Days before John Calipari turned a four-star recruit that wasn’t on anyone’s draft boards going into his freshman season, Jay Bilas suggested that no college basketball programs produce NBA players.
Check it out for yourself.
Interesting article on college programs with the most pros. One thing: college programs don't "produce" pros, they recruit them. Good coaches at every level help players improve, but don't "produce" pros. Which NBA team "produces" the most NBA All-Stars? https://t.co/YhKYGvV0qp— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) June 17, 2019
This response stemmed from the article Bilas linked in his tweet, which ranked the colleges that produce the most impactful NBA players (Kentucky was No. 1).
Well, Coach Cal didn’t exactly agree, as he believes that choosing the right school makes all the difference in the world.
“I don’t agree,” said Coach Cal following the draft. “What about Tyler Herro? What about Eric Bledsoe? I don’t know, maybe I’m missing something.”
He was missing something. I mean, let’s not forget about Devin Booker, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, or Willie Cauley-Stein, either.
These guys looked like three or four-year players who were destined for bench roles on their stacked teams. However, that wasn’t the case. The development of these players not only has helped them produce at an extremely high level in college, but it also helped them get drafted higher than anyone would have imagined.
If Herro ends up at Wisconsin; Shai at Florida; Booker at Missouri; and basically anywhere else for WCS and Bledsoe, do they really become first-round picks with huge careers ahead of them?
“Everybody must have missed on those kids, and we just evaluated them right,” Cal said. “I think there’s two things that’s come out of this: How are our kids, 75% of them, get to second and third contracts? There are other schools who are evaluating just like us, and their kids don’t seem to make it, and when they do make it, it’s about 15% or 20%.”
Cal didn’t shy away from taking Bilas’ claim straight on.
“I don’t agree with him,” Cal continued. “I think there’s a culture that we have, a system, a process that we have in developing them with an idea of what the end result will be.”
While the Hall of Fame head coach has been ridiculously criticized in the past because people think he’s more worried about getting players to the NBA than winning games, he refuted that as well.
“During the season, it’s about winning, it’s about our team. When the season ends, it’s about each individual player.”
Cal assembles his teams with the talent that teams in the NBA will have. He points out that you’re not coming to Kentucky to just be a volume shooter or lockdown defender. You’re coming to be both, and that helps separate the program from others.
In the end, it does matter what school you go to, and that can define your the rest of your career.
“He can say it...I want you to hear: It doesn’t matter what school you go to. You’re going to make it if you’re supposed to. Do you believe that’s true? Does anybody believe that’s true?
“That’s not what I say,” he said. “But to say it doesn’t matter, I don’t know.”
Herro seemed to think he made the right choice in the school and coach that he picked.
I know I chose the right school ♂️ ♂️ ♂️ ♂️ https://t.co/y1m6UTahHm— Tyler Herro (@raf_tyler) June 23, 2019
NBA scout Scott O’Gallagher tends to agree with the pair, as well.
You wouldn’t believe the amount of NBA coaches, scouts and other personnel that I’ve spoken with who praise Cal. I just had an assistant tell me “what he does there goes far beyond recruiting. His development of these players in a short amount of time is something else.” https://t.co/24iFnjEcL5— Scott O'Gallagher (@ScottOGallagher) June 23, 2019
What do you think about Bilas’ comments, and John Calipari’s response? Let us know in the comment section.
You can listen to Calipari’s full response below.
"What about Tyler Herro? What about Eric Bledsoe?"— Alex Walker (@AlexWalkerTV) June 23, 2019
"It doesn’t matter what school you go to, you’re going to make it if you’re supposed to. Do you believe that’s true?"
John Calipari disagrees with @JayBilas' notion about college programs not “producing” NBA players. pic.twitter.com/5LGUJ2OjYK