Kentucky Coach John Calipari is perhaps the most polarizing figure in college basketball. It seems like people either love him or they flat out hate him. Those that hate him say it’s because he is arrogant and brash, which he can admittedly be from time to time. Others hate him based on false media narratives about how Cal is “ruining college basketball” because he embraces the one and done culture, some going so far as to insinuate Calipari invented the OAD rule (for those still believing this myth, one and dones exist due to a rule created by the NBA Players’ Association, stating no players under the age of 19 may enter the NBA draft). Then there are those that love to write anti-Cal articles because they know such pieces will generate clicks on their websites. Case in point, this latest piece of drivel that appeared on The Big Lead website. Only 5 short paragraphs were written, but the intent was crystal clear: Ryan Phillips wants you to hate John Calipari, and he will do his part to make you do so, even if it means using false or inaccurate information.
Let’s start with the author’s title, “John Calipari’s Latest Announcement is Slap in the Face of NCAA.” The announcement to which Phillips was referring was when Cal tweeted out that all eligible Kentucky players would declare for the NBA draft this year. Never mind the author never explains exactly why this is disrespectful to the NCAA. The title was intended to inflame, period. One has to only read the first sentence to reach this conclusion:
John Calipari is using the NBA’s new rules concerning draft declarations to flood the system with his players.
Maybe Phillips could have had some credibility with his story if he knew whose rule Calipari was using. The NBA had nothing to do with the draft declarations rule; this was a change made by the NCAA in an unusual move to actually benefit college players contemplating early entry into the NBA. With the new rule, players may declare for the draft and, if invited, attend the NBA combine as well as work out with one team. They have up to 10 days after the combine to withdraw their name from the draft and retain their college eligibility (as long as they do not retain an agent).
Phillips then asserts Calipari is making a “mockery” of this new system.
Calipari wants it to be a showcase for Kentucky.
Perhaps someone should let Ryan know that Kentucky players are not strangers to NBA scouts. After all, the past 2 seasons, Kentucky has hosted their own combine for Kentucky players. In October, representatives from all 30 NBA teams attended this event to get a closeup look at all the Wildcats. No additional showcase is needed; the NBA knows that Calipari prepares his players for the NBA like no other college coach does.
But Phillips isn’t done; he has also reached the erroneous conclusion that Kentucky players declaring for the draft will prevent other, more worthy players from getting to attend the combine.
Those players will take the spot of other athletes who are truly on the fence about their future. It is completely unfair to players facing tough decisions.
I suppose Ryan doesn’t understand how this works. The NBA is a business and they are making business decisions. Just because a player declares for the draft is no guarantee whatsoever that he will be invited to the combine. There is no limit to the number of players that can throw their hats into the NBA ring. And the NBA isn’t going to invite players to the combine if they don’t see true NBA potential. But then Phillips finally gets to what is really bothering him about this situation:
In addition to that, by making the announcement today, Calipari could also be overshadowing this weekend’s Sweet 16, because you can bet this will be discussed at length for the rest of the week. The NCAA Tournament’s regional semifinals tip-off tomorrow and this ridiculous move by Kentucky will still be a huge topic of conversation.
Oh, Ryan. If you knew anything about Kentucky and Calipari, you would know that Coach Cal always makes an announcement about the futures of his players the week after their season is over. The fact that the Cats exited the NCAA a couple of weeks earlier than usual is what made the timing unpleasant for you. Now, I am certain that the fact you are an Indiana graduate had nothing to do with your unhappiness. I am also certain that if you had any understanding of the new NCAA rule, this announcement was not unexpected and certainly not worth more discussion than say, the academic scandal at North Carolina currently being investigated (at a snail’s pace, mind you).
And then Phillips goes in for the kill:
This makes Calipari look really petty. He can’t allow the spotlight to shine anywhere else for more than a few days, he constantly has to bring it back to himself. It’s another example of him exploiting the one-and-done rule and more proof that the system needs to be reformed.
There is so much wrong with that paragraph, I cannot begin to address it all. The bottom line is this: the new rule allowing the players the opportunity to get real, meaningful feedback from the NBA before having to make a life-changing decision as it relates to their academic career is a big step forward. If you have problems with the one and done rule, I suggest you take it up with the NBA Players’ Association. Do some research on Calipari (actual research, not just sound bites). You will discover that he is no fan of the one and done rule, but he will make lemonade from lemons. Oh, and it’s not a good look to say Calipari is trying to bring the spotlight on himself when you are the one writing about him.
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