[Source] - “We have to,” Spoelstra joked, ”because I think, our general, our boss, we got to have some Kentucky blood coming through this program every few years, starting with Rex Chapman, way back in the day.”
Among the Kentucky Wildcats to have played for the Heat under Riley’s stewardship have been Rex Chapman, one of the first players to suit up after Riley took over as Heat coach in 1995; forward Jamal Mashburn, who was part of a 1997 trade that was one of Riley’s biggest in-season moves; guard Derek Anderson and forward Antoine Walker, components on the Riley-coached 2006 Heat championship team; center Jamaal Magloire, a member of the Heat’s 2011 NBA Finals roster; as well as Gerald Fitch, Josh Harrellson and DeAndre Liggins.
“I’ve been up there a few times, just to see how he does his program,” he said of Calipari. “We like talking shop and everything. But he’s going to coach you hard. They’re going to spend a lot of time with player development.
Gotta admit this is an A+ draft strategy. Hell, not even a draft strategy, this is just an A+ team building strategy. It all started with Pat Riley. I have to admit I'm completely torn on Riley. The man was living the life with the Knicks and then just left for the Heat. The fucking Heat! Remember this was the 90s. You didn't go from the Knicks to the Heat or Pacers or Bulls. Those were just rules. But at the same time he's a Cat. That matters.
But look at that list of Kentucky guys that have played for the Heat! That doesn't even include Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro, two pretty important pieces of this current roster, which is arguably the second best in the East behind the Bucks. I fully expect the Heat to take someone like Nick Richards late in the 1st round this year.
Oh and let's get into that last line of the quote. Tough look for those who say Calipari just rolls the ball out and let players play. Nope. That's what people say who don't watch one second of Kentucky basketball or really know basketball at all. The idiots say that. He coaches his ass off, ask any player who played against them (talk to Ben Brust about this at length) or any player that played for him. The dude is consistently coaching and forcing you to get better - that's why every single year Kentucky is peaking late in the year.
When it doubt, drafting a Kentucky kid seems to be smart. Let's try that one Knicks.