This week’s issue of Sports Illustrated includes a transcript of Dan Patrick’s interview with former Kentucky Wildcat and presumptive New Orleans Hornet Anthony Davis. Included was this exchange, initiated by DP’s curiously worded question:
Patrick: Did you tell Kentucky Coach John Calipari you were going to go pro or did he tell you?
Davis: He told me. He told me to [come into his office]. When I walked in, first thing he said: “Look, Ant, you have to leave. You did too many great things this year. Won a national championship, got every award. There’s no point in you coming back.” I started laughing. But he had no smile on his face. He was dead serious.
Patrick: Did you want to stay at Kentucky?
Davis: I wanted to stay. Great team, great coach. But the way life is, you have to move on.
It’s tough to know how much to make of this out-of-context exchange. When Coach Cal called Davis into his office, was that the first time they talked about the star freshman’s departure? When Davis laughed, was it because he found the suggestion outlandish and wanted to stay, or was he just being sheepish? When Davis told DP he wanted to stay, was he being serious?
Still, there’s a persistent feeling that Cal really was kicking the kid on down the line to make room for the next crop of high-profile players. In a program operated on a one-and-done model, having a player of Davis’ talent stick around for another season could mean that UK would lose at least one of its top recruits, who commit to Kentucky because they want to shine for a single season and move along to the league where players get paid above the table.