For a few years now, the talent factory that is Kentucky basketball under John Calipari, has closed practices to NBA scouts looking for scraps of information about players. Instead, they host a two-day “pro days” where the players are put through workouts attended by nearly every team. Then the doors close, like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
This year, Mike Krzyzewski and Duke are following suit, something first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports (and confirmed by NBC’s CollegeBasketballTalk). NBA teams can come to two pro days in October, and still scout games, of course, but they will not be in practices.
Calipari started doing this in 2014 — the year of Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, Devin Booker, and Trey Lyles — officially as a way to limit distractions. College coaches like their control. This year Duke has Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum, and Grayson Allen, who are all projected as potential first-round picks. While Coach K has yet to address why for the new policy, you can bet on the distractions point being at the forefront.
NBA teams are not going to like this, they want as much information as possible on players that they are about to make multi-million dollar investments in, but it likely won’t alter those players place on draft boards. If Giles and Tatum perform as expected on the court, they are still top five players next June. Whether scouts get into practice or not. Talent still wins out.