While Sixers fans wait on how first-round pick Tyrese Maxey develops at the pro level, his coach at the University of Kentucky, John Calipari, can’t.
The Basketball Hall of Famer and three-time National Coach of the Year is confident Maxey will thrive at the next level.
Calipari was a guest on 97.5 The Fanatic on Thursday afternoon, a day after the 76ers made Maxey the 21st pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. He said he was peppering new head coach Doc Rivers about Maxey’s talent.
"I was texting Doc before they picked him and I told him that you are going to love him,” Calipari said. “After they picked him he texted me back and said you better be right."
Maxey played just one season for Calipari at Kentucky. He led the team in minutes, and was third in points per game and second in assists.
Despite Maxey’s youth – he turned 20 two weeks ago – Coach Cal believes he already has an NBA body at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds.
"You've got a kid that is physically ready to play now,” Calipari said. “There are teams that draft kids that are 160 pounds, they can't play right away, they'll get killed. He's got the body and he is a gym rat.”
Calipari added that had there been a 2020 NCAA Tournament, Maxey likely wouldn’t have been a Sixers, as we would have improved his draft stock into the lottery to “at the latest 13th."
He also mentioned Maxey's infectious enthusiasm for the game, saying, "Every day he was smiling and bouncing around. Every practice you walk in, that is who you want to see. I would go home every day from practice and tell my wife, I love this kid."
It seems as though Maxey made a real impression on his Hall of Fame coach, even in just one season.