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John Calipari has no idea on who might leave early, “surprised” by rumor Rex Chapman started

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky coach John Calipari started a national media tour Monday to promote his new book, “Players First: Coaching from the Inside Out,” and admitted he had no idea how many players would leave UK early for the NBA draft and denied reports that he had any interest in coaching the Los Angeles Lakers.

“I don’t know. I really don’t know right now,” said Calipari on the Dan Patrick Show when asked how many players might leave UK. “We had great conversations. They all have the information. I am not going to meet with them nine times. This is it. Tell me what you want to do so I can help you.”

He later when on Kentucky Sports Radio and said he called 10 NBA general managers the day after UK lost to Connecticut in the national championship game to gauge where his players might land in the draft. He said he even had one player on the way to the airport in Dallas after the title game he told him he didn’t want to leave UK.

“As I was doing all of the other research, they were throwing his name in, and a couple of them told me he could be a first round pick. So, I had to call him back in and say, ‘I know what you said to me, but you and your mom need to sit down and talk about this because here’s some of the information I’m getting,’” Calipari said.

“If you’re in the first round, you’ve got to go do this, if you’re in the lottery, you’ve got to go do this.” In fact, if a player wants to come back, he has them sit down and explain why, like Patrick Patterson did back in 2009,” Calipari said.

Calipari said he doesn’t see any way all eight players that might consider leaving early would do that. He noted they have until April 27 to make a decision to put their names into the draft and that they are “not hurting” him or UK by waiting to make a decision.

“You obviously know that there’s a couple, they’re going to go, and then there’s three or four that are like ‘what will you guys do?’ At this point? I don’t know. I don’t think all eight will leave. How about that? We finally will have some guys come back. I don’t think eight will go, but five, six, four, I don’t know,” he said.

He also addressed the rumor former Kentucky star Rex Chapman put out a few hours before the national championship game that he had been told it was a “done deal” that Calipari was going to be the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.

“Obviously it is not true,” Calipari told Patrick.

He said he was “surprised” that Chapman put that message on Twitter.

“You know, every year I have coached I am going somewhere. That is all part of being the coach at Kentucky but that disappointed me in that unless the Lakers told him, which I know wasn’t done … They had a coach. We had a coach. Getting ready for the championship game. I am not mad at Rex. We are moving on,” Calipari said.

Calipari said the rumor was not a distraction for him or the team because they didn’t know about it until after the game.

Patrick asked if Calipari would one day like to be offered the Lakers job?

“No, I am good We need to get this thing to two years (before a player can leave college for the NBA),” he said.

He said on Kentucky Sports Radio that he had a “great job” where he could impact the lives of players and their families and wanted to keep doing that. However, he told Patrick if players are still able to leave school after one year that it would “be hard” for him to still be coaching in three to five years.

“The option is to recruit players that are not good enough (to leave UK for the NBA after one year) or convince kids that should leave that they should stay,” Calipari told Patrick. “I am not comfortable with that and BBN is not comfortable with the first one (recruiting players not as good). Let’s get to two years because that is good for everyone.”

Calipari said even if he didn’t get the top-ranked players, the 50th rated recruit would still think he could be a one-and-done player.

“If I try to talk them into staying, people are going to say I am doing it for me,” he told Patrick. “I give information to families and they make the decisions. I can’t go at this any other way.”

Permanent link to this article: http://vaughtsviews.com/john-calipari-has-no-idea-on-who-might-leave-early-surprised-by-rumor-rex-chapman-started/

13 comments

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  1. Larry Pup

    I hope all 8 come back just to shut all the sports writers like Kyle Tucker of the C-J and the ESPN guru’s like Chad Scott up. Just let the kids make their choices without all the drama and report on it after the fact is my view. All these talking heads know if the bulk of these guys are back at UK next year, the rest of the college basketball world can standby. It’s a pipe dream, I know, but I would like to see it none the less. I believe all their stock could go up in a second year at UK with another potential shot at the NC. I’m all for players getting a big pay check, but as a fan it’s getting a bit old to see UK reload every year, and I think it will ultimately force Calipari to an early grave or into retirement from the college game, which he eluded to in this article.

  2. JimHarris

    Public figures such as high profile coaches try to be most careful about protecting or releasing information to the public. Cal is in that group. The history among coaches denying rumors which shortly come true is enormous. People seem to accept those lies since they understand that the person wanted to manage that information to the best interest of all involved.

    Rex has long been a loved home boy by most of the BBN, but some of us (me) disliked the way he left the program in the lurch at one of those desperate times, felt it was a callous and very selfish move. Does anyone think Rex is stupid enough to release such a statement if he thought there was a likelihood that it would immediately prove to be false? Does this make any sense at all?

    Some are now saying that Rex was just going for attention. Now that IS stupid. As a media man, the last thing he needs is a strong negative ripple throughout the BBN with himself being cast as the villain. The timing was indeed unwise but some highly trusted informant jumped the gun in telling Rex it was a done deal and Rex is apparently not experienced enough in that devious world to remember to find some form of verification before going forward, but to his credit, Rex did say only that it was reported to him by someone in the know.

