Kentucky coach John Calipari is no stranger to roster attrition. He’s accustomed to seeing his underclassmen leave Lexington early to pursue an NBA career.
Many former Wildcats have thrived at the next level — just look at Calipari’s latest product, NBA Rookie of the Year front runner Karl-Anthony Towns. But Calipari recently admitted that he has been put in a bind by players who leave earlier than he thinks they should.
“I’m not holding these kids back,” Calipari told SNY TV’s Adam Zagoria. “I tell kids that shouldn’t go, ‘You shouldn’t go.’ Well, what if that kid says, ‘But, I’m going anyway’?” How would you deal with it? Would you go bury the kid to the NBA, say none of you should pick him, he stinks? Or would you go lie and say he’s unbelievable, he’s the greatest kid.
“What would you do if he were your kid? I’ve had probably four kids absolutely should not have left, and left.”
Calipari’s comments created plenty of speculation on social media as to who those four players were. According to Zagoria, Daniel Orton, Archie Goodwin, Dakari Johnson, Marcus Teague and Doron Lamb received the most mentions on Twitter.
Kentucky’s success stories outweigh the busts. Anthony Davis, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins all were 2016 NBA All-Stars. Towns is having a sensational rookie season and Trey Lyles and Devin Booker are up-and-coming players.
Three underclassmen from last season’s team — guards Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray, plus forward Skal Labissiere — have already declared for the 2016 NBA Draft.