July 14, 2024

While the 2024 NBA Draft came and went, former five-star recruit Justin Edwards went undrafted. In fact, he is the only top-three recruit in recent memory to have gone undrafted dating back to at least 2003.

We are talking about 20-plus years of top-three prospects coming out of high school getting drafted. Yet for whatever reason, Edwards did not hear his name called during last month’s NBA Draft.

Recruiting high schoolers was supposed to be John Calipari’s calling card as a head coach, because what else does he do? His in-game coaching is terrible and it looks even worse with the camera on him screaming himself Tom Coughlin purple for the umpteenth time in his coaching career. While Edwards did sign a two-way with the Philadelphia 76ers, this is truly an indictment of Calipari.

We are talking about a Basketball Hall of Fame coach who did extraordinary things at Kentucky, as well as at Memphis and UMass previously.

Calipari now takes over for Eric Musselman at Arkansas, who replaces Andy Enfield at USC, who left for SMU of all places… Although both Edwards and Calipari can find success at their new ventures, you have to wonder what this means for Arkansas.

Five-stars going undrafted in the NFL happens every now and then, but this feels like a real outlier.


Will Calipari be able to reinvent himself one more time at Arkansas or is he really a one-trick pony?

Justin Edwards going undrafted is such an indictment of John Calipari
Admittedly, I don’t claim to know a ton about Edwards’ playing style, what he did at Kentucky or what he can do for the 76ers on his two-way contract.

What I do know is him going undrafted is a terrible look for Calipari. It shows he lost his edge, as well as didn’t look out for his former blue-chip recruit’s best interest. He had three more years of eligibility to use in the era of NIL and completely wasted it.

What I would suggest is for the NBA to consider adding a third round to its draft to allow for more players to have life-changing moments, avoid embarrassment and get to be part of a professional organization in some capacity.

Again, we should be using NIL to our advantage in college sports as a means to reward players with sizable brands to stay in school, get an education and be compensated.

Unfortunately, Calipari’s failure of Edwards will still be common across college basketball. The worst part for me is Calipari really seems to care about these kids.

This was a different offseason than before, but Edwards got some terrible guidance on what to do with his basketball career. Could have had followed Calipari to Arkansas or stayed at Kentucky to play for Mark Pope? We will never know…

I would love nothing more than for Calipari to get back to his roots and do x’s and o’s, but I don’t know.

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