[Moderated by Matt Jones]
Jay Bilas and Young Jeezy. Why not?
Once again over on ESPN Chad Ford, basketball expert extraordinaire, is publishing more articles which only “Insiders” can read. Unlike me, most of you all are too intelligent to pay for such a feature. So what did he write about today? Well, my man Ford got together with Jay Bilas and put together the top “Programs that deliver NBA talent” list. A goofy list for the middle of the season but it includes Kentucky so I’m going to write about it.
To me, the most interesting thing that came out of this list wasn’t what they thought about each individual school but what Jay Bilas thought about the “production” of NBA talent in today’s modern college game. According to Jay he believes that in today’s game Coaches don’t necessarily coach kids to become NBA talent, they simply recruit them to play at their schools. He goes on to say, “Undoubtedly, many players get better — and even blossom beyond all expectations — during their time in college. And some coaches may indeed be more proficient teachers, motivators and communicators. But the narrative that some coaches are especially proficient at developing NBA talent falls short of reality for me.”
Jay Bilas, on top of the entire paragraph he wrote about UK (which can be seen below), briefly brings up Calipari and how he feels as though Cal does nothing more when it comes to developing the player than any other National coach. Bilas does give credit to Calipari, though, saying that he does a lot to get the kids to UK and does a good job motivating and inspiring the players to play to their potential.
Below is the entire paragraph which was dedicated to UK who, unsurprisingly, was #1 on the list:
Over the past three years, Kentucky has had 15 players selected in the NBA draft, including 11 selected in the first round (seven lottery picks) and four in the second round. Of that group, five players were selected in the top five overall, including John Wall, Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Enes Kanter and DeMarcus Cousins. Calipari’s greatest asset as a coach is not that he can develop players, it’s that he can get such young talent to compete daily and respond to challenges that seem beyond their years. Last season, Calipari brought in Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, Marquis Teague and Kyle Wiltjer. I hardly think that Calipari “developed” the first three, and neglected to develop Wiltjer. This season, Calipari has several sure-fire NBA first-round picks in Nerlens Noel, Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin, and those three may feel compelled to leave after this season because their spots will be up for grabs with an even better recruiting class coming in next year. One thing about Kentucky that can speed the development of a player is the level of competition in practice. It is tremendous.
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