Sports

John Calipari says he met with NBPA reps, wants HS combine

Calipari told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Friday that he wants the NBPA to help develop a combine for high school juniors to help them prepare for a potential jump to the NBA from high school.

"The players and the families need to know. Here are the ones who should be thinking about the NBA and here are the ones who should not," Calipari said. "That's why you need a combine."

He also suggested that agents should be allowed to work with high schoolers to help them gauge their readiness for the NBA.

Calipari previously floated the idea of a high school combine during an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show in March. He said the combine could include 100 juniors and identify 12 to 15 NBA-ready players. The rest would be told, "You need to go to school."

Some players, such as former Syracuse commit Darius Bazley, have elected to start their pro careers by playing in the G League directly out of high school. Calipari, echoing previous comments, expressed concern that not enough is being done to ensure those players have a backup plan for education if their NBA hopes don't pan out.

"There are unintended consequences here for these kids and their families," Calipari told the Star-Telegram. "Don't encourage 8th-, 9th- and 10th-graders to forgo education just to go to the G League.

"…What do we do if they are not academically ready at all, because they didn't plan on it? Who wants to take care of those thousands of kids whose family, many times, are dealing with generational poverty and their chance was maybe to get him an education?"

Calipari's suggestion would include college education funds also being given to players who go straight to the G League, a model Major League Baseball already uses.

"If they choose to do that, that's fine, but why don't we make sure if they don't make it in, they at least have a chance at a guaranteed education," he said.

Multiple NCAA conferences, including the Pac-12 and Big East, have proposed plans to end the one-and-done system, which is the result of an NBA rule that prohibits its teams from drafting players until they are at least 19 or a year removed from high school. The Big East's proposal last month also included permitting agents to work with players.

An NCAA commission, created in response to a federal investigation into corruption in college basketball and led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, received the league's proposals and is expected to present its report to the Division I board of directors and board of governors next week.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Friday that he believes the rules surrounding the NBA draft age limit will be changed.

"It's clear that the college community doesn't seem to want the one-and-done players any more," Silver said in an appearance on ESPN's Get Up! "Putting aside the self-interest of the NBA, we have to be responsive to the larger basketball community."

Silver said he has discussed the topic with NBPA executive director Michele Roberts and players' union president Chris Paul. The sides have agreed to revisit the issue after the playoffs, Silver said.

Calipari told the Star-Telegram he is fine if the one-and-done setup is ultimately abandoned.

"Whatever the rules," he said, "we're going to be fine."

Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.

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