In a way I'm sure that Kentucky never thought would be the way they would get Jai Lucas to Kentucky, has finally happened. No, not as a McDonalds All-American, nor as a package deal with Patrick Patterson, but as a Special Assistant to the Head Coach and the Recruiting Coordinator.
It's been 13 years since the Bellaire High School standout was heavily recruited by every major program in the country, and one that Kentucky thought they were going to get. Life comes in a full circle I suppose, and now Jai Lucas has finally landed in Lexington, as a part of John Calipari's coaching staff.
Jai Lucas spent 8 seasons at the University of Texas, where he played a key roles in the recruitments of Jarrett Allen, Mohamed Bamba and Jaxon Hayes. He also helped Texas land three top-20 classes during his tenure as an assistant coach- No. 6 (2017), No. 8 (2018) and the No. 17 (2019).
"My family and I are excited about coming to the University of Kentucky and joining the Big Blue Nation," Lucas said. "The opportunity to work under a Hall of Fame head coach and three former head coaches, along with a good friend in Joel Justus was hard to turn down. When you think of college basketball you think of Kentucky and its tradition, the fan base and championships. I am thankful for the opportunity to finally be a part of the University of Kentucky basketball family. Let's go get number nine."
Lucas' roles will be providing strategies to help advance the program while offering additional counsel on all aspects of the program including recruiting, scouting, player development and special projects as assigned by Cal. As recruiting coordinator, he will independently manage official and unofficial visits and be responsible for all recruiting strategy for the program.
"For our team to add a young but established and accomplished coach to our staff was an opportunity we were thrilled to have," UK head coach JJohn Calipari said. "I've known the Lucas family for 25 years and followed Jai's career both as a player and as a coach. As our fans know, Jai was recruited here as a player and knows a lot about this program. I have always been impressed by the work he has done and the relationships he's created. Jai is another guy who everyone has respect for because of his work ethic and his players-first approach. He will be a great addition. With the staff we have assembled and the people who are a part of our program, I'm really excited to get started with this group," Calipari said. "I like my team."
Jai Lucas joins Bruiser Flint in Kentuckys attempt to fill the footsteps of Kenny Payne.