Kentucky's Anthony Davis says he hasn't decided on NBA yet
Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis clutches the NCAA trophy after the Wildcats won the national championship Monday night.
April 3rd, 2012
12:03 PM ET

Kentucky's Anthony Davis says he hasn't decided on NBA yet

John Calipari's Kentucky Wildcats are known as the "one-and-done" team because the squad's stellar young players are expected to go immediately from winning the NCAA National Championship into the NBA after one season.

But after Monday night's 69-57 win over Kansas, might Kentucky be a team that's one title down but not yet done? Is it possible that some players may surprise everyone and stick around for another season?

At a news conference after taking the national championship, the Wildcats were peppered with reporters' questions about the team's youth and whether their star athletes would say if they're ready to head to the big leagues. The team of big men and sharp shooters often has been compared to Michigan's famed Fab Five of the early '90s, who were all drafted in the first round of the NBA.

Anthony Davis has led Kentucky throughout the year. But Monday night, when he realized his shots weren't falling, he dominated on defense, racking up 16 rebounds, six blocked shots, five assists and three steals.

As the Naismith Player of the Year, Davis faced the most media inquiries about where he might be hitting the hardwood next year. One of the first questions was whether he was ready to come out for the NBA draft.

“No, I haven’t decided,” Davis said Monday night. “Coach (Calipari) says we have till April 29 to decide. I’m just going to wait till then, sit down with my coach, sit down with my family, see what the best decision is for me."

Davis is known as much for his tough play and dominating performances as his unibrow, which has become a rallying cry and point of pride for Kentucky fans. Ten best Davis unibrow tributes

It would be a big loss for Kentucky but a great gain for an NBA team, many analysts say, if Davis made the jump to the big leagues.

Calipari's style of recruiting high-caliber players with the goal of having them go off quickly to the NBA has received mixed reviews from college basketball fans. Calipari noted that he made history when five of his players were drafted in the first round two years ago. He said he knew after that draft that Kentucky would be a place where basketball players with big talent and dreams would go.

That's not to say Calipari didn't wish he'd have those players back next year. He joked about the NBA rule that a player must have one year of college ball before entering the draft.

"I don't think it's a good rule," Calipari said. "I hope we change it before this week's out so these guys have to come back. But it is a rule; it's not my rule - it's a rule we have to deal with."

The coach said he knows his young players, especially those only 18 or 19, have big talent.  And he said he had high hopes for this year's team.

"Let's have six, I'm fine with that," Calipari quipped about his expectations for Kentucky players taken in the first round of the NBA draft.

Davis wouldn't commit that he was ready for the NBA just yet. The press even tried to get a more definitive answer by asking him how he would describe Monday's game if it were his last as a college player.

It was like a ball fake Davis had seen before, and he handled the question the way he does defense: solidly.

“It’s a great way (to end the season), but like I said before - I’m going to wait until April 29 and decide what I’m going to do then," Davis said with a deadpan face.

Until a decision later this month, Calipari seems to be operating under the assumption that he will lose several guys and need to rebuild again. It is expected Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb, Darius Miller and Marquis Teague will be drafted early.

If Calipari has his wish come true, they'll all be the first picks of several NBA teams in the first round.

And perhaps that's why Calipari knows he has a lot of work to do to prepare for next year.

"That's why I have to go recruiting on Friday," the coach said.

soundoff (104 Responses)
  1. john

    The only reason for them to stay in college would be if they weren't physically ready for the pros. Giving their game time to mature might help some be successful instead of getting drafted then cut.

    They can always come back to college later, with their millions of dollars, and finish their degrees (maybe even in something besides the ubiquitous sports-themed degrees). Not worth the chance blowing being financially set for like to keep playing for much less than the pros would pay them for one year.

    April 3, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Retired Army

      Anthony Davis ain't physically ready right now to play the NBA PF position.....but so what?

      If he's the 1st player drafted, a guaranteed 3-year contract will equal about $15 million.....again, that's guaranteed.

      For that kind of money, no one should be able to fault him for cashing opposed to risking injury.

      Worse case....he ends up rich like Greg Oden.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. southpawstance

    Professional basketball is probably the only profession in this country where a person might be criticized for taking a job that pays million of dollars. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs didn't graduate from college either. Anyone should be able to cash in on their one-in-a-million talent in this country

    April 3, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dimitri Synchovic

    Eventually, when the D league gets up to speed and basketball internationally gets a bit better, there won't really be a reason to go to college if the goal is to play professional basketball. It will be like international futbal where the stars get recruited by into developmental teams.

    April 3, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Retired Army

      Well.....the D-League is part of the NBA.....and the NBA will not allow players under 19 years old.

