John Calipari has always been a coach to put the interest of his players first, and that was the case again when he recently spoke to the Sporting News about proposed changes to the college basketball recruiting landscape.
In the wake of the FBI recruiting scandal, there’s a chance that the NBA could kill the one-and-done, and once again allow high school basketball players to enter into the NBA Draft. Calipari has some ideas on how to do that correctly.
Calipari doesn’t know yet what form all of this will take, but he would like the NBA — if it moves toward encouraging players to enter the developmental G League out of high school instead of playing in college — to pay a reasonable signing bonus and to pledge to cover athletes’ college expenses should they decide to pursue a degree upon the completion of their playing careers.
The NBA has moved more and more towards protecting players financially in their post-NBA future, so this wouldn’t be all that crazy for them to do. And if top NBA prospects played a year or two in the NBA G League, the league would likely see revenues rise, thus leading to higher salaries.
Calipari would also like to see the NBPA Top 100 Camp be turned into a type of draft combine for high school juniors, so they could have greater feedback on their draft chances while still in school.
Calipari said that he hadn’t really thought about how he’ll recruit if these changes take effect, but he’s at Kentucky, so he’ll be fine. And so will those who come after him.
“Kentucky is going to be fine,” Calipari said, according to Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News. “The next coach at Kentucky is going to be fine. He’ll probably win an NCAA championship; that’s the history of this place. Are we doing right by kids?”
The recruiting will get harder, but Kentucky always gets its guys, especially under Calipari. He seems to not be worried about that, but more about how well the kids will be prepared for their future.
The NCAA should listen to him—he’s turned more kids into millionaires than the lottery, he’s gotten them into the classroom, and he’s prepared them for their next life as famous basketball players. There are coaches with more wins and there are coaches with more championships, but there’s not much argument that when it comes to preparing guys to play in the NBA, Calipari does it better than anyone.