It’s a heck of a recruiting pitch for John Calipari.
Six guys from his NCAA title team are expected to go in this NBA draft — including Anthony Davis No. 1 overall and likely four or five in the first round. It’s a ridiculous number.
This is the Kentucky Wildcats NBA draft.
And really, not just this draft — every Wildcats starter the past three years has been drafted, notes the Louisville Courier-Journal.
But this year is a special load of talent Kentucky sends to the NBA. Davis is a lock No. 1, a likely franchise player, but some scouts think Michael Kidd-Gilchrist could be the second best player — and he is a favorite of coaches who love his energy and play at both ends.
Then there’s Terrence Jones, the athletic forward who can score. There is Doron Lamb, the two guard who had a good NCAA Tournament run. Marcus Teague was the point guard who ran the show for Wildcats (and whose brother Jeff is already in the NBA). And Darius Miller could slip into the first round as well. You look at that and can easily imagine how they won an NCAA title.
But it’s wasn’t just talent.
What scouts loved about that Kentucky team was how professional — how much of an NBA-style team — they were. Guys bought into their roles and did what was best for the team, not always themselves. There was ball movement, there was a real commitment to defense (led by the long-armed Davis). These were all top high school recruits who put their egos aside for the team.
It was easy to watch Kentucky and project how these guys could fit into the NBA. Much more than most teams, where the one or two guys with NBA talent dominate play.
John Calipari — about as popular in college basketball as LeBron is in the NBA — won his first ever title with this group now entering the NBA. But there could be more. You don’t have to like how he works the system or how he’s friends with World Wide Wes (and LeBron), you don’t have to like Kentucky. But right now the guy is getting a lion’s share of the best talent and if he can keep getting them to buy into the system he’s going to keep winning.
And keep filling up NBA draft boards.