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Coach Cal Makes His Opinion On Transfer Portal Very Clear

Coach Cal yelling from the Kentucky sideline.

LEXINGTON, KY - FEBRUARY 28: John Calipari the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats gives instructions to his team against the Ole Miss Rebels during the game at Rupp Arena on February 28, 2018 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The transfer portal has already worked well for John Calipari, but the Kentucky coach isn't sure it always benefits players in the long run.

When speaking to reporters earlier this week at an event in Oldham County (h/t On3's Chandler Vessels), Calipari didn't oppose the transfer portal or NIL channels. He acknowledged that both have already helped his program.

“You talk about transfers, most of them transferred because they weren’t first round draft picks,” Calipari said. “That’s just a fact. They’re going to a place to try to break through. But for us, it’s not hurt. It’s helped. I knew the transfer portal and I knew name, image and likeness would be fine."

However, he also believes repeatedly leaving schools can harm a player's development and education.

"But I’m not sure the transfer portal is the right thing for the kids. How do you transfer three times and then graduate? You’re not gonna graduate. First sign of trouble you run," Calipari added. "Well, thank goodness Immanuel Quickley didn’t run. Thank goodness PJ Washington didn’t run. Thank goodness Willie Cauley [Stein] and Nick Richards didn’t run. They stayed and fought and all got drafted. That’s what you’re trying to teach."

The transfer portal paid massive dividends for Coach Cal when Oscar Tshiebwe left West Virginia to join his program last year. The big man won National Player of the Year honors after grabbing 15.1 rebounds per game.

In April, guard Antonio Reaves transferred to Kentucky after averaging 20.1 points per game for Illinois State last season.

The portal gives Calipari another way to recruit high-end talent for his highly regarded program. But as he noted, they'll be fewer cases of Wildcats players gradually earning playing time if not immediately given a featured role.

Of course, Coach Cal can't benefit from poaching other players without occasionally losing some of his own through the transfer portal.