Another year, another NBA Draft loaded with talented players from Kentucky. Since the draft was virtual this year, John Calipari had to congratulate his former players from his computer screen.
Calipari had produced 21 lottery picks since joining Kentucky, but this season he did not produce one. Nonetheless, he witnessed Tyrese Maxey get selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the No. 21 overall pick.
Immediately after the Sixers made that selection, Calipari went on social media to share his thoughts on the move. He's excited to see what Sam Cassell and Doc Rivers can do with Maxey from a developmental standpoint.
"The Sixers got an absolute steal in Tyrese Maxey," Calipari said. "You’re going to love him, Philly!"
Just a few picks later in the first round, the New York Knicks acquired the rights to Immanuel Quickley.
"Immanuel Quickley. Player of the Year in our league. I didn't start him the first five or six games because I was trying to get a three-guard rotation, and you know what? I was out of my mind," Calipari said.
Coach Cal believes the Knicks have "someone special" in Quickley.
Fast forward to the second round of the NBA Draft, and the Charlotte Hornets acquired the draft rights to Nick Richards. He took a few years to develop into a complete player in Lexington, but he became a force for Calipari's squad.
The landing spot for Richards is ideal because he'll get to team up with one of his former teammates.
"Charlotte, you’re getting a player who can defend, can shoot it and is getting better! And he’ll get to be with his big brother PJ Washington. Great pick!"
Even though Ashton Hagans, EJ Montgomery and Nate Sestina weren't drafted on Wednesday night, John Calipari had a message for them on Twitter.
"Ashton and EJ and Nate are going to have an opportunity with different teams. Maybe two-way contracts. Maybe free agency. But they're going to have a chance. They're having their own path."
Well, it didn't take very long for them to find homes in the NBA.
Hagans signed a deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Montgomery joined the Milwaukee Bucks, and Sestina received a contract from the Brooklyn Nets.
Congrats to all six Wildcats that achieved their dream of making it to the NBA.
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) November 19, 2020