UK Men's Basketball

Kentucky’s Calipari welcomes NBA step to eliminate one-and-done players

Five takeaways from Kentucky’s interviews previewing Saturday’s game against Auburn:

1. UK Coach John Calipari welcomed the NBA taking a step toward allowing players to be eligible for the draft out of high school. Even with the potential end of one-and-done players, Kentucky will be “special” no matter the setup, he said.

2. With Kentucky as a so-called “Nike school,” Calipari was not concerned to see Duke star Zion Williamson injure himself when one of his Nike shoes came apart as he planted a foot and prepared to pivot. Williamson’s combination of size and torque made the shoe come apart, not some inherent defect in Nike’s production, Calipari said.

3. Calipari is not distressed by Reid Travis being sidelined for a week or two or however long. That’s because the Travis injury was not more severe than a sprained knee.

4. Nick Richards should not try to impersonate Travis and try to muscle opponents. Richards is not equipped to muscle walk-on Jonny David, Calipari said. Richards should use quickness and agility. Richards said associate coach Kenny Payne has been pushing him harder than ever in practice and in conditioning drills since Travis sprained a knee at Missouri on Tuesday.

5. Calipari said Auburn will shoot 35 to 40 three-point shots Saturday. Actually, the Tigers are averaging 29.1 three-point shots per game in SEC play. UK’s job is to contest Auburn’s three-point shots, Calipari said.

Saturday

Auburn at No. 4 Kentucky

When: 1:30 p.m.

TV: CBS-27

Radio: WLAP-AM 630, WBUL-FM 98.1

Records: Auburn 18-8 (7-6 SEC), Kentucky 22-4 (11-2)

Series: Kentucky leads 93-19

Last meeting: Kentucky won 82-80 on Jan. 19, 2019, at Auburn, Ala.

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Jerry Tipton has covered Kentucky basketball beginning with the 1981-82 season to the present. He is a member of the United States Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame.
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