No college basketball coach has utilized the one-and-done rule more successfully than John Calipari, but the Kentucky Wildcats head coach said he'd be in favor of a shift more in line with MLB's draft eligibility rules.
In MLB, a player can enter the draft after high school. Should he choose to enroll in college, though, he has to wait three years before attaining draft eligibility.
"I'm good with the baseball rule," Calipari told reporters Monday on the SEC coaches' summer teleconference. "As long as they're going directly to the NBA, they're paying them what they deserve to be paid and then it's on them to look after these kids and give them a gap year if they think they can do that in the NBA."
Calipari also defended Kentucky's reliance on one-and-done players, saying the school provides players with lifetime scholarships. He added that his players have thrived in the NBA, playing well enough to earn a second contract when their rookie deals have expired.
According to Scout's Evan Daniels, 24 former Kentucky players have been first-round selections in the NBA draft since Calipari took charge of the Wildcats in April 2009. Of that group, 21 were freshmen, per RealGM.
The trend will likely continue in 2018, as Scout ranked the Wildcats' 2017 recruiting class as the best in the country. Seven of the school's eight commitments are rated inside the top 50 nationally.
Considering the school's consistent pipeline to the NBA, the draft is one of Calipari's best selling points about committing to Kentucky. Calipari even received some time on ESPN's broadcast of the draft:
Both Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch and Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel tweeted about the likely effect his interview had on recruiting:
Richard Deitsch @richarddeitsch
John Calipari is a genius at getting airtime on ESPN. I mean that seriously. Not a shot. He is a genius at marketing Kentucky and Cal.2017-6-23 01:27:33
Dan Wetzel @DanWetzel
The John Calipari NBA-Draft-state-of-the-union-lecture is always good television. On average, it yields three top 10 recruits a year.2017-6-23 01:27:12
Calipari's reliance on one-and-done players has made him a somewhat polarizing figure among college basketball fans. But it's hard to argue with the results, and Calipari isn't operating outside NCAA rules by essentially treating Kentucky as a feeder system for the NBA.
Should the NCAA adopt eligibility rules more in line with MLB, Calipari would almost certainly adapt to ensure the Wildcats remain on the cutting edge on the recruiting trail.