April 12th, 2011 10:30 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Kentucky
Tags: Daniel Orton, Georgia Trey Thompkins, NBA, Travis Leslie
John Calipari opened up to ESPN.com’s Andy Katz yesterday regarding the NBA status of his two star freshmen: Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones. It’s widely believed that both players will depart Lexington for the pros just as four Wildcat freshmen did a year ago.
But this time around, things could be different. According to Calipari, the threat of an NBA lockout could play a role in the players’ decisions.
“They probably need to test the water and see where they are before they make a decision,” the coach said. “They have to find out where they would fall. But this lockout looms. Normally I would suggest that you’ve got to do this, but if an agent is paying you (during the lockout) then you’re going to have to pay him back and probably with interest.
“I’m not going to influence them — I’m going to give them my opinion. These kids have to live with any of these decisions. I don’t want a player coming back if his heart isn’t into it or thought he should have left. Daniel Orton chose to leave (last year); no one forced him out the door.”
That sounded a little defensive, didn’t it? Orton was a first-round pick but he’s not played for the Orlando Magic all season.
The lockout puts a different spin on the NBA question for underclassmen this year. For that reason, we were more than a little surprised that Georgia’s Trey Thompkins not only said he would test the NBA waters — like teammate Travis Leslie — but that he was definitely going and would ink with an agent.
Thompkins dealt with injuries this past season and it makes sense that he might want to sign a contract before further hurting his draft stock with more potential collegiate injuries. But if he’s smart — if all these kids are smart — they’ll wait to the last second before signing with an agent.
The possibility of an NBA lockout is very real. Sometimes rich people do very dumb things. Just look at the NFL.
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