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John Calipari Doesn't Think Damion Lee Should Have Been Allowed To Transfer To Louisville

John Calipari sits in a Kentucky sweatshirt.


Leave it to John Calipari—he knows how to irk his rivals in Louisville, even when he says he doesn't intend to. Former assistant Bruiser Flint was fired after 15 seasons at Drexel. He, of course, was the former head coach of Damion Lee, who used his final year of eligibility to head to Louisville in an attempt to make an NCAA Tournament. Calipari believes if Lee stayed at Drexel for his final year, Flint would have kept his job. From the Courier-Journal:

“The NCAA has a rule that a kid can leave a program like Drexel after being coached and molded for three years and go to another school without having to sit out,” Calipari said. “If Lee is there, they’re in the NCAA tournament. … It’s not about the school that took him. It’s about we let it happen.

Calipari has utilized the rule before, taking Julius Mays ahead of the 2012-13 season. He defends that decision by saying that if Mays didn't go to Kentucky, he would go somewhere anyway.

“Understand, I’ve been in a dogfight to say this is ridiculous. We took a kid because I saw Duke did it. Even then, I was like, ‘It disgusts me that we’re doing this.’ The kid was going to go somewhere, so why don’t we take him?”

To be fair to Calipari, it really doesn't seem like he's going out of his way to criticize Louisville here, but the grad transfer rule is one of the only things that gives college athletes agency over their careers after signing day. As one of the most vocal coaches about the rights of players, this is a peculiar stance for him to take.


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