COLUMBIA, SC - MARCH 01: Julius Randle #30 tries to calm Head Coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats following a technical foul on Calipari during their game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Colonial Life Arena on March 1, 2014 in Columbia, South Carolina.
(Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)

Kentucky’s John Calipari has had a chance to watch the New York Knicks in the preseason and he likes the “competitive spirit” he’s seeing.

The New York Knicks are riding high after Wednesday’s preseason win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Kentucky head coach John Calipari likes what he is seeing from his former players so far.

“I like what they’re doing, I like what it looks like,” Calipari said Thursday on a Zoom call via Adam Zagoria of Forbes Sports. “I like their competitive spirit and it seems like again they’ve all bought into what’s going on and how they’re trying to play in New York, so I’m happy for them. Happy for all three of those guys.”

Two of Cal’s former guys — Kevin Knox and Immanuel Quickley — led the fourth-quarter comeback that has the fanbase jumping for joy. In addition to Knox and Quickley, the Knicks have three more former Wildcats on the roster (Julius Randle, Nerlens Noel, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist).

The Kentucky-Knicks connections run deep. Calipari is close with Knicks president Leon Rose and there is a very clear pipeline forming between Lexington and New York. And it’s not just Kentucky players that the Knicks are bringing in. They hired former Calipari assistant Kenny Payne to be one of Tom Thibodeau‘s lead assistants.

While some fans and media will roll their eyes at the Knicks’ penchant for bringing in Kentucky guys, it’s hard to argue with Calipari’s track record. Year after year, Kentucky produces NBA All-Stars. Three Kentucky guys made the All-Star Game last year and the Wildcats led all college teams with 17 players on rosters in the NBA bubble.

The Knicks are hoping that some of their Wildcats develop into studs sooner rather than later. So far, so good according to Cal.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.