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John Calipari talks guard-heavy roster, NBA Draft decisions and more

Calipari is already working the phones to campaign for his guys to NBA teams. He’s also hyped about next season.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-South Regional Practice Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

John Calipari is going to have a guard-heavy lineup next year, with Quade Green and Jemarl Baker returning, and Tyler Herro, Immanuel Quickley, Tyrese Maxey (maybe) and Ashton Hagans (maybe) joining the team.

Calipari noted that in an interview with Cats’ Pause, in which he said they’d play a lot of guards, and could even go to a four-guard lineup.

“We’ll be back to playing a lot of guards,” Calipari said. “And with playing guards, you play a little different. Sometimes you play with four guards. Villanova played with four guards. We can do that with this team.”

The Villanova Wildcats’ four-guard team was dominant, obviously, winning a national title with relative ease over the Michigan Wolverines last year thanks to dominant shooting.

Calipari tried three and occasionally four-guard lineups a couple years ago with De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Dominique Hawkins, Mychal Mulder and Isaiah Briscoe. It didn’t work as Calipari expected, so he mainly stuck to a three-guard lineup, but there’d likely be more shooting ability on this team.

Quickley will join Green to make up a pair of point guards. Calipari raved about Quickley.

“Unbelievable work ethic,” Calipari said. “Long, lanky. Tough, hard-nosed kid who can really shoot the ball. You’ve got that plus being able to play point. He’s going to be a good player.”

Calipari also talked about some of his incoming front court, along with Keldon Johnson who he said could play in the backcourt and on the wing. You can read his comments on that from Cats’ Pause here.

Not long after this interview, Calipari hopped onto Twitter to talk about the NBA Draft decisions that took place Wednesday. While Calipari would have loved to keep coaching Wenyen Gabriel and Jarred Vanderbilt, he understands and supports their decisions. He also thinks this could turn into a good thing for both players, despite their NBA stock appearing to be not very high at this moment.

“With Jarred and the injuries, this is a good opportunity for him to step out, and I think there’s been interest,” said Calipari. “There are things that you don’t know that we know, so, they (the NBA) have an interest in him.”

“Wenyen, with his family situation, if he wants to do this, I’m for him. I’m on the phone right now making phone calls for him to different clubs.”

But while UK lost those two, they did keep PJ Washington, who will bring a level of experience and NBA-level talent to UK that’s been hard to come by.

“Everyone that knows this program knows that when we have veterans come back with good young players,” said Calipari. “It’s been a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to it.”

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