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John Calipari opens up about Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and his NBA prospects

Shai has gone from “the other guy” in the 2017 recruiting class to “the guy” going into the draft.

Jamie Boggs

The NBA Draft will take place one month from today, and depending on who you talk to there could be anywhere between 3 and 5 Kentucky Wildcats that get their names called.

Just like every year, NBA teams are looking to get the most value out of their picks.

What guys are other teams undervaluing? Which players have the highest ceiling? Who will be the most productive player in 5 years? 10 years?

“This league has become a futures league,” John Calipari told Jon Hale of the Courier Journal. “You’re not drafting for what they look like right now.”

Hale believes that everyone is looking for the next Donovan Mitchell, a guy that can go from an unheralded recruit to being the steal of the draft. Calipari believes that SGA could be that guy this year.

“You’ve got to judge guys on can they make plays when the game is on the line? When he played bad this year for us, we lost,” Calipari said to Hale. “I didn’t realize it until like, ‘Holy s---, if he don’t play well, we’re going to lose.’ So, thank goodness he played well most of the year.”

Gilgeous-Alexander is projected to be the first Wildcat to hear his name called on draft night, and he could go anywhere between 10th and 14th overall.

As predicted, SGA is not participating in activities at the NBA Combine. It is common for lottery picks to hold out from drills and only work out privately for teams.

However, he did attend the Combine to be measured and checked out with the lowest body fat of anyone there (3%) and the tallest point guard at 6’6” in shoes.

How confident is Calipari in Gilgeous-Alexander’s ability to excel at the next level?

Very.

“Someone is going to take him, and everybody is going to say, ‘How did people pass on him?’,” Calipari told Hale. “He’s going to be that.”

After seeing him emerge as a leader and arguably the best player for Kentucky this season, it is hard to deny that Calipari’s claims are definitely possible.

Do you think Shai has what it takes to outperform his draft position once he gets in the league?