, but does saying this make him look any better?

Diehard college basketball fans must be upset with the more-recent trend of players bolting after their freshman year. There’s players like Carmelo who, at the very least, came to Syracuse for a year and left after delivering a National Title. But then there’s players like Rose and Wall who came to Memphis and Kentucky, respectively, hoping to do the same thing, only to ultimately fall short. When they leave these programs after one year, fans can’t help but to feel slighted.

The issues surrounding the draft eligibility rules will never end, but at this point in time, many people agree that forcing players to wait a year after high school before making the jump has worked out well for college and the NBA. With the way he recruits, though, Calipari raises different questions: How should coaches go about recruiting now? Do they recruit the best talent knowing there’s a very good chance the players will bolt after one year, or in attempt to build a true program, do they recruit players knowing the players can’t make an early jump to the League. Do they build a team prepared for a one-and-done shot at a National Title, or a team like Cornell and Butler that make a March Madness run because they have learned to trust each other and grow over time?

What do you think? How should coaches go about recruiting now? What’s your current stance on the NBA Draft eligibility rules?

Other Must-Read Articles About Kentucky:
With 5 Players From Kentucky Going Pro, John Calipari Needs Recruits
John Calipari: Kentucky’s Social Networking Beast
How Do You Feel About “Cheating” In The NCAA?
Dime NBA Draft Profile: DeMarcus Cousins
Dime NBA Draft Profile: John Wall

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