Kentucky's John Calipari: Expanded NBA Draft Would 'Ruin College Basketball'

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorOctober 17, 2019

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MARCH 31: Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts to a play against the Auburn Tigers during the 2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at Sprint Center on March 31, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Kentucky men's basketball head coach John Calipari said that anyone who is in favor of expanding the NBA draft past its current two-round structure is "trying to ruin college basketball," per Alex Scarborough of ESPN.com. 

"If anybody supports more rounds in the draft, those more rounds are to get kids to go to the G League, you do not care about college basketball or you're trying to ruin college basketball," Calipari said.

The comments come after Duke men's hoops head coach Mike Krzyzewski cited the G League and said he believes the NBA will expand its number of draft rounds, per the Associated Press.

"if I'm the owner of an NBA team and I have a G League affiliate I don't want to just protect two guys—I want to protect everybody," Krzyzewski said.

Calipari, who has coached Kentucky since 2009 and has 709 career wins at UMass, Memphis and UK, further elaborated on his points.

"After two years they don't perform, what? The NBA is going to take care of them and hire them? No. It's entertainment. You're done," Calipari said.

"If they're not going to the NBA, if we're really about young people, we should encourage them to go to college. And the reason is their way out is through education. Their way to break through to the American dream is education." 

The NBA moved to a two-round draft format in 1990. 

The developmental league has been in place since 2001-02, but the stakes have been raised a bit with the introduction of "select contracts," which were announced in Oct. 2018.

The league's news release read as follows:

"The NBA G League today announced a Select Contract as part of a comprehensive professional path that will be available, beginning with the 2019-20 season, to elite prospects who are eligible to play in the NBA G League but not yet eligible for the NBA. The contracts, which will include robust programmatic opportunities for development, are for elite players who are at least 18 years old and will pay $125,000 for the five-month season."

Per Tim Bontemps (then of the Washington Post), the select contract idea was in direct response to a recommendation from the Commission on College Basketball, which was led by former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.

"The commission declared that players spending one year in college before matriculating to the pros 'has played a significant role in destabilizing and corrupting college basketball,' among other things," Bontemps wrote.

"The NBA has announced various initiatives pointing to its increased interest in being involved in the game at the youth level, and both the league and its players have signaled they are going to agree to eliminate the rule barring high schoolers from entering the NBA sooner rather than later."

Earlier this year, NBA commissioner Adam Silver also announced that the league's one-and-done rule would soon end. That rule went into affect after the 2005 Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NBA and the NBPA.

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