The departure of former assistant coach Jai Lucas left a lot of the Big Blue Nation in a panic, especially considering he left for our recruiting rival Duke. However, John Calipari has made a full recovery; no players left to follow Lucas, Kentucky lost no momentum in their class of 2023 recruiting, and we finally have a name to fill the empty assistant position. Welcome aboard K.T. Turner! K.T. Turner was most recently the associative head coach of Oklahoma, and had also recently held positions at Texas and SMU and had seen success at all three schools. SMU won the AAC conference tournament twice, leading to two postseason berths with Turner on staff, Texas won the Big-12 Championship in Turner's lone season in Austin, and Oklahoma won huge upset games over Baylor, Texas Tech, and Arkansas last season.
On top of helping his teams find success, Turner will continue the recruiting pipeline from Texas to Kentucky that Jai Lucas had established over the past couple seasons, getting recruits such as Daimion Collins and Cason Wallace. However, Turner is best recognized for his ability to develop players, a skill we know is valued over any here at Kentucky.
SMU is not known for bringing in elite talent or producing professional basketball players, but in Turner's tenure there, he developed three different NBA draft picks: Semi Ojeleye, Shake Milton, and Sterling Brown. And maybe most impressive, all three of those players came into SMU without much attention from NBA scouts and had stayed multiple years before getting drafted. That tells me it is clear that Turner knows how to develop players as well as anyone and you can't help but imagine what he can accomplish with the talent that comes into Lexington.
A lot of names were floated around for this spot and a lot of people might be unfamiliar with K.T. Turner's name, but a young and upcoming coach with Texas roots and elite player developing talent is a home run hire for Kentucky.