Kentucky men's basketball head coach John Calipari spoke to the media during one of UK's satellite camp visits to Christian Academy of Louisville in the Derby City about Thursday night's NBA Draft, next year's roster situation and the status of guard Darnell Dodson.
If you don't want to watch the video, check out the written highlights below:
- Instead of talking about how proud it made him to have five players selected in the NBA Draft on Thursday night, Calipari began with the media Friday by talking about what the draft meant to not only the five young men but their families as well. "How about what it meant for those five families?" Calipari said. "Think about that. You're helping young people realize dreams. ... Five families now are in a position that, for the first time, in their lives - it's all of them, it's not just that young person - they're all having that opportunity."
- Calipari was particularly worried about guard Eric Bledsoe and forward Daniel Orton. He thought Bledsoe could have been drafted as high as No. 14 to the Houston Rockets - who ended up picking up teammate Patrick Patterson - but started to worry he could tumble after the Rockets passed. Eventually the Oklahoma City picked Bledsoe with the 18th pick before trading him to the Los Angeles Clippers. Calipari said there were a lot of rumors out there about Orton that concerned him as to where he would end up.
- There has been a lot made about Calipari's reiteration that Thursday night's draft was the biggest moment in Kentucky basketball history. The second-year UK coach didn't back down from that statement Friday in Louisville but explained what he meant by it. "I've said this before: We're a players-first program," Calipari said. "I say this is the biggest moment in Kentucky basketball history, being that one, we've never had a No. 1 pick, two, no one has ever had five players drafted, and three, this team did a lot of stuff during the year, but that moment for those families, they all did their work, they finished - there is a lot of stuff involved in it. I'm not saying winning a national championship is not important. It is. But if you told me you win a national title, a guy gets hurt and no one gets drafted or you go for 0-for-20 against West Virginia and five guys get drafted, you tell me what you want. I know that makes (some people) mad that I would even say that, but I'll be honest with you, if we're about these kids, this was a big day - a big day."
- The next step, Calipari said, is having the No. 1 draft pick and have six-first round draft picks. It doesn't seem so impossible after the 2010 draft.
- Probably the biggest news to come out of Friday's availability was the update on guard Darnell Dodson. Calipari said the team currently has 10 scholarship players and that Dodson is not considered one of them, but he made sure to mention that it did not mean Dodson would not be playing with UK next season. "The bottom line is he has work to do," Calipari said of Dodson, who is on campus and in summer school. "He would be the 11th guy and right now we have 10 that have that opportunity to play. He's got work to do. What we do from there we'll have to see."
- Calipari was asked about rumors of acquiring another transfer. While he did not deny the possibility of a transfer and said that players have contacted the program about transferring, he said nothing appears imminent. Even if the team holds at 10 players and no one else is added to the roster, Calipari feels good about where his team is at. "You lose five first-rounders, we feel as good as you can feel," Calipari said.
- With the current roster UK has, Calipari said you can expect a slightly different style than the one Kentucky played this season, much more similar to his teams at Memphis. Next year's team is much more guard and wing oriented than the 2009-10 team. Because of that, Calipari said they will be more wide open, may press more, play more dribble-drive and quite possibly do more pick-and-rolls. The trip to Canada, he said, will be a great time to figure out point guard Brandon Knight and what type of system he can run, because Knight is different than John Wall the same way Wall was different than Tyreke Evans and Evans was different than Derrick Rose.
- Calipari was asked what he's telling recruits after five of his players were drafted in the first round. Calipari said he can't text the recruits back but said that he was receiving text messages from a bunch of kids saying that they were watching him at the draft. The one mistake he doesn't want kids believing is that five players are going to be drafted every year and that it's that easy. He said he tells them every year that the hardest place you can play at is Kentucky.
- Eight players are currently on campus and the ninth is expected in Sunday. Most, if not all, are expected to be in summer school for six weeks or eight weeks. Most of them will play pickup games over the summer, which Calipari hates because it's not how they will play during the season. He said he would prefer they don't play pickup games more than three days a week. The rest of the time he wants them in the gym working on their shot and in the weight room.
- Calipari believes Sacramento Kings head Paul Westphal, a former college coach, will be a great fit for DeMarcus Cousins. "All this kid needs to know is you care about him, that he's not just an asset, that you truly want him to do well, and that you teach him and he respects you as a coach and you can't be afraid to say no," Calipari said. "Paul understands it. Paul will do it in a way that won't make it personal. That whole organization, they're telling me that they're having bonfires for this kid. They're going nuts. They all wanted him." Calipari admitted that he has a ways to go with his maturity but added that he is as bright and as witty of a kid, especially for a 19-year-old, that he has ever met.
- And finally, Calipari raved about Bledsoe going to the Los Angeles Clippers, an organization he thinks Bledsoe could take off with. "You're all going to watch and say, 'Did we miss something here? How did we not see (this coming?)' " Calipari said. "He's absolutely got that will to win and that toughness."
- As for the camp itself, the kids continue to pour in for the satellite camps, which are taking place across the state of Kentucky. Friday's, at Christian Academy of Louisville, drew 106 campers, the most they've had yet. Camp organizers had to cap it at 106 in fear that they wouldn't have enough space for more. Before the camp began, Calipari and his assistant coaching staff signed autographs for about a half an hour.