UK Men's Basketball

Calipari hoped his players would go higher, but ‘the goal is to be drafted’

Kentucky’s Jamal Murray, left, hugged head coach John Calipari, right, after their win against Texas A&M in the championship game of the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Nashville on March 13, 2016. Kentucky won 82-77 in overtime.
Kentucky’s Jamal Murray, left, hugged head coach John Calipari, right, after their win against Texas A&M in the championship game of the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Nashville on March 13, 2016. Kentucky won 82-77 in overtime. AP

Kentucky Coach John Calipari followed up on Thursday’s NBA Draft, offering up his thoughts on how the night played out for his players.

In a post on CoachCal.com on Friday, he talked about this year’s results that saw Jamal Murray drafted seventh by the Denver Nuggets, Skal Labissiere dropping to 28th to the Sacramento Kings, and Tyler Ulis headed to the Phoenix Suns with the 34th pick. Senior Alex Poythress, who was undrafted, will play for the Orlando Magic during summer league and will try to earn a spot on their roster there.

“I want everything for our kids,” Coach Cal said. “I want them to achieve success on the court, to become the best version of themselves, to be drafted in the best position, to be the best players in the NBA and eventually earn their degrees. I truly want each of them to be the best of the best.

“This morning, as I looked back on the NBA Draft, I tried to put things in the right perspective. The goal is to be drafted. I want all of my guys to be drafted in the top 10 picks, and when they’re not I’m disappointed. But by being drafted, each player can prove themselves to an NBA team. If they’re not drafted, like Alex, now it’s time to pick the right team like Aaron Harrison did, and prove yourself in the summer league. I think Orlando is a good landing spot for him.”

Calipari continued:

“The bottom line is this: NBA teams may miss some in the draft, but very rarely do they miss in evaluating players playing in the NBA. There’s too much data and too many comparable players for them to miss.

“At the end of the day, every one of our kids has an opportunity to reach their dreams, and that’s what we’re in the business of doing. In high school, the dream was to play college ball. At Kentucky, they dream of winning a national championship, league titles and going undefeated. Now, as they move on to the next stage, it’s to win a world championship.

“As I said last night, I’m so proud of each of our kids for how much work they’ve put in, and I am so excited to watch them as their careers continue to grow.”

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