Calipari confirms Bradshaw’s injury
Published 4:31 pm Monday, July 3, 2023
Kentucky will be without one of its top freshmen when the Wildcats compete in the Global Jam next month in Toronto.
Aaron Bradshaw suffered what coach John Calipari described as a foot injury on Friday. The 7-foot freshmen center had an option to “let it heal” or have an “operation.” Bradshaw chose to undergo a procedure and is expected to be in a walking boot when he returns to campus this weekend.
“He waited for a minute to say, ‘Let me see this.’ But at the end of the day, he said, ‘I want an operation because I want to play,’” Calipari said during his first press conference since the NCAA Tournament.
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“It’s unfortunate for him, but we’ve had guys that couldn’t be there in the summer and came back and played great. All I can tell you is every time, he grabs me, says, ‘I love you, Coach.’ Like, this kid is so excited about him being here and wants to help us win.”
Calipari added the procedure won’t affect the upcoming regular season.
“Not from what the doctors are telling me,” Calipari said. “We will not rush him back. We won’t.”
Calipari said the absence of Bradshaw in Toronto will give his staff a chance to re-evaluate other players on the team’s roster.
“It would be good to have him but without him, we get to see some other guys,” Calipari said. “Now, what if we have to put him at four? What if we want to put him at five? What if we want to go smaller? What if we want to go bigger? How we play kind of comes down to who we’re playing.”
Earlier this month, the roster looked bleak with just seven players, but the recent addition of Jordan Burkes, Joey Hart along with West Virginia transfer Tre Mitchell and the return of Antonio Reeves give Calipari and his staff plenty of optimism for next season.
“We were always in a strong position,” Calipari said. “I was never panicked about anything. Where we are, I’m happy about. … this is all different than we’ve ever dealt with in the past.”
The experience, coupled with newcomers (Bradshaw, Rob Dillingham, Justin Edwards, Reed Shepperd and DJ Wagner), gives Calipari the mix the Kentucky coach says he needs for a successful campaign.
“We’ve got veterans (and) the best teams I’ve coached had really good young players and some veterans,” Calipari said. “Those veterans weren’t older veterans, sometimes they were sophomores and juniors. But they were veterans in that they played college basketball.”
During the off-season, Calipari added John Welch, a longtime NBA assistant coach, to his roster and is expected to hire another staff member in the near future. A likely addition is Chuck Martin, an assistant coach at the University of Oregon.
“(We’ve) still got other stuff to do with staff, and probably within the next 10 days to two weeks, we’ll lay everything out,” he said.
A new NCAA rule allows collegiate programs to hire at least two additional staff members beginning July 1.