Kentucky head coach John Calipari is never one to hold his tongue, and he recently made no bones about how he didn’t think Louisville wing Damion Lee should not have been allowed to transfer to the Cardinals from Drexel.
You see, former Calipari assistant Bruiser Flint was recently fired from Drexel after 15 years on the job and in a voicemail to Dick Jerardi of The Philadelphia Daily News, Calipari implied that Flint may still have had his job had Lee not been immediately allowed to play for Louisville as a graduate transfer.
“The NCAA has a rule that a kid can leave a program like Drexel after being coached and molded for three years and go to another school without having to sit out,” Calipari said. “If Lee is there, they’re in the NCAA tournament. … It’s not about the school that took him. It’s about we let it happen.”
How quickly Calipari forgets that even in three years with Lee on the Dragons, Drexel did not participate in any postseason tournaments. On top of that, the graduate transfer rule has been around for years and is one of the few ways that players can have any control over their playing careers. It should also be noted that Calipari himself has taken advantage of this rule, particularly in luring guard Julius Mays away from Wright State for the 2012-13 season.
That all being said, considering how much a Hall of Fame coach in John Calipari has stood up for players’ rights in the past, the fact that he is taking this stance on the graduate transfer rule is puzzling to say the least. If anything, it just sounds like he’s bummed that Lee didn’t choose to play his final season at Kentucky.