With one of the top college basketball programs, Kentucky is bound to lose top assistants to other schools every now and then. But the latest coaching loss the Wildcats have suffered could be a big one – and a sign of things to come.
According to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, Kentucky assistant Joel Justus is leaving Lexington to take the top assistant position at Arizona State for Bobby Hurley. Justus has been with Kentucky for five years and was one of their leading recruiters during his Wildcats tenure.
Givony credited Justus with the successful recruiting of Bam Adebayo, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Immanuel Quickley, Keldon Johnson, Johnny Juzang, Brandon Boston and 2022 five-star guard Skyy Clarke. Needless to say, Justus will be greatly missed.
But Justus may not be the only Kentucky assistant on his way out. Givony reported that assistant Tony Barbee is a leading candidate to be head coach at Central Michigan.
As for their replacements, Givony identified Illinois assistant and former Kentucky assistant Orlando Antigua and John Calipari’s son Brad Calipari as people who could be brought on board.
Kentucky assistant Joel Justus has elected to take the top assistant post under Bobby Hurley at Arizona State, a source told ESPN. Justus was the lead recruiter of many of the top prospects to go through Kentucky since 2016 https://t.co/pPNdabevuM
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) April 22, 2021
The Kentucky Wildcats went 9-16 in 2020-21, their first losing season since 1988-89. They missed the NCAA Tournament in the process.
But despite their recent setback, the recruiting class for 2021 and 2022 look strong. They have three top 30 prospects so far in their 2021 class and Skyy Clark as their headliner in 2022.
Whoever John Calipari has in mind as a replacement will have a lot of work to do to ensure the recruiting pipeline remains strong.
Will Kentucky basketball lose any commits because of this staff change?