Note to Knicks: Calipari says De’Aaron Fox may be next John Wall
CHICAGO — John Calipari said point guard De’Aaron Fox can be like John Wall if he changes his mentality.
The Kentucky coach held court Thursday at the NBA Draft Combine. His starting backcourt of Fox and Malik Monk are definite lottery picks and intriguing to the Knicks. Also gaining combine buzz is Kentucky student Hamidou Diallo, a Queens product who didn’t even play this season, but is being projected as a potential middle first-rounder.
According to a source, the Knicks interviewed Fox on Wednesday, whose speed is being compared with another Calipari Kentucky stud, Wall.
“I asked John Wall that,’’ Calipari said. “ ‘John, is he is as fast as you?’ ‘No.’ I asked Eric Bledsoe. He said no. But he’s fast. They ask me to compare. That was seven, eight years ago I coached [Wall]. But they’re both really fast.’’
The difference, Calipari said, is the attacking mindset Wall always possessed.
Nevertheless, that would put them in position for Monk, another freshman Calipari raved about.
“Malik Monk is special folks,’’ Calipari said. “There’s stuff he does — you just iso him. He can play a 1 or 2, head’s on the rim, fast, good with the ball, a scorer. But he can do other things. Defensively, he can be that guy. But they’re all young. They’re 19. They can’t get a beer or go to a club. If you’re going to draft him, know that. Don’t think they’re 25.”
Calipari has about two dozen former Kentucky players on NBA rosters. He said Fox and Monk could make the transition to New York because of the massive spotlight/media crush found at Kentucky.
“They’re not overwhelmed by this,’’ Calipari said.
When he was at the University of Memphis, Calipari coached Derrick Rose, the Knicks point guard and Chicago native who is rehabbing from his latest knee surgery.
“We were texting,’’ Calipari said. “I told him I was in his city. I’m
broke and I want you to buy me dinner. He said he was out West. He’s
good. He said he’s getting after it. He was in great frame of mind.’’