John Calipari admits he held Devin Booker back at Kentucky


Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari admits to holding Phoenix Suns shooting guard Devin Booker back while he played under him in college.

The Kentucky Wildcats are what we call a blue-blood program in college basketball. Since head coach John Calipari arrived in Lexington in 2009, Kentucky has been the shining example of how to win at a high level collegiately in the one-and-done era of the sport.

Calipari is a Basketball Hall of Famer and may go down as the greatest recruiter in the sport. However, he is not without his regrets in terms of allocating appropriate playing time to his young collegiate stars.

On Friday morning, Calipari took to Twitter to say essentially that he regrets not playing Phoenix Suns shooting guard Devin Booker more when he was in college. Calipari looked at the NBA stats sheet from Booker’s latest offensive performance and gave the budding star props with a #NBAVote.

To be fair, how could Calipari know that Booker was going to be this good this quickly? Booker was 17 when he played his one year of college ball for Kentucky in 2014-15. He was a solid starter for the Wildcats that made it all the way to the Final Four undefeated that season. However, he wasn’t garnering the attention of some of his teammates like freshman Karl-Anthony Towns and junior Willie Cauley-Stein.

Towns went No. 1 to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Cauley-Stein went No. 6 to the Sacramento Kings. Booker almost fell out of the lottery entirely, going No. 13 to the Suns in the 2015 NBA Draft.

He is only 20 years old, but has shown that he can put up points at a rapid pace in the NBA. Albeit, Booker plays for a terrible Suns team that won’t win more than 30 games this year. Booker put up 39 points, including 28 in the fourth quarter, in a home loss to the equally terrible Dallas Mavericks (12-27) at home.

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One day Booker might be a star, but it’s close to impossible to get a player on the worst team in the Western Conference into the NBA All-Star Game. Phoenix is awful, but the Suns might have the budding star it needs in Booker at the two guard.