      So if a high-schooler won't be 19 yoa by the summer, then they gotta go to college...or to Europe, like Jennings did...for at least one year.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Facebook Alternative

    If he wants to leave...good on him...he deserves it and sadly staying in school will probably hurt his draft value. Congrats to him either way!

    April 3, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lance

    He's sure he's leaving and has been for most of the season. This is about a young man being put on the spot and not wanting to tell people something he knows they don't want to hear.

    April 3, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ruggles

    There's no need for him to stay in school, or to ever have been in school in the first place. The NBA should drop its one-year college requirement as it makes a joke out of the concept of student athletes. Guys like this should just go straight to the NBA after high school since they're not students in any sense of the word.

    April 3, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carlton

      You don't know which of these young men are not students? Some are and some are not, but like anything it is up to them what they want to do, don't you have that same right and freedom of choice?

      April 3, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. GB

    It would be nice to see these guys graduate with a degree for a change instead of leaving school early for a contract, getting taken advantage of by a greedy agent and owner, and having nothing to fall back on when they are no longer wanted by the NBA. It happens time ans time again. These guys are not use to having millions in their bank account and usually struggle after they are retired and the money stops flowing in.

    These kids should finish college first...ris of injury or not! We need more college educated athletes, so they can give something back to their communities (business, education, community outreach, ect) that supported them and paid money so se them at college and NBA games.

    April 3, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carlton

      College is not everything and is not for everybody, just like the military is not for everybody! Look at how many very rich people there are without a degree, so what's the difference?

      April 3, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • SRS

      I'm not sure why people are so concerned about athletes leaving college early for a million dollar pay day. No one complains when celebrity actors skip college. I find it interesting that basketball and football players are held to a different standard. You show me one person that says they would stay in college 4 years rather than take a million dollar offer from some professional firm, and I'll show you a big fat liar. People that athletes make millions but no one complains about Ashton Kutchers non-acting self making millions. Hmmm

      April 3, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. adam

    Those players are crazy is they don't go to the NBA. The probability of breaking an ankle or getting injured is just way too high. If it's 10% and your worth millions, then you gotta go. If you get injured, the NBA will dump you like a bad habit. Players-don't let these schools mislead you. You generate your teams millions but you only get a fraction of that amount in scholarships. Play in the NBA!!

    April 3, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sure

    Dudes a chump. Tried to force to many weak shots last night. Stick around NCAA another year and try to make a shot or 2.

    April 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. paul

    I saw the last two games. Looked like undisciplined b-ball to me. Always forcing the ball inside with bad results, failure to take good perimeter shots. A lot of unnecessar dribbling and passing, fun acrobatics. Good neighborhood pick-up games.

    April 3, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. AmOebA33

    this young man should consider earning a degree before making himself eligible for the NBA.

    anyone listen closely to his initial post win on-the-court interview? enough said.

    April 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. doug

    There is nothing to consider and he is just playing the game. He's going to be first player drafted and his contract is going to be gigantic. His defensive presence alone makes him the most coveted player in years. Durant can't make the stops he can. Neither can Lebron. And we all know Love and Carmello Anthony can't play D at all.

    April 3, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. rdd

    His body is to frail maybe he needs to eat some steaks and potatoes, I know for a fact he can't even lift 135lbs but
    when that money is staring you in the face you go for it, just like Carlton said college isn't for everyone and there's people out there making money that can't even spell , just look at the rappers making millions

    April 3, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Judge Dredd

    Of course he needs to go to the NBA, what else can black people do?

    April 3, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. James

    I know I bear the wrath of listeners, but I had never watched a college game until this March and honestly it was such a joke. These kids only have speed but they couldn't hit the basket if they were paid to. The throwaways, the missed shots, the turnarounds were so funny to watch at how bad these players were. It really makes you appreciate the grace and talent of LeBron and Kobe. This kid can't go to the NBA now, he needs lot and lots and lots of training.

    April 3, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jesse

      I have to agree with you. Lots of missed shots. I hadn't watched March Madness since I was in junior high and never noticed then the missed shots but fastfoward 15 years later it was brutal. My dad sat down with me and he watches very little sports even he commented on, these players keep missing whats going on. I explained to him "its college players" by the time I watched an entire game it pretty remained the same throughtout the whole game.

      April 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • He Hate Me

      Anthony Davis will be an all-league defender within a year. His offensive game, while raw, is certainly nothing to sneeze at. His ceiling is KG, his floor is probably Tyson Chandler. I'd hardly say he needs "lots and lots of training" and even if he did, he could get that in the NBA.

      April 3, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
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