John Calipari weighs in on what will happen if Kentucky loses 5 players to the NBA Draft
Kentucky is losing 3 players to the 2020 NBA Draft for sure — senior Nate Sestina, sophomore Ashton Hagans and freshman Tyrese Maxey.
Sestina is out of eligibility and Hagans and Maxey have both declared and don’t plan to retain their remaining eligibility. However, the Wildcats are still waiting for decisions from Nick Richards, Immanuel Quickley and EJ Montgomery.
During a Facebook Live stream on Monday, coach John Calipari addressed Maxey and Hagans’ strengths, saying he doesn’t think they’ll have problems in the NBA (via Kentucky Sports Radio):
“Two guys, as you know, have announced for the NBA Draft. Ashton and Tyrese,” Calipari said in a Facebook Live video stream Monday evening. “Ashton was just a warrior for us. Just a competitor, better from year one to year two. Coaching Tyrese and challenging him, kind of like how I challenged Karl Towns. I was hard on Tyrese just as I was hard on Karl. He’s reminding me more and more of Jamal Murray, those kind of guys that I’ve had here that left here and stepped up to another level (in the NBA). I think you’re going to have that. Ashton, again, running a team, a competitive spirit.”
However, even if all 6 players leave, Calipari said he expects the Wildcats to be fine for the 2020-21 season:
“Somebody asked me today, “What are you going to do if Immanuel leaves, Tyrese leaves, Ashton leaves, Nick leaves, Nate leaves, and EJ leaves?” Calipari said on the live stream. “We’re going to be Kentucky. We’ll be fine. We’ll go, “Let’s go. Who do we have?” And then we’ll figure out how we’re gonna play and how we’re going to win.”
Considering the Wildcats have the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class coming in (per 247Sports), it’s easy to understand Cal’s optimism.