Ex-Cats

Kentucky transfer Brad Calipari hopes to ‘make a major impact’ at new school

Cal on Brad Calipari considering transferring: ‘Do you blame him for wanting to play more?’

Kentucky men's basketball head coach John Calipari responds to his son, Brad Calipari, placing his name in the NCAA Transfer Portal.
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Kentucky men's basketball head coach John Calipari responds to his son, Brad Calipari, placing his name in the NCAA Transfer Portal.

Brad Calipari has chosen a new school — and the playing time he hopes comes along with it.

The son of Kentucky Coach John Calipari announced Monday afternoon that he is transferring from UK to Detroit Mercy. He had previously narrowed his choices to the Titans and Hampton.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to make a major impact on the court on the college level and I believe the best opportunity to do that is at the University of Detroit Mercy,” Brad Calipari said. “I wouldn’t be in this position without being at Kentucky. I’ve grown so much over the years going against the best college basketball players in the nation and also having the best coaching staff.”

Calipari sat out this past season as a redshirt. He will have two seasons of college eligibility remaining. As a graduate transfer, he will be able to play immediately.

“At the end of the year, each of our players has an opportunity to explore their options and find out what opportunities they have,” John Calipari said in a statement released by UK. “I didn’t believe Brad should be treated any different. … He’s worked really hard and he’s gained the respect of our players because of his work ethic, his drive, his commitment to the game and his skills, so he’s had my full support throughout this process.”

Brad Calipari averaged 2.7 minutes in his 27 game appearances in his in his two seasons on the active roster. He totaled 11 points, five rebounds, two assists and a block.

“Ten years ago my life completely changed when my dad took the head coaching job at the University of Kentucky,” Calipari said. “I became part of a family. I didn’t know it then, but it became part of something that would define who I am and who I want to be. During my time at Kentucky, I’ve grown from a kid to a man. I got in the gym and earned that opportunity a few years ago and I’ve had the privilege of putting on that Kentucky jersey for the last three years. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Calipari began his high school career at Lexington Christian Academy. As a high school senior, he played for the MacDuffie School, which is in Franklin Lakes, N.J., where he averaged 15.3 points and 3.6 assists.

During his time at UK, Calipari has had a couple of opportunities for major minutes — just not with the Cats. He averaged 14.3 points, 6.5 assists and 3.3 rebounds a game in four games during an international basketball trip with Global Sports Academy in Croatia in 2017 and 13.2 points and 7.0 assists a game in four games Global Sports Academy to Europe in 2018.

“Last but not least, I want to thank the Big Blue Nation for all the support over the years,” Calipari said. “Although I’ll be playing my final two seasons elsewhere, this place will always be important to me. Thank you, and go Big Blue.”

John Calipari said he’s glad his son will have a chance to get more minutes on the court at Detroit Mercy for head coach Mike Davis.

“I’ve coached against Mike and know him well. I have great respect for him as a coach and as a leader of young people,” John Calipari said. “I know Brad leaves here with great feelings for our fans and for how he’s been treated … . It’s not easy being the coach’s son, especially at a place like Kentucky, but our fans really embraced him.”

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Dennis Varney is the assistant sports editor for the Lexington Herald-Leader and Kentucky.com. He is a Pike County native and Western Kentucky alum. He has also worked at The Times of Northwest Indiana, The Seattle Times and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
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