John Calipari said the NBA’s new proposal to lower the age limit for the NBA draft to 18 will change college basketball for the better if it’s adopted. USA Today reported Thursday that the NBA has formally proposed changing the draft-eligible age requirement from 19 to 18, and Calipari said he would be “ecstatic” if the change meant the players who did come to college stayed longer.
However, the Kentucky coach also said he opposes the “baseball rule” that would require players who choose college basketball to stay in school for two or three years. Players should have the right to leave when they’re ready, he said, but those who do go to college and pass on the chance to leave after high school will likely stay for multiple seasons. “We should not go to a baseball rule,” Calipari said Friday at his pregame news conference for Saturday’s matchup against Auburn. “If a kid goes to college and after a year or two wants to go to the NBA and is good enough — and he grew, he got bigger, he got more confidence — let him go. Why would you now force a kid to go two years?”
If the NBA changes its rules and players like Williamson can turn pro after high school, Calipari said Kentucky will adjust. “If they’re out of high school and they can go directly to the NBA and get drafted and get millions of dollars, I’m for it 100 percent,” Calipari said. “Just let’s not devalue education. Let’s just not devalue it. Let’s not make it solely about basketball. What we do and how we do it is important.”
According to multiple sources, NBA big-shot Kevin Durant and undefeated boxing legend Floyd Mayweather have seats at Cameron Indoor tonight, among other celebs. After LeBron James made the trip to Charlottesville, Va., to see Duke take on Virginia in a top-five matchup, the hoopla and fanfare around the young Blue Devils stars has only continued to grow.
Other notable players already seen on campus Saturday include Gary Trent, Jr., who was a part of the Duke team that lost to Kansas in the Elite Eight last season. Teammate Marvin Bagley III and former Blue Devil Jayson Tatum have already said that they will not be in Durham for the game. Tatum is participating in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge at All-Star Saturday Night.
A small number of NBA players are already in the Adapt, including Boston’s Jayson Tatum, Dallas rookie Luka Doncic, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma and New York’s Frank Ntilikina. Some future NBA players have been exposed to it as well; the Duke men’s basketball team has given them a test drive. “It’s a sneaker, it’s a good shoe,” Duke standout Cam Reddish said. “I didn’t break it in enough for me to wear in a game, but it’s a phenomenal sneaker.”
Just going to say this and get out of the way: The stories about Klay Thompson’s three years at Washington State are as delightful and on-brand — for both Thompson and the Cougars — as you could hope. But first WSU had to get Thompson to Pullman. Ben Johnson, assistant coach: I called Tony Bennett in the middle of the night. He was in Australia recruiting Aron Baynes and Brock Motum. I woke Tony up and just said, “Listen, call Mychal Thompson and get the ball rolling on this thing.” Tony was able to do that, and Klay came up on a visit. Klay is not a man of many words. … He literally said three words the entire visit.