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UK Basketball: John Calipari may not like grad transfer rule, but he’ll take advantage of it

Calipari has been critical of the graduate transfer rule, but he’s not going to turn down good graduate transfers.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Boise Practice Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Let it be clear that John Calipari hates that the NCAA allows graduate transfers.

He’s made it clear before, and he’s making it clear again.

“My history, everybody knows,” Calipari said, according to Joe Mussatto of SEC Country. “I’ve seen the coach at Drexel get fired. I’ve seen the coach at Cleveland State get fired. And I’ve said that this isn’t right. It’s not right for the game, and it’s not right for those coaches.”

But if the NCAA is going to allow it, he’s not going to pass up on players that are going to make Kentucky a better basketball team.

“My job is to make sure that this program is in the best position it can be.”

These comments come in the midst of Stanford big man Reid Travis’ decision to go the graduate transfer route. Kentucky is currently the favorite, though he’ll also visit the Villanova Wildcats.

Calipari has had one graduate transfer at Kentucky. Julius Mays played for the 2012-13 team, starting 28 games and averaging 9.3 points.

While some will say Calipari is being hypocritical if he lands Travis, it’s a far different grad transfer situation than what Calipari has argued against in the past.

Take Drexel for example with former coach Bruiser Flint and star player Damion Lee, who went on to become a grad transfer with the Louisville Cardinals. Flint recruited and developed Lee, only to watch him leave for a bigger program.

Travis, however, originally committed to Stanford under then-head coach Johnny Dawkins, who has since been fired and replaced with Jerod Haase, who has gone 33–33 in his first two seasons.

Stanford is also a Power 5 program, so it’s not like Kentucky is poaching a player away from Morehead State, EKU or Western Kentucky. Stanford lands far more big-time players than a smaller school like Drexel ever lands.

Calipari will earn some criticism for being so critical of this rule in the past and still possibly taking a grad transfer this year. But what it ultimately boils down to is that he doesn’t have to like the rule, but if someone like Travis wants to come, Calipari doesn’t have to say no either.