After a recent rumor that John Calipari was telling NBA scouts that Andrew and Aaron Harrison would return to Kentucky next year, it appears that there may be another side to the story. ESPN draft guru Chad Ford held a live chat the other day and the subject as to which UK players would opt for the NBA came up and Ford had an interesting response.
“Randle and Young look like they’re gone. Hearing both the Harrison twins also want to declare (though their current draft stock may scare them back into school). Cauley-Stein and Poythress are both wildcards. Ditto for Dakari Johnson.”
It’s worth noting that neither of the Harrison twins have shown up in three of the most recent draft predictors from national outlets, including Ford’s latest update to his Big Board on Tuesday. It’s also worth noting that it would not be a surprise if both players did leave for the NBA after this season, despite what John Calipari has said recently.
My thoughts on this? It’s still way to early to read too much into this. Obviously all players if they can want to get to the NBA as quickly as possible and being at Kentucky expedites the process. I do think that there is a priority issue if a player is more concerned about the NBA rather than the Florida Gators, but I am not privy to know what is going through any players minds.
I certainly don’t fault any player if they want to improve their live and follow their dreams. With that said, there seems to be a lack of communication between Calipari and his players of this is true.
So, looking at the bright side of life, what will happen if most of this team does stay? While in my opinion, only Julius Randle and James Young are a lock to leave Kentucky, what will happen if a lot of these freshmen stay? ESPN took a look at the changing recruiting needs of Kentucky and the future is definitely bright.
Original plan: No one was preparing for more of a mass exodus than John Calipari, who saw seven of his players projected as first-round NBA draft picks in Ford’s first mock draft in the fall. And Calipari recruited accordingly. The Wildcats landed four ESPN 100 products — Trey Lyles (Indianapolis/Arsenal Technical), Karl Towns Jr. (Metuchen, N.J./St. Joseph), Devin Booker (Moss Point, Miss./Moss Point), and Tyler Ulis (Matteson, Ill./Marian Catholic)– in the early signing period and were expecting to potentially sign two more in the late signing period, according to comments from Calipari.
Recent developments: Seven has dropped to three with both Goodman and Ford now projecting Julius Randle, Willie Cauley-Stein, and James Young as the team’s only first-round picks. That means that Andrew and Aaron Harrison, Dakari Johnson and Alex Poythress could all potentially return to school.
Consequences: Calipari might not use two more scholarships in this class after all, and while the current incoming four-man class is still good enough for second-best in the country, the reality is that Kentucky missed on a number of their top targets in this class. As good as the Wildcats’ current group is, they are unlikely to be national contenders on their own. However, combine those four with the Harrisons, Johnson and Poythress, not to mention Marcus Lee and Derek Willis, among others, and now you have one of the deepest teams Calipari has had in Lexington — and an absolute title contender.
With all the talk about the NBA Draft that this morning’s edition of the 5 has taken, it seems that the new NBA commish is strongly opposed to the one and done age limit. Here is a bit of what Adam Silver had to say about the NBA age limit and check the link for more of his comments.
Q: Along those lines, what’s your level of optimism when it comes to your goal of raising the minimum age to 20 (years old from 19 when the next CBA is negotiated, likely when there’s an opt-out after the 2016-17 season)?
A: It’s hard to tell. I never quite understood the player opposition. Of course it’s a zero sum game in terms of numbers of jobs, and amount of salary we pay out. We pay out roughly 50% of BRI (basketball-related income), and that’s divided among the players in the league. So there is absolutely, and by definition can’t be, a financial savings to us by increasing the age to 20. It has been our belief that we have a better chance to grow the (financial) pie that gets divided 50-50 if we increase the age and create, in essence, a more competitive league. And it has been our sense for a long time that our draft would be more competitive if our teams had an opportunity to see these players play an additional year, whether it be in college or professionally in the Development League or overseas.