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Kentucky Hires Mark Pope As Head Coach

Apr 12, 2024 3:19 PM

Kentucky has hired Mark Pope as head coach, replacing John Calipari.

Pope was a captain on Kentucky's 1996 national championship team and has been head coach of BYU for the past five seasons. Pope took BYU to two NCAA tournaments in five seasons, going 110-52 overall with the Cougars. 

"Mark Pope not only brings an impressive record in nine years as a head coach, but also a love of the University of Kentucky and a complete understanding of what our program means to the people of our state," Barnhart said. "As a captain on the '96 championship team, Mark was a beloved and respected teammate. As a head coach, he is highly regarded nationally as an innovator. His teams run a unique and dynamic up-tempo offense, and they get after it on defense. He is a strong recruiter with international ties and a person of integrity.

"He fully embraces our high expectations and standards, and I know that as our fans get reacquainted with Mark, they will be eager to join him on what promises to be an exciting ride."

Kentucky also had interest in Scott Drew, Dan Hurley and Billy Donovan.

Jeff Borzello/ESPN

Tags: Kentucky Wildcats, NCAA

Scott Drew Turns Down Kentucky To Remain At Baylor

Apr 11, 2024 1:13 PM

Scott Drew has decided to stay at Baylor, turning down interest from Kentucky after emerging as that school's top target to replace John Calipari.

Drew, who won a national title at Baylor in 2021, has a close relationship with Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart but ultimately decided to stay at Baylor, where he has coached for 21 years and gone 446-244. He confirmed his plan to remain the Bears coach in a statement Thursday.

Tags: Baylor Bears, Kentucky Wildcats, NCAA, National, National Misc Rumor, NCAA Misc Rumor

John Calipari Regrets Not Leaving Kentucky For UCLA In 2019

Apr 10, 2024 1:57 PM

John Calipari left Kentucky to join Arkansas on a five-year, $38.5 million contract with bonuses that could increase the amount to seven years and almost $60 million. 

The new partnership will include an NIL fund worth “at least” $5-7 million.

Sources tell The Athletic that Calipari still regrets turning down the UCLA job in 2019. Kentucky kept Calipari on a 10-year, $86 million deal that UCLA couldn't match.

Arkansas hasn't reached the Final Four since 1995.

Shams Charania, Kyle Tucker/The Athletic

Tags: UCLA Bruins, Arkansas Razorbacks, Kentucky Wildcats, NCAA, NCAA Misc Rumor

Billy Donovan Hasn't Had Contact With Kentucky, Committed To Bulls

Apr 10, 2024 10:01 AM

Billy Donovan said he has not had any contact with the University of Kentucky about their head coaching vacancy and remains committed to the Chicago Bulls.

"I have not been contacted by anybody, I haven't spoken to anybody," Donovan told reporters, adding that his answer would remain the same even if he was contacted. "My total commitment and focus is here to this team and to this group."

John Calipari stepped down as head coach of Kentucky this week for the same job with Arkansas.

Donovan began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Kentucky under Rick Pitino from 1989 until 1993. Donovan won back-to-back national championships at Florida. Donovan left Florida to become head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2015 before joining the Bulls in 2020.

"I'm happy here at this level," Donovan said. "I know I enjoy coaching and I know I enjoy coaching in the NBA."

The Bulls have Donovan under contract for two more years. 

Jamal Collier/ESPN

Tags: Chicago Bulls, Kentucky Wildcats, NCAA, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor

Rob Dillingham Declares For 2024 NBA Draft, Hires Klutch As Agent

Apr 9, 2024 4:54 PM

Rob Dillingham will enter the 2024 NBA draft and forgo his remaining collegiate eligibility. Dillingham is the No. 4 prospect in ESPN's draft projections. 

Dillingham has signed a representation agreement with Klutch Sports Group agency.

"This was a decision I made with my family," Dillingham told ESPN on Monday. "I felt prepared. Coach Calipari taught me a lot about how to be a better teammate and that it was not all about me."

Dillingham entered the season as a projected first-round pick but quickly showed he's possibly the most talented freshman in college basketball.

