CHICAGO — John Calipari has exchanged texts with his former player Derrick Rose, and said he’s doing well and working out on the West Coast.
Rose’s first — and maybe only season — with the Knicks ended after he underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn left meniscus. Rose will be a free agent on July 1.
“We were texting,” Calipari, the Kentucky coach, said at the NBA Draft Combine on Thursday. “I told him I’m in his city, I’m broke, and I want him to buy me dinner. He said I’m out west. He’s good. He’s getting after it. He was in a great frame of mind, and that’s about all I’ll tell you about it. It was short. Then I said could you set me up someplace for dinner?”
Calipari, who coached Rose at Memphis, wouldn’t discuss Rose’s future as a Knick.
“We haven’t talked about it so I don’t know,” Calipari said. “We haven’t talked in those terms. I just wanted dinner. That’s all I wanted today. I wanted to make sure he was healthy.”
Calipari has two players who could go in the top seven in the draft: point guard De’Aaron Fox and shooting guard Malik Monk. Neither is participating in the combine. Fox is in Chicago but didn’t come to the gym Thursday. Monk isn’t here.
In fact, none of the projected top 10 players are here. Only Washington guard Markelle Fultz, the probable top overall pick, and Fox came to meet with teams.
Calipari, who coached for 2½ seasons in the NBA, said he recommends that top players come to the combine but don’t participate.
“Not to skip the event, but skip things in the event like the playing,” Calipari said. “How do you help yourself if you’re some of our guys? You’re not going to help yourself, so don’t play.
“If you think there’s anything here that would hurt you, don’t come. If there’s anything here that can help you, come. If you have to play to help yourself, come. If it doesn’t help you playing, then don’t play. My job is to protect our guys. The job of these NBA people is to get as much information as they can to make a great pick. So they would like to see every one of them play five-on-five. It’s not the way it is for these kids.”
Calipari came to the combine to see some of his players.
Sophomore guard Isaiah Briscoe was the lone Kentucky player who played five-on-five. Freshman guard Hamidou Diallo, who is from Queens and graduated from Putnam Science Academy, only took part in the testing and may have helped his draft stock.
Diallo, a midyear enrollee, didn’t play a game for Kentucky. But his 44½-inch vertical leap was the second-best in combine history.
“Isaiah has to play and play well,” Calipari said. “Hami they don’t know. Well, don’t show them. They all like you without watching you. Good. The more you don’t play the more they like you, the more they’re impressed.
“If someone takes him in the lottery I will retire. Four months, doesn’t play, lottery pick, I’m done. I’m stopping.”