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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Kentucky teaching candidates: Scott Drew, Dan Hurley each off checklist that features Billy Donovan, Rick Pitino

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One of many prime jobs in faculty basketball is open after John Calipari introduced on social media on Tuesday that he’s stepping away from Kentucky after 15 seasons with this system. Calipari was formally employed as the following coach at Arkansas on Wednesday lower than 24 hours after the video was launched.

Calipari’s departure comes simply weeks after UK athletic director Mitch Barnhart met with him to substantiate he could be returning for his sixteenth season with this system.

CBS Sports activities’ Matt Norlander reported that Calipari leaving Kentucky has been on the desk since February. Norlander additionally reported that Calipari privately expressed “vital and critical” curiosity within the Ohio State job, however the timing wasn’t proper. The Buckeyes elected to raise interim coach Jake Diebler after he helped flip across the program instantly after former coach Chris Holtmann was fired.

There ought to be a protracted checklist of high-major coaches that verify many of the packing containers Kentucky is in search of with recruiting possible a excessive precedence. Kentucky completed with a top-five recruiting class each cycle since 247Sports began monitoring group rankings in 2010. The Wildcats landed the No. 1 recruiting class in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2020, and 2023 below Calipari’s watch.

The final time this system launched into a training search, UK poached Calipari from Memphis. Who will Kentucky determine on this time? It is too early to inform, however we have give you some potential candidates Kentucky ought to take into account to exchange Calipari.

Billy Donovan, Chicago Bulls coach

The final coach to steer a group to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments has been teaching within the NBA since taking the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder job in 2015. Might this be the 12 months Donovan returns to the school sport? The Bulls are on observe to overlook the playoffs for the third time within the final 4 seasons below Donovan’s watch, and with the group doubtlessly at a crossroads between rebuilding and competing, this may be the right time to discover his choices. Donovan began his teaching profession as an assistant at Kentucky in 1989 and spent 5 years with this system earlier than taking the job at Marshall. Donovan is 502-206 as a school head coach at Florida and Marshall.

Donovan mentioned on Tuesday earlier than the Bulls confronted the New York Knicks that he had not been contacted but regarding the Kentucky job. 

“I’ve not been contacted by anyone, I have never spoken to anyone,” Donovan advised reporters earlier than the sport. “My whole dedication and focus is right here to this group and to this group.”

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Sean Miller, Xavier coach

The previous Arizona coach is on his second stint as the top of the Xavier program. After spending time as an assistant coach at Miami (Ohio), Pittsburgh, NC State, and Xavier, Miller was elevated to steer the Musketeers  in 2004. He spent 5 seasons in his first stint at Xavier earlier than guiding Arizona to 3 Elite Eight appearances in his 12 years with this system. After the Wildcats fired Miller in 2021, and he took a 12 months off from teaching, Xavier employed him as soon as once more to steer this system. Miller is 465-184 as a coach.

Rick Pitino, St. John’s coach

Pitino has had many stops over his lengthy teaching profession. A type of stops was because the coach of Kentucky from 1989-97. After teaching two seasons within the NBA for the New York Knicks, Pitino accepted the Kentucky job and went 219-50 on the faculty, which included a nationwide championship in 1996 and three Ultimate 4 appearances. Pitino has a 731-303 file as a school coach and is coming off his inaugural season main St. John’s. Pitino is among the nice personalities within the sport that will assist unite the Kentucky fan base.

Mark Pope, BYU coach

Pope performed at Kentucky from 1994-96 and was on Kentucky’s 1996 nationwide championship group, taking part in a task at bringing house this system’s sixth nationwide title. As a coach, Pope has seen a gentle rise since beginning his teaching profession as an assistant coach at Georgia in 2010. After stints as an assistant coach at Georgia, Wake Forest, and BYU, he landed the Utah Valley job in 2015. After spending 4 seasons within the WAC, Pope was employed by BYU. Pope has guided BYU to 2 NCAA Event appearances and completed the 2023-24 season with a 23-11 file in its first season as a member of the Huge 12.

Out of rivalry 

Scott Drew, Baylor coach

Drew would have been a logical alternative for the Kentucky job due to his friendship with Barnhart, and since he is a program builder. He inherited a Baylor program that was on the verge of the demise penalty and constructed it right into a nationwide champion practically twenty years later. Nonetheless, Matt Norlander experiences that Drew turned down the job to stay with the Bears. 

Dan Hurley, UConn coach

After successful a second consecutive nationwide title Monday, Hurley scoffed on the notion of leaving UConn. “I do not suppose that is a priority,” he mentioned at his postgame information convention. Hurley has constructed UConn right into a juggernaut. He is among the extra chasmic coaches within the sport and has a observe file of recruiting and growing expertise. Hurley is 292-163 as a coach at Wagner, Rhode Island and UConn. 

Nate Oats, Alabama coach

Since Oats took the job at Alabama 5 years in the past, he is elevated this system to new heights and would have been a logical candidate to exchange Calipari. The Crimson Tide reached the Ultimate 4 for the primary time in program historical past this season, lower than a 12 months after dropping seven of their prime 9 scorers on a group that was the No. 1 total seed within the 2023 NCAA Event. Because of the type of play his group’s play, Oats will stay one of the vital engaging teaching names within the carousel though he simply signed a contract extension that was designed to maintain him at UA till 2030. His buyout is $18 million, and whereas that could be a large quantity, it would not scare away Kentucky. Nonetheless, Oats seems to be off the board after releasing an announcement Monday evening saying he is dedicated to  Alabama.

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