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Bam Adebayo and Isaiah Briscoe were right leaving for NBA Draft says John Calipari

Coach Cal defends his players’ decision to leave for the NBA, despite many calling it a mistake.

NCAA Basketball: Arkansas at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Did Bam Adebayo and Isaiah Briscoe make the right decisions to leave for the NBA Draft? John Calipari seems to think so.

When Adebayo declared for the draft, he was projected as a late first round/early second-round pick by every major service. That made it seem that coming back for his sophomore season was actually a smart move for Bam, which is why he didn’t hire an agent right away, leaving open the possibility for a return to UK.

Calipari was ultimately who convinced Bam to hire an agent and remain in the draft before he even attended the NBA Draft Combine.

“He felt like I was doubting my potential,” Adebayo told SEC Country. “He was like, ‘What’s wrong with you, man?’ He was like, ‘Go!’ I was like, ‘All right.’ ”

Calipari has been consistent with his praise of Adebayo throughout his brief time in Lexington. Back in February, Calipari went as far as to say anyone who passes on Adebayo in the draft “should be fired.”

It now appears Bam made the right call sticking in the draft. With guys like Miles Bridges, Robert Williams, Allonzo Trier and Grayson Allen returning to school, Bam is in position to sneak into the end of Round 1 and get a guaranteed contract paying him millions annually.

As for Briscoe, he left UK after two less-than-stellar seasons at UK, despite being projected to go undrafted. Even so, Calipari thinks Briscoe made the right call.

“No,” Calipari told SEC Country when asked if he was surprised Briscoe left. “Because look: Whether you’re in his boat or you’re in [projected lottery pick] De’Aaron Fox’s, by coming back, what are you adding? Physically, he is what he is. You know how he handles the ball. His shooting improved. OK, so tell me why you’re coming back. ‘I want to win again.’ Stop, that’s us. Why are you coming back?

“A guy like him, yeah, he could come back, but is he going to be in any better position to get started with his career? I didn’t believe so and neither did he.”

Calipari also revealed that Briscoe wasn’t himself the entire season due to lingering foot issues.

“He wasn’t healthy all year,” Calipari said. “His feet were bothering him, so I’m anxious to see him go up and down the court.”

Briscoe could hear his name called towards the end of the draft, but it’s more likely he has to begin his pro career as an undrafted free agent.