Kentucky head coach John Calipari said he never thought he would lose five players to the NBA draft when the season started, saying he only anticipated losing freshman point guard John Wall and junior forward Patrick Patterson.
"I thought Eric Bledsoe would stay,'' Calipari said. "I wasn't sure about Daniel Orton because of his knee injury and I wasn't sure DeMarcus Cousins would grow as a person and be ready to leave. Once the season ended, I knew I'd lose all five.''
Wall, Cousins and Patterson left no doubt in their cases once they declared with an agent by the initial April 25 deadline. Bledsoe and Orton left the window open slightly by not hiring agents, but then on Friday informed Calipari, as expected, that they too were staying in the draft. All five could go in the first round.
Calipari didn't plan in the early signing period to lose all five underclassmen. That's why once again he had to go through a furious spring to secure elite players. Expect incoming freshmen point Brandon Knight, guards Doron Lamb and Stacey Poole and center Enes Kanter to be in the rotation immediately. Knight and Lamb were late signees.
"We're going to be good, we're just going to be a different kind of team,'' Calipari said. "We do need a few more guys, maybe one more forward.''
Calipari said he will be studying how the New York Knicks play and is considering going with four guards and one forward or at times having five players out to use more of his dribble-drive-motion offense.
"We have enough good players,'' Calipari said. "I'll spend the next few months trying to figure it out. I'd like to have four perimeter guys who are 6-3 or taller and one big guy defensively, who can set ball-screens, trail and run to the post and elbow and play. Hopefully if we face a 1-3-1, we'll make more 3s."
Clearly, UK's woeful 4-of-32 performance from 3 in an Elite Eight loss to West Virginia hasn't strayed far from Calipari's mind.