    Now Rex’s reputation is in ruins among many, Cal is clean and on ESPN talking about how tough his job is, how it has aged him and how he probably won’t last more than a couple more years if the one-and-done isn’t changed. This the day after stating for the umpteenth time that he has the best job going. This is just one example of how Cal can and does change his story to fit the current line of thought. Not criticizing, just stating an obvious well know fact.

    As mentioned earlier, I’m not a great Chapman fan. Nor am I normally a critic of the man who has brought our broken program back to the level of prominence the BBN feels it deserves. It’s just that I’m not ready to crucify Rex for making a mistake in judgement nor declare there was no truth behind the story. Just an overall unfortunate happening that has even led to some ill advised fans declaring that Rex is a Cardinal at heart and doesn’t at all care if he hurts the UK program. Rubbish if I ever heard it.

    How easy it is to take down a hero. UK basketball needs all the heros it can get–and keep!

  3. Ron Newlin II

    I can only assume that Cal was refering to James Young or Alex Poythress when he said, “As I was doing all of the other research, they were throwing his name in, and a couple of them told me he could be a first round pick. So, I had to call him back in and say, ‘I know what you said to me, but you and your ( mom ) need to sit down and talk about this because here’s some of the information I’m getting”.
    From everything I have read over the past year or two I can only remember James talking about his mother and godfather and Alex only refering to his mother in stories I have read. I am probably way off base because that’s why I said I can only assume.

    1. Karen

      James has been projected as a first round pick in nearly every mock draft I’ve seen over the past few months, so I would assume he’s speaking of someone else. It’s going to be a long wait until April 27 (the official NBA deadline for entering the draft), although I suspect the official news will start trickling out about various players. Tomorrow is the NCAA deadline for withdrawing if a player has announced, I believe.

      1. UKFMLY

        Marcus Lee is who they are referencing from what I’ve heard.

    2. UKFAN197TONE

      Randle!!!!

  4. Bassman

    WCS coming back!!!!!

  5. King Ghidora

    Cal said it all when he said, “If I try to talk them into staying, people are going to say I am doing it for me.” How many other coaches are doing exactly that. Montrezl Harrell is staying at Loserville despite being projected as a #1 draft pick. I know that isn’t always about the player being talked into staying but when you see a pattern of such moves, which happens a lot at certain schools, then you know why Cal calls UK a “players first” school. I think the distinction is it isn’t a “coach first” school. Those coaches make big money on the backs of those players. Yes the players get something out of it but didn’t we just hear how players couldn’t afford to eat? I know how that goes. I lost 25 lbs. in just one year at UK trying to live off that cafeteria food. And I had some money at the time. There just wasn’t anywhere to buy anything decent unless you really had big money.

    Cal is the most stand up coach in college basketball. It would be a huge loss if he did leave the program. He’s also the best coach in the country. But if the Lakers offer him $20 million a year to coach (which they could do) it would be a big temptation. And pooh on Chapman for his statement. No matter what it was ill timed. This isn’t the first thing he’s done that has made me think twice about him. To be honest I thought he must have been drunk when he did that game on tv for the Cats. Singing My Old Kentucky Home over and over and singing it “very” badly??? Saying the same things over and over again? A whole lot of people switched over to listen to Jim Nance because of Chapman. I don’t know what his problem is but he has one. I didn’t begrudge him leaving UK when he did. He would have been wasting his time playing for Sutton that year. The program was in shambles and everyone knew it. But the guys that did stay became the most beloved Cats of all time. “King” Rex wasn’t one of them as we all know. Again he has said a lot of things that were hurtful to UK and UK fans over the years. I try to support the guy but he keeps biting us on the rear. This statement he made was classless in the extreme. You don’t sour a championship game like that. Look at the difference it made when Wooden announced his retirement before the 1975 championship game. It could have made just as much of an impact on the players to hear Cal was leaving only it would have been a negative impact. That just stinks beyond belief. Chapman will have a long road back to being respectable IMO. I don’t think he cares about the BBN at all despite what he sometimes says.

  6. King Ghidora

    I meant first round draft pick when I mentioned Harrell. Oops!

  7. Kokamo Joe

    A friend told me that it was a shame that Pitino talked Harrell into coming back for his junior year. I called him and told him that it was a shame that Cauley-Stein was talked in to coming back by Calipari. Obviously my point was that we outsiders don’t have a clue what coaches say to players. Personally, I think that many, if not most of the better college players have outside advisors who fill them and their parents in on what is out there and what their possibilities are. Many of these advisors later sign lucrative agent contracts.

    1. larryvaught

      If you remember, Willie hinted at least twice during tournament that he would be back, so this was no huge shock

      1. Larry Pup

        Cal talks it over with each player and they make their own decision Joe, end of story. Like Larry V says WCS had given several hints early on that he could return, and apparently is. Not sure about Pitino and his troops. Your friend may be right. I agree with King on that.

  8. grant

    I wish Rex would shut his hole.

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