John Calipari joined the Stockton Mortgage Sports Talk Show with Dan Issel and Mike Pratt to start the week off, and many headlines came from it. A major one being the quote that he didn't want the NIL or-deal to be a part of getting transfers here. While it wasn't a good point to be making in my opinion, the quote being surfaced online was very misleading. Here's what he actually said.
"The problem with the transfer portal, what I like about it is if you lie as a coach, if you lie to a player he can leave right away. If a player is not quite good enough, he can leave and play right away. I like that. The problem is, the name, image and likeness should not be a part of it and it has become a part of it and if anybody is talking to me about name, image and likeness as a part of the transfer, I'm not really interested," said John Calipari.
He continued with, "You come here because of the culture. To be developed. The environment. The fans... Trying to compete for national titles. Having other really good players to play with, that's why you come here. 'Coach, how much can you develop me? How much can you add?' Not, 'How much is the NIL?' So, I think, the idea behind it is good but now it has become more than that."
I kind of see Cal's point in not wanting NIL to be the reason players transfer in to Kentucky, I get it. He doesn't want players acting like they're free agents and essentially just going places for the most money and not to get trained to make it to the next level as he wants all of his players to have the best shot at doing. But, I don't think he should just turn away from an available transfer the second he hears that they're interested in making NIL money. Could you imagine if Kellan Grady has decided to even mentioned NIL when getting contacted by Kentucky? What if they had turned away from him (Kellan) believing that it was a red flag? What about Oscar had he been eligible to make money? Two of the biggest offseason moves of last year and two of the most important pieces of the roster would’ve never even have made it to town. That’s the part where I think he’s wrong on this. Players know they’ll make money here. Even the bottom of the totem pole at UK will make more than the majority of players (outside of the national stars on mid major teams) from these lower level programs will make more money at Kentucky. They know this. Everything they do is in the national spotlight at Kentucky and fans care a lot about their basketball. I believe he needs to slow it down a little bit on that route, and further go into detail with the players to get a better grasp on if they truly are coming here to be selfish in ways that only amount to them making money and not much else to benefiting the team as a whole. That’s all I’m saying.
The direct quote without putting some context behind it wasn't accurate in my opinion, and made him seem stuck behind times. I don't think that he actually is, that this just came off the wrong way when reading it online and not listening to him go in depth. The staff wants these guys to make money. They've done a lot to help last year's group make money. They're doing everything they can to help Oscar get taken care of financially to help his mother out. They do want these players to benefit from their name, image and likeness, just not in ways that harm the sport or the success of Kentucky's program. Makes perfect sense to me.
If you want to listen to the whole interview from this afternoon, which I advise you to because you get better context that way, you can listen to it here on Apple Podcasts.