University of Kentucky coach John Calipari is finalizing plans for an unprecedented two-day campus scouting combine for NBA executives to evaluate his star-laden roster of professional prospects, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Calipari has invited officials of the 30 NBA teams to send personnel to Lexington, Ky., on Oct. 11-12 to watch his players do everything from run full-court five-on-five and NBA-style pick-and-roll sets to individual skill work.
The event is a chance for Calipari to impress a throng of top high school recruits on campus visits and once again frame his program as college basketball's best NBA feeder system. Kentucky is expected to be a consensus preseason No. 1 in the polls.
After the combine, Calipari plans to shut out NBA executives and scouts from his practices for several weeks – perhaps even months – into the season, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
This way, Calipari can avoid the distractions that a constant parade of NBA scouts can present to so many talented young players in the practice gym.
NBA personnel aren't allowed to interact with college undergraduates, but Calipari can simply shape his workouts to be conducive to the NBA's needs.
As one executive laughed, "We're just there as B-roll for his recruiting videos."
Calipari and his staff have been in contact with NBA executives on the format of the two-day event. Kentucky is expected to run double sessions of practice and workouts on Oct. 12 before closing off access to NBA teams for the foreseeable future.
Kentucky has a tremendous roster of NBA prospects, including five players in Draft Express’ list of the Top 30 prospects in the world. Freshman center Karl Towns (No. 3), junior center Willie Cauley-Stein (No. 10), sophomore center Dakari Johnson (No. 21), sophomore guard Andrew Harrison (No. 28), and sophomore forward Marcus Lee (No. 30) made the list.
Several more players, including sophomore Aaron Harrison and freshmen Devin Booker and Trey Lyles, are considered future first-round picks.
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