Kentucky’s Presence In NBA Reflects Calipari’s Greatness

Credit: Andy Lyons

Credit: Andy Lyons

John Calipari has made a huge impact in the NBA. There is a total of 24 players from Kentucky that are active in the NBA and most of them were coached by Calipari with the exception of Rajon Rondo. Calipari has also had experience coaching at the University of Massachusetts from (1988-1996) and the University of Memphis from (2000-2009) and he even has experience as an NBA coach with the New Jersey Nets from (1996-1999) but he was not always a head coach.

Every story has a beginning and Calipari’s beginning was at Kansas as an assistant coach from (1982-1985) and at Pittsburgh from (1985-1988) also he was assistant coach for the Philadelphia 76ers after he was fired from the New Jersey Nets from (1999-2000). Calipari has had many accomplishments and honors including his championship with Kentucky in 2012 and his 4 final four appearances with Kentucky (2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015). But Calipari couldn’t get those accomplishments by himself he needed his players to perform at their highest level.

NBA Players who went to Kentucky during Calipari’s time:

  • Eric Bledsoe
  • Devin Booker
  • Willie Cauley-Stein
  • Demarcus Cousins
  • Anthony Davis
  • Archie Goodwin
  • Andrew Harrison
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
  • Brandon Knight
  • Skal Labissiere
  • DeAndre Liggins
  • Trey Lyles
  • Jodie Meeks
  • Jamal Murray
  • Nerlens Noel
  • Patrick Patterson
  • Julius Randle
  • Alec Poythress
  • Karl-Anthony Towns
  • Tyler Ulis
  • John Wall
  • James Young
  • Terrance Jones

These 23 players reside with 18 different teams, with the Phoenix Suns having 4 on their active roster. Calipari has also produced some great players from the University of Massachusetts and the University of Memphis such as Derrick Rose, who was the youngest MVP in NBA history at age 22. Additionally, he coached Marcus Camby, a 4x all-defensive team selection and the 2006-2007 Defensive Player of the year.

These Kentucky boys have made a huge impact in today league. Most of them have great futures such as Karl-Anthony Towns and Devin Booker. Although, some are already considered superstars such as Anthony Davis and his New Orleans Pelicans teammate Demarcus Cousins.

You always hear about Kentucky having the top recruiting classes and do you know why? Because of their program stability. Many recruits who are going to college want to go there They want to join some of college greats and become one of the Kentucky boys.


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