Updated: Aug 16
John Calipari took to the podium today before heading off to Canada by discussing a commonly disputed topic across the college sports world, Name, Image and Likeness, amongst other various topics in the Kentucky basketball world.
Calipari started off his media opportunity by announcing that some reports across the BBN are simply not true as things are becoming more and more tight-lipped. "We're not going to be in the business of sharing all of the stuff that we're doing here... So, there will be things that're said, some of them will be right, most of them are wrong, but that's fine, I'm not going to respond to it all." Calipari went on with further NIL discussion, explaining that he did not want the NIL process to become simply about money. "I do not want it being transactional, I want it to be transformational, where it's about educating. (NIL) is not just about the gathering."
Coach Cal then went on to update media and fans alike on the status of freshman Aaron Bradshaw. "(Bradshaw) had a foot injury. Had a choice to make - do you let it heal, or do you do an operation? 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 went on to say that Bradshaw will be back on campus this weekend and will be put in a precautionary boot but will not participate in the 2023 GloblJam scheduled to begin in just a week and a half. Calipari was later asked if he'd expect Bradshaw to miss any time in the regular season due to his operation, "Not from what the doctors are telling me, but we will not rush him back..."
After speaking on the injury status of one Cat, John Calipari praised two returning Cats in Adou Thiero and Ugonna Kingsley. "Well, both of them are way better. They have Ugonna projected in the first round. I mean, I didn't project him in the first round." Calipari went on to say that while he's building his physique and beginning to structurally look like his dad Almamy, a former Calipari player, he also mentioned Thiero is in the 6-foot-7 range, officially listed at 6-foot-6 last season. On top of that, Calipari also included that Thiero could play the 3 position or the 4. Huge news surrounding some of the choices in the last few years in regard to the 4 position.
For fans hoping to add another big for the 2023-24 season, the hope is still alive. When asked, Calipari didn't run from the idea of another addition. "Because everything has changed, you have a lot of teams that need guys. I'm going to make a guess, and I've been wrong before... It was 1978, '77, I would say 10 more transfers would happen, maybe, in August. So, a team that thinks they have guys, you're not going to have that guy. So why would that happen? How could that happen?"
Calipari went on to say players that have graduated have no limits on when they can transfer. Calipari has a loaded team going into the 2023-24 season and even made it apparent that he seems confident with the mixture between elite young freshmen and veterans. "Where we are, I'm happy about it. We've got veterans. The best teams I've coached had really good young players and some veterans. Now those veterans weren't older veterans, sometimes they were sophomores and juniors, but they were veterans in that they played college basketball." Calipari went on to say that Antonio Reeves is seeming to be a completely different player. At times last season, he was quiet and anxious. Calipari used this time to speak on his lack of anxiety, stating that when Reeves walks in the room he talks more and now he knows and is 'just playing'. Calipari noted that without any real closure on who will eventually suit up for the team this season, he does not know yet what style of basketball will be instituted.
On the addition of Tre Mitchell, Calipari described it as 'fate'. "If (Bob Huggins) doesn't have an issue... that kid loved Bob Huggins. He wasn't leaving. And then all of the sudden, wait a minute, what's happened, I'm out. That's fate." Calipari then added that if it weren't for the DUI incident leaving West Virginia without a head coach, it likely would've been someone else to sign with Kentucky for the upcoming season.
John Calipari spent the majority of the rest of his press conference explaining the NCAA's rules for transfer as well as communicating with the players about the importance of NIL money management. "In high school, they give you semesters, don't they? Do they let you play at 23 in a high school game? You can't, so you've got guys playing at 26 and 27." As Calipari distinguished the two, he noted that although he was for the players, he mentioned that his job is to worry about the safety of 18 and 19 year old players. Calipari joked with the media by noting that with a COVID year, 29 year-old athletes are now playing in the NCAA while working on a second marriage and two kids.
As tongue-and-cheek as Calipari was in Friday's presser, his point is that the NCAA should be doing better after 3+ years of dealing with COVID, transfer portal and NIL. "Name, image and likeness, make it transparent. Don't we have a clearing house for academics? Why don't we have a clearing house for name, image and likeness? Listen, if I call my dog he's running the other way. This doesn't matter, you're asking me my opinion and they won't do it." Calipari then spoke up about the position to provide trusts for NIL acquired NCAA athletes. "We should encourage all the kids that are in name, image and likeness to have 'X' amount that you can take from that money to use for your families or whatever else, the rest goes into a fund in your name in what you want it in."
With things starting to heat up in the Joe Craft Center, the blend of this year's team will be nowhere close to the final product by the end of the year. Expect a fun, happy, and friendly John Calipari and team as the Cats take the court in Canada in two weeks. As for us, make sure you follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as we cover the Cats trip to leading up, during and after their trip to Canada, OR you can find us right here at CatsCoverage.com.
Additionally, you can find the entire video of Calipari's rare June presser by clicking the link below! Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube for the latest Kentucky basketball and football press conferences as well as other content!