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Calipari finds yet another way to elevate Kentucky


John Calipari’s ahead of the game. Again.

The Kentucky coach was one of the first to adjust to the one-and-done era – he’s never shied away from a top prospect simply because he might spend one year in college – and now that the NCAA is set to shrink the period underclassmen can test their NBA draft prospects, Calipari’s finding a way to benefit his program and his players.

The first “Kentucky Combine” will be held May 2-3 on the UK campus, Calipari announced on his web site, NBA personnel will reportedly be there to watch two days of workouts and conduct one-on-one interviews after classes with underclassmen Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones, DeAndre Liggins, as well as senior center Josh Harrellson.

This would saves those Kentucky players from traveling to multiple sites to work out or meet with NBA teams.

“My hope is this will allow our players to get direct feedback from NBA decision-makers and hopefully create a clearer picture of what their NBA potential may be. Instead of us telling them what we are hearing, they can hear directly from the clubs,” Calipari said in a statement.

Of course, this is only possible when you have three or four players who demand the attention of NBA personnel. Most schools couldn’t pull something like this off.

It’s a smart move by the coach for a few reasons:

  • The players benefit thanks to added attention and get to perform in an environment they know. Should boost all their performances.

  • Calipari gets to push his reputation as a “players coach” even more. Not that it needed much help.

  • Most importantly, it elevates Kentucky’s brand above other schools by establishing itself as the only place “good enough” to have a combine. (Or at least that’s how it’ll be sold to future prospects.)

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.