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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Thursday / November 22.
  • John Calipari says Kentucky players in NBA will have contracts worth $1.5 billion

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    In the John Calipari Era, Kentucky has had 23 players drafted in the first round since 2010, the most of any school.

    The Wildcats figure to add two more first-round picks in Thursday’s NBA Draft — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Kevin Knox — and possibly two second-rounders as well.

    Calipari says after this draft the Kentucky players in the NBA will have contracts worth $1.5 billion. That’s billion, with a ‘B.’

    “My guys, we’re going to end up having 30-some-odd in the league and $1.5 billion in contracts,” Calipari said on ESPN’s ‘Get Up!’ “Not from 1970, I’m talking right now, $1.5 billion. We’re not talking shoe contracts or endorsements, I’m just talking NBA.

    “And you know what, I’m proud of that. We’ve won national titles, we’ve been to Final Fours, we’ve won our league. It doesn’t hurt us when they leave, we’re fine. But I tell you what, their families, it changes things.”

    Calipari predictably said good things about his players.

    Shai Alexander, people love him in the league,” he said of the Canadian guard now projected at No. 6 to Orlando. “Hami [Diallo’s] moving in the right direction. Jarred Vanderbilt, his numbers when you talk analytics. I got teams calling me, ‘We can’t understand these analytics, are they right?’ And then y ou got Wenyen [Gabriel], you got two or three teams that have called that love him.”

    Knox, meantime, is the projected No. 9 pick to the Knicks, a team he said he would love to play with.

    Calipari said the Draft is “scary” for him and he becomes “ill.”

    “I leave the green room the minute my last guy is out,” he said. “Whoever is drafted after that, I don’t care except we got three more guys [Diallo, Vanderbilt, Gabriel] that aren’t in the green room that I’ll go now in front of a TV and watch.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.