John Calipari is known for his prowess as a recruiter, to the point where many believe the Kentucky head coach has to be cheating to get so many 5-star players.
But in a new piece by The New Yorker’s Yaron Weitzman, Calipari had a simpler explanation.
Calipari was on the road during a promotional tour for his new book in late 2016. While on the trip, he called the mother of 5-star point guard Quade Green. He told Green’s mother, “I’m really excited to be coaching him.” By the end of the phone call, Green was committed to the Wildcats.
“And they say I have to buy players—why would I need to buy players when all mine go to the NBA?” Calipari asked.
He makes a good point. Now in his eighth season at Kentucky, 28 of his players have been drafted to the NBA. There were 24 former Kentucky players on NBA rosters when the 2016-2017 season began.
That’s the idea Calipari promotes to the families of all those top players: that he can get them to the league, where they can make real money.
“I’ve got a responsibility to these families—they’re trusting me with their sons,” Calipari told Weitzman. “In many cases, this is their one way to give that child the American Dream.”
Kentucky currently has the No. 1 recruiting class nationally for 2017, which includes early enrollee and 5-star SG Hamidou Diallo.
All rankings and ratings come from the 247Sports Composite.