Calipari supports former players, looks ahead to future with current roster

Published 2:30 pm Friday, June 2, 2023

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Kentucky coach John Calipari is looking ahead after two of his former players announced their intentions to remain in the NBA Draft on Wednesday.

Oscar Tshiebwe and Chris Livingston announced they were planning on staying in the NBA Draft, while Antonio Reeves withdrew his name from the draft. Reeves plans on returning next season, but it’s not certain whether or not he will come back to Lexington for a second season. Reeves likely won’t make a final determination until after he meets with Calipari to discuss his role on next year’s squad.

A total of nine players from last year’s squad have declared for the NBA Draft or entered the transfer portal. Next year’s squad likely will be comprised of five freshmen, two sophomores and a transfer.

“I woke up this morning thinking about our team now that the NBA deadline has passed,” Calipari said in a social media post. “We support all of our players as they weigh their options and pursue their dreams and it’s my job to make sure these kids are making informed decisions.

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“It may not be what you think or I think – but it’s informed. But that also makes it hard to move until you really know what your roster is going to be. We’ve prepared for all scenarios and now we can move forward.”

Calipari also expressed his concerns about disinformation that hasi\ circulated surrounding the NIL and other elements associated with college basketball.

“There’s so much misinformation out there and most of it we can’t address publicly,” he said. “Numbers being thrown around just aren’t accurate, who we are in contact with or who we are not in contact with, we don’t make it public.”

While he supports his players, the Kentucky coach added that he wants “players who want this culture, who care about winning, understand what it means to play at Kentucky.

“Both how hard and how rewarding it is and (players who) have the ultimate drive to win and succeed on the biggest stage, which helps everyone,” he said. “We have a talented group right now which isn’t finished yet, but when it’s done we will have a talented team who will chase the ultimate goal together and make BBN proud.”