Anyone who has been a Kentucky Basketball fan for any period of time is almost certainly aware of the running joke where it’s said, “There are 2 seasons in Kentucky – basketball and recruiting.” But since the arrival of John Calipari, I think it’s fair to say we now have 3 seasons – basketball, recruiting and the NBA Draft.
As the 2018 draft night approaches, the BBN will once again be watching to see where our latest bunch of Cats end up after two rounds of player selections. While some have called this a “down” year for Cal’s kids, the fact remains he still has 2 players that will be in the green room (Kevin Knox and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander) and 3 more players that will potentially hear their names called Thursday night (Jarred Vanderbilt, Wenyen Gabriel, and Hamidou Diallo).
When you look at the numbers of Cal’s success in having players drafted, it’s really quite staggering:
Equally impressive is how those draft picks have performed once they arrived in the league. Just look at John Wall, Demarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, Jamal Murray, and Julius Randle to name just some of the lottery picks during the Cal era. They are not only making it in the NBA, they are thriving. This led Calipari to say during his teleconference on Monday:
By taking one of our guys in the lottery, it’s probably a pretty good bet they’re going to make it.
Of course, there are some fans that still think Calipari is less interested in winning national championships than he is in getting players into the NBA. Folks, the two concepts don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Calipari recently noted that players that make Final Fours or win the NCAA Championship are generally higher draft picks.
Winning matters here. National championships, Final Fours matter. I try to tell the guys that. It impacts the draft position.
It’s like a circle of life. Great players help teams advance deep in the NCAA. Great finishes in the NCAA Tournament elevates draft positions for players. More players drafted in the lottery leads more great players to choose Kentucky. Rinse and repeat.
Basketball season to recruiting season to draft season – all work together to keep Kentucky as a major threat in college basketball. Thursday, it’s season 3 so enjoy the ride!
Follow me on Twitter @ForeverBigBlue