Is there a better marketer-in-coach in college basketball than John Calipari?
The NBA Draft is a big recruiting day for Calipari — there are at least three Kentucky players expected to go in the 2016 draft, two in the lottery. That was after six last season, including No. 1 pick Karl-Anthony Towns.
The top Wildcat prospect this season is Jamal Murray, who is listed as a combo guard but will play the two in the NBA. He’s projected no lower than eighth (probably top six) and is one of the better shooters in this draft. Where would he like to land? Calipari said this to the Star-Tribune in Minnesota (hat tip Eye on Basketball).
“OK, well, here’s what I would say. [Wolves president of basketball operations and coach Tom Thibodeau] and I are great friends. He helped my career, helped me basketball-wise and every other way. I’m a big fan of Thibs. Jamal? I’m saying this to you and no one else. He loves Minnesota. As a matter of fact, that’s where he’d like to go.’’
Can’t you see Calipari saying this to the Minnesota-based reporter with a wink? The man knows how to promote himself and his program.
Minnesota drafts fifth and they want to add shooting (they start Zach LaVine at the two, Andrew Wiggins at the three), which would put Buddy Hield and Murray at the top of the list. If they don’t trade the pick for a more established shooter. Starting with the third pick this draft could go a lot of different ways.
The good news for Murray is that while Thibodeau is a yeller in practice, he’s coming out of a Calipari program so he’ll be ready for it.