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Calipari discusses UK's signing class

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FB 09_10 UK_Camp 06.jpgHuge day, obviously, for the state of men's basketball on the first day of the spring signing period.

As I've alluded to multiple times on the blog the last two days, we cannot talk about a prospective student-athlete until he/she has officially turned in a National Letter of Intent. As of now, that list includes Enes Kanter and Stacey Poole Jr., who signed with Kentucky in the early signing period.

Head coach John Calipari was on the ESPNU signing day show just a little bit ago to talk about Kentucky's recruiting. Here is the transcript of what he had to say:

ESPNU: When you got the paperwork of Enes Kanter, what came to your mind about what he can potentially mean for the Kentucky program?
Calipari: He's going to obviously help us. ... Obviously we're having to replace a team. It's not like we recruit one-and-dones. No one would have ever thought four guys would leave, but we recruit talented players who want to work hard, who want to be challenged, who want to elevate their game, who want to change their mentality. When it all comes together, stuff like this happens. It's the first time, so we're treading water that's never been treaded before. This is something that we're trying to figure out. Wow, four guys, but when you get (Kanter) and a few other kids signed, with the kids we have coming back, I think we're going to be fine.

ESPNU: When you're in the stature that you are in and with your position at Kentucky, people want to speculate about the way certain things will go down. People are already doing that with Kanter playing professionally overseas, but there were some questions as to whether he would be eligible. Clear that up.
Calipari: There is a lot of misinformation out there. He's been cleared by the (NCAA) clearinghouse already, academically. He was born in Switzerland because his father was in med school then. So now, his father is an educated man (and) he wants his son educated. What all of the people need to understand, out there in Europe every player - 12, 13, 14, 15 (years old) - they play on a club team and those club teams have professional teams. That's why the NCAA is going back on these rules and looking them over again and saying, 'If a young man is not 18, he cannot sign a FIBA contract so he cannot be professional.' This young man, Enes is 17 years old today as we speak. He's not allowed to have a professional contract. He's allowed to get per diem and travel and education and stuff like that. One school in Benetton, they bring those kids in and it's like they're in prep school. They're housed, they're fed, they're worked, basketball is twice a day, academics, so it's different in Europe. I think the great thing the NCAA is doing now, instead of if you played in five games when you were 16 years old, that means you miss five games, they're going back and they're changing that. That's what they're going back and addressing, based on European basketball is not like basketball here in the states.

ESPNU: You mentioned Kanter's background with his pops there with that great education, which brings us to Stacey Poole. His dad was the fourth-leading scorer in school history with the Florida Gators. You're bringing Poole now into the fold as one of the top shooting guards in the nation. How do you see him fitting into that dribble-drive?
Calipari: First of all, I love him. He's one of the great kids. You know who he's going to be like for us? Antonio Anderson (previously of Memphis) - the glue of the team, the guy that does it all. He'll rebound and he'll defend. His assist-to-turnover ratio will be good. He's going to be terrific. I watched Enes in that (Nike Hoops Summit) game and I've watched Stacey throughout. I'll tell you what, we're getting the kind of guys that we want to go with, that are tough and that are good teammates. Here's the dynamic that has changed in college basketball the last two to three years: Where kids would go just for the program name, now they're going, 'Will these coaches help me improve and change my game?' If not, they don't care about the name of the program. The second thing is, if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. Before, you wouldn't go where someone else went. If he went, I'm not going. I want to be the only guy. Now they're going three and four together, and that is changing. That is changing and making things different.

ESPNU: According to my count, there are still five of the top 100 ESPNU prospects all considering Kentucky. Explain to me how much room is left and how that works out as far as numbers, who you end up taking.
Calipari: You can't say, 'Well, they've got too many players at Kentucky, you won't play.' You won't be able to say that. We've got room for nine, 10 - we've got a lot of room. I'm hoping our thing is we have 11 guys on scholarship. That's what I've always had when I was at Memphis, when I was at Massachusetts. There were times when we had 10 because I really want all nine, 10 guys to really have that opportunity to go do their thing. When you're talking about 13 kids on scholarship, those last three, it's hard. It's hard to get them minutes. With the way I coach, it's hard to get them in practice. So we're looking at possibly bringing in five or six players in this class.

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3 Comments

Didn't Brandon Knight sign with UK today? Isn't he the #1 recruit?? Why aren't you talking about him? I know Poole and Kanter are great prizes, but unless I'm missing something out here in Seattle, Knight is the top prize, with many to follow.

Enes is the best player in his age group.
Indisputable, he chosen the right uni.in Usa
come on Kanter !!!

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Recent Comments

  • beyti : Enes is the best player in his age group. Indisputable, he chosen the right uni.in Usa come on Kanter !!! read more
  • Eric Lindsey: The Knight post is up there now. As the school's official Web site, we could not post anything about Knight read more
  • bruce hutson: Didn't Brandon Knight sign with UK today? Isn't he the #1 recruit?? Why aren't you talking about him? I know read more