"Sky" Walker on Calipari's Impact

Former Kentucky All-American Kenny Walker thinks hiring John Calipari will go a long way toward influencing Patrick Patterson and Jodie Meeks to return to Kentucky next year rather than putting their names in the NBA draft pool.

LEXINGTON -- Former Kentucky All-American Kenny Walker thinks hiring John Calipari will go a long way toward influencing Patrick Patterson and Jodie Meeks to return to Kentucky next year rather than putting their names in the NBA draft pool.

Calipari has spent the last nine years at Memphis. However, before that he coached the New Jersey Nets and that helped him bring top talent to Memphis and prepare players for the NBA. "I think Jodie and Patrick are guys that will be ecstatic with this hire. I think both guys will have a great opportunity to play at the next level and coach Calipari's style of play will really benefit both of them," Walker said. "It will be a fun style and both can improve and expand their games, especially Meeks in a wide open system. He will get opportunity showcase his talent and raise his (NBA) stock.

"Patrick will become more versatile as well. So far, he's only been a low post threat. I think Calipari will let him step away from the basket a little bit and show the jump shot that lot of people think he needs to develop for the next level."

Walker says solid recruiting is what makes a great program. He felt Tubby Smith's recruiting slipped slightly his final years at UK and that Billy Gillispie did not sign enough big-time players the last two years.

"I think if you recruit great players, they will make you a great coach. That's what he has done for years in Memphis," Walker said.

Walker says that might include attracting players who will spend only one year at Kentucky before heading to the NBA.

"I am okay with that. If you get the right mix of guys, it will work," Walker said. "Basketball has changed a lot the last few years. You are not going to have the great players for four years. You will only have some for one or two years if they are really good players. I have no problem with that.

"If you get to point that you have first-round draft picks every year, that is what we want. Look at the other top programs out there and that is type of player Kentucky needs."


AllWildcats Top Stories