The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Calipari creates ‘Kentucky Combine’ to help his team’s NBA prospects

Ryan Greene
The Dagger

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The NBA draft's early entrants who chose not to sign with agents right away, but rather test the waters, are truly on the clock once the April 24 deadline to declare passes.

They have until just May 8 to gather their information from NBA personnel before making an ultimate decision.

Kentucky coach John Calipari, who while at UK will likely deal with this scenario every year he's in Lexington with his never-ending streams of high-profile freshmen, is helping his guys out by essentially taking the idea of a college football Pro Day and moving it to the hardwood.

It's called the Kentucky Combine, and it'll take place at the team's practice facility — the Joe Craft Center — on May 2 and 3.

The only way for players to get information from NBA folks before April 28, no matter how early they declared without an agent, is through their college coaches. After April 28, there's no more middleman, but this eliminates the need for a whirlwind travel schedule all across the country in order to showcase talents for teams individually. It's also helps in keeping players from missing class over the next week to head from city to city, which ensures their eligibility if they decide to withdraw from the draft.

Each NBA team has been invited to UK for the combine, and Calipari claims that the workouts will be conducted by NBA personnel.

The Wildcats this season have three early entrants who have yet to sign with agents: Freshman point guard Brandon Knight, freshman swingman Terrence Jones and junior guard and defensive stopper DeAndre Liggins. Also working out at the combine will be senior forward Josh Harrellson.

Knight and Jones are all but guaranteed to be staying in the draft, as both are pegged as solid lottery picks. Something like this, however, is quite beneficial to guys like Liggins and Harrellson. {YSP:MORE}

Liggins fits into the category of guys who are testing the waters but are truly on the fence. This should provide about as accurate of a reading on his draft position as he could hope for in early May. As for Harrellson, he's the senior who may not be on the draft radars of many, but could do himself a huge amount of good by showing well in a controlled environment such as this.

It's a good preemptive strike of sorts against the NCAA's ridiculous, always-shrinking deadlines pressing unsure underclassmen who have their eyes on the NBA, while it benefits Calipari, too, as this can make for a nice nugget during recruiting pitches.

And don't be shocked when more coaches follow suit in the coming years.

Ryan Greene also covers UNLV and the Mountain West Conference for the Las Vegas Sun. Read his Rebels coverage and follow him on Twitter.

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