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.
John Calipari expects NBA Draft date to move, says players should have more time to decide
By ADAM ZAGORIA
Kentucky coach John Calipari, who coaches a group of NBA Draft picks every single year, says he expects that the date of the NBA Draft will move due to the coronavirus pandemic, and that players, therefore, should have more time to make decisions about entering the draft.
As of now, the NBA Early Entry Eligibility Deadline is at 11:59 p.m. on April 26 and the Early Entry Entrant Withdrawal Deadline is at 5 p.m. on June 15. The Draft is slated for June 25 at Barclays Center.
The NBA hasn’t announced any official changes to these dates — or to the NBA Draft Combine May 14-19 — but Calipari doesn’t expect any of it will happen as scheduled. Several NBA league sources also said they believe the Draft will ultimately be pushed to July or August.
“Guys that have a decision to make, whether they want to stay in the draft or not, the NBA is saying, ‘We’re keeping our date the same.’ OK, well what about the Combine? That is going to move, we believe. Well, what about the draft date? That will move,” Calipari said Tuesday on a conference call.
“What about bringing them to your facilities? We don’t know when that will happen, or if it will happen. My point to that in trying to get information to the NABC is, shouldn’t we move the decision date back for the kids to go to college or not? The date was always based on when the draft is, when the combine is. Well, that’s all moving so now I think these kids should have more time making that decision.”
In his 10 years at Kentucky, Calipari has produced 38 NBA Draft picks. He said he expects “4-5” of his current players “would probably test the waters.”
Kentucky freshman guard Tyrese Maxey is the projected No. 6 pick per ESPN.com, with sophomore Ashton Hagans at No. 36 and junior center Nick Richards at 50.
SEC Player of the Year Immanuel Quickley and sophomore forward E.J. Montgomery could also opt to test the waters.
Due to restrictions on access to gyms, players generally aren’t able to even train or workout. The Portsmouth Invitational was canceled and it appears the NBA Combine will be, too. There is no timetable on when teams will be able to have players in for individual workouts. And even when those workouts begin, what kind of shape will the players be in?
“My worry is for guys,” Calipari said. “If they spend two months and don’t do anything and then try to go work out for an NBA team, it isn’t going to work out for them. There are no gyms, no health clubs, unless they have a gym in their house, none of them do. Unless they have a workout area in their home, none of them do, how are we doing this?
“So my worry about is more about that. We’re getting information to the kids. I have not done a group call mainly because I have more questions than I have answers for them right now. so most of the stuff I’m doing is texting to stay in touch.”
Calipari also said Kentucky’s game with Michigan set for Jan. 6 in London is “up in the air right now” and they have until June to figure out whether to play the game closer to home.
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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.