By John Calipari, April 28, 2011
As many of you know the deadlines for underclassmen to both declare and withdraw from the 2011 NBA Draft (June 23) don’t provide adequate time to “test the waters.” The deadline to declare was April 24 and players only have until one week from Sunday, May 8), to remove their names from the Draft list.
Three of our underclassmen – freshmen Terrence Jones and Brandon Knight and junior DeAndre Liggins – have declared for the draft but none have elected to have any agreements with advisors or agents. A fourth Wildcat, senior Josh Harrellson, is preparing for the upcoming draft.
My preference, of course, is to again coach all three of these underclassmen but we also have the obligation to these young men and their families to help them make the best, most educated decisions for their futures.
With that in mind, I’m proud to announce the Kentucky Combine to be held May 2-3, 2011 at the state-of-the-art Joe Craft Center on the UK campus. All the NBA teams have been invited to the private workouts for our players that will be conducted by NBA personnel.
There are basically three things that led us to creating this first-of-it’s-kind combine:
1. NBA teams are prohibited from working out or having contact with any players until after the Declared List is released, which happened on April 28.
2. This means players have only just over a week in which to meet with and workout for teams before an ultimate decision must be made.
3. The players are not allowed to miss class during the week to travel to workouts or to visit with teams.
Because of these limitations and our unending desire to always be a players-first program, we have arranged for these two days of workouts and accompanying one-on-one interviews after classes so that NBA personnel can get a complete picture of the type of student-athletes in our program at the University of Kentucky.
My hope is this will allow our players to get direct feedback from NBA decision-makers and hopefully create a clearer picture of what their NBA potential may be. Instead of us telling them what we are hearing, they can hear directly from the clubs.
(All of the underclassmen are taking the necessary precautions to protect their future collegiate eligibility under NCAA bylaw 188.8.131.52.1.1 which would allow them to return to UK.)
I also think that for a player like Josh, these workouts will allow NBA teams to see the type of commitment, skill and determination he showed the Big Blue Nation all season long.
Lastly, I want to thank our Athletic Director, Mitch Barnhart and his staff for helping to formalize this unique combine and opportunity for our student-athletes. It is yet another example of how Kentucky basketball is the gold standard.