John Calipari Says Eligible Kentucky Players Will Enter Names in 2016 NBA Draft

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2016

Kentucky coach John Calipari speaks during a news conference ahead of a second-round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament in Des Moines, Iowa, Friday, March 18, 2016. Kentucky plays Indiana on Saturday. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Nati Harnik/Associated Press

Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari has shown he can still thrive despite heavy roster turnover from year to year, but even he would struggle to replace his whole squad.

That's the prospect Calipari potentially faces after he announced Wednesday that every eligible Kentucky player will enter the 2016 NBA draft pool.

John Calipari @UKCoachCalipari

With that being said, every player who is eligible for the draft, including our walk-ons, will submit their names for the NBA Draft ...

John Calipari @UKCoachCalipari

... in hopes of being invited to the combine in May.

T.J. Beisner of CN2 made light of the school's tendency to be a revolving door to the NBA:

TJ Beisner @tjbeisner

"Every UK player to submit name for NBA Draft" John Calipari making headlines from @TheOnion come true is peak Calipari.

Of course, there's zero chance Calipari actually watches his whole roster up and leave Lexington. Some won't be invited to the draft combine, while others will want to stay in school to strengthen their draft stocks for next year or beyond.

Calipari would later expand on his comments via Twitter:

Just so you know, having every kid put their name in the draft is about all players getting the right information. Players not invited to the combine know what that means. Players invited to the combine and told to go back to school know that that means. As I said, it's a win-win for the student athletes. I like the rule.

There's no reason for any draft-eligible player not to explore all of his possibilities. Starting this year, an underclassman can enter the draft and attend the combine while still maintaining his eligibility. In order to remain eligible, he'd only have to withdraw from the draft within 10 days of the combine, which is May 11-15.

Calipari is bound to lose a few stars—most likely freshman guard Jamal Murray, freshman forward Skal Labissiere and sophomore guard Tyler Ulis. Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman listed all three in his most recent NBA mock draft:

2016 NBA Mock Draft—Kentucky Wildcats
Jamal MurrayFreshmanSGNo. 5Minnesota Timberwolves
Tyler UlisSophomorePGNo. 14Chicago Bulls
Skal LabissiereFreshmanPF/CNo. 21Atlanta Hawks
Source: Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman

Even if all three players head to the NBA, Kentucky won't be hurting for talent in 2016-17. Guard Isaiah Briscoe should take a step forward in his sophomore season if he puts off the NBA for another year. The Wildcats are also welcoming in the best recruiting class in the country, per 247Sports' composite ranking.

A quintet of 5-star recruits will join the team next season:

Kentucky 2016 Recruiting Class
PlayerPositionPosition RankOverall Rank
De'Aaron FoxPGNo. 1No. 3
Malik MonkCGNo. 1No. 5
Edrice AdebayoPFNo. 3No. 11
Wenyen GabrielPFNo. 4No. 13
Sacha Killeya-JonesPFNo. 9No. 26
Source: 247Sports' composite ranking

Judging by the level of talent Kentucky will have on its roster, the Wildcats will likely be in a similar situation next year as their best players consider heading to the NBA.


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