ARLINGTON, Texas — UK Coach John Calipari had his pre-Wisconsin press conference Friday, and the conversation turned at one point to his feelings on the NBA’s age limit.
Here’s what Calipari had to say about the “one-and-done” rule and how to improve it:
Question. Do you feel a personal responsibility to alter the discussion around one-and-done when you talk about succeed and proceed or is it something that you talk about with other coaches? Has this been, I don’t know if burden is the right word, but something that you’ve kind of wanted to get out of further and further and more and more?
Calipari: Well, I have the bully pulpit right now so I can talk about it, but my thing is I’m proud of what we have done for these young people. We have had four years of a B average, we graduated 12 guys, we have had guys that have gone on to the NBA and had college degrees. We have had 17 players drafted. Many of those just changed the whole direction of their family. Everyone of them in the league right now is doing well.
“It’s not like guys are going and they should have never left, they didn’t make it. Look at this. They’re all doing well. Not only are they doing well, they’re giving back to their communities. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Samaritan’s Feet, he’s like their major spokesperson. You have John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, who gave a million back to charity as soon as they signed their contracts. Are you kidding me?
“So the connotation is, no one wants to put their arms around this, and I don’t care if you do or not, this is about the kids to me. So when I said, why don’t we make this about succeed and proceed. If you don’t succeed, you can’t proceed. If you do succeed, you can proceed. It’s just how it is.”
Question: I don’t know your specific opinion on this, so I apologize if you’ve been asked before. I just wanted a little clarification on (a two-year-in-college minimum to enter the NBA Draft).
Calipari: For probably the last five or six years I’ve said we need to go to a two-year, and the reason is, it’s great for high school players because you have a lot of high school players that all are thinking they’re one and done. It’s great for the college game because you’re going to have more continuity with players.
“For the players, it’s good and I’ll tell you why. Two years and two summers, they’re a year and a half away from a college degree. Now you’re a year and a half away, you can come back, you can do this. Now you can always tell your children when they say, ‘Well, Dad, wait a minute, I played professionally and I got a college degree. You’re going to school. I did both.’
“The other side of it is, the NBA, in my opinion, they have a four-year contract. If you want kids to stay for two years in school, take one of those away. Now you got a three-year contract. So the kids still get to their money at the same time.
“But the NCAA also has to do their part, pay for the disability insurance, pay for the loss of position in the draft. Do other things that if kids are going to stay longer, the NCAA steps up and does stuff so that kids, it’s about them. They’re covered if they stay, they’re helped if they’re here, and when they leave, they still do what they would have done under the old rules. Pretty simple in my mind.”