KENTUCKY HOOPS GURU
The Wildcats' coach assessed the impact on his program of having five players go in the first round and dished on recruiting a certain three-year-old
You called draft night the best in Kentucky basketball history? Is that a little bit over the top?
John Calipari: Well, it depends on your frame of reference and what you're thinking about. When I took the job, I said this will be a players-first program. And I said we want to graduate players. We graduated four. We want to win national titles. And it's to help players realize their dreams and we had five—five—players that are now realizing their dreams.
Then do you assume that from your incoming recruiting class you will lose two, three or four guys next year?
JC: No. No one thought that Eric Bledsoe would go [to the NBA] after a year, let alone [as] the 18th pick. Daniel Orton didn't play his senior season in high school and played  minutes a game [for me]. You thought he'd leave and be in the first round? Everybody said there was no way after one year that DeMarcus Cousins's maturity would be where it would be for him to be able to leave. He may have to stay three years. And so all of a sudden, all five go. It's a players-first program, and if they're realizing their dream, I'm going to encourage it. And then we have to figure out as a program—I don't agree with one and done. Kids should be able to go directly to the league if they choose, or they should stay in college two or three years. I've said that for 10 years. But that's not the rule. With the young teams that we're coaching, the hard thing for our program will be to win those last two or three games. That's what's going to be hard.
Would you rather have a lesser talented group that stayed three or four years?
JC: No. I like coaching the best. That's why I go on radio with you, because I like talking to the best. I said this last night, and I know this may be aggravating to some of the old guard of Kentucky. Last night for me, emotionally, you have no idea. It was like winning the national title. What if we had won the national title and none of them got drafted? Or they got hurt and their careers ended? Think about it. For me personally, it's not changing my life. Kentucky has won seven national titles. I'm hoping we back into a couple more, but who knows. For these young people, their lives and the direction of the lives of their families changed last night. For me, that's huge.