RealGM Prospect Report: Rob Dillingham

Malika Andrews, Jonathan Givony/ESPN

Tags: Rob Dillingham, Kentucky Wildcats, NCAA, NBA, NBA NBA Draft, NBA Draft General, NBA Draft Declarations

John Calipari Finalizing Five-Year Deal With Arkansas

Apr 7, 2024 11:37 PM

John Calipari is finalizing a five-year deal to become the next coach at Arkansas, sources told ESPN on Sunday night, a blockbuster move that will shake up the SEC and college basketball landscape.

The deal is expected to be completed in the next 24 hours.

Calipari is the second-highest-paid coach in the country at Kentucky, earning more than $8.5 million per year. Arkansas is believed to have offered Ole Miss' Chris Beard in the neighborhood of $5 million when it pursued him following Eric Musselman's decision last week to leave for USC, sources told ESPN.

Tags: Arkansas Razorbacks, Kentucky Wildcats, NCAA, National, National Misc Rumor, NCAA Misc Rumor

Billy Richmond Commits To Kentucky

Dec 21, 2023 4:05 PM

Billy Richmond has committed to Kentucky. Richmond also considered Alabama, LSU and Memphis.

Aaron Bradshaw and DJ Wagner are former teammates of Richmond and currently with Kentucky.

Richmond is the 34th ranked prospect in the incoming class.

Shams Charania/The Athletic

Tags: Billy Richmond III, Kentucky Wildcats, NCAA, NCAA Commitment

Jayden Quaintance Commits To Kentucky

Nov 14, 2023 3:06 PM

Jayden Quaintance has committed to Kentucky after reclassifying from 2025 to 2024.

Quaintance is the No. 14 player in the ESPN 100.

Because Quaintance just turned 16 in July, he will have to spend two years at Kentucky before entering the NBA draft.

Quaintance averaged 14.5 points and 11.1 rebounds in the Overtime Elite league last season, following it up by averaging 9.9 points and 6.2 rebounds with Team Thad on the Nike EYBL circuit this past spring and summer. 

Jeff Borzello/ESPN

Tags: Jayden Quaintance, Kentucky Wildcats, NCAA, NBA, NBA NBA Draft, NBA Draft General

Ron Holland, Alex Sarr Top ESPN 2024 NBA Draft Prospect Rankings

Nov 6, 2023 9:02 AM

The 2023-24 NCAA basketball season tips off on Monday. However, non-collegiate players top ESPN's 2024 NBA Draft prospect rankings.

Six of the top-10 prospects are playing for the G League Ignite or overseas teams. Ron Holland (#1 overall), Matas Buzelis (#6 overall) and Izan Almansa (#9 overall) are all playing for the Ignite this season. They are joined by Australia's Alex Sarr (#2 overall), France's Zaccharie Risacher (#5 overall) and Serbia's Nikola Topic (#10 overall) in the top-10.

The top ranked collegiate players are Isaiah Collier of USC (#3 overall), Justin Edwards of Kentucky (#4 overall) and Connecticut's Donovan Clingan (#7 overall) and Stephon Castle (#8 overall).

Jonathan Givony/ESPN

Tags: Ron Holland, Alex Sarr, Isaiah Collier, Justin Edwards, Zaccharie Risacher, Matas Buzelis, Donovan Clingan, Stephon Castle, Izan Almansa, Nikola Topic, NBA G League Ignite, UConn Huskies, USC Trojans, Kentucky Wildcats, KK Mega Bemax, Perth, JL Bourg-en-Bresse, NBA, NBA NBA Draft, NBA Draft General, D-League Teams, International Teams

Zvonimir Ivisic Commits To Kentucky

Aug 1, 2023 7:50 AM

Zvonimir Ivisic of Croatia has committed to attend the University of Kentucky. Ivisic said he'll play for the Wildcats next season.

The 7-foot-2 Ivisic has spent the last three seasons playing for Studentski centar in Montenegro. The club was the runner-up in the Montenegrin Basketball League, while also making the quarterfinals in the Adriatic League.

Ivisic averaged 7.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 14.5 minutes per game over 33 contests in the two leagues. The 19-year-old center has also played for two teams in Croatia over his four-year career.

Ivisic has featured in ESPN's Top-100 draft prospects rankings. He's not draft-eligible until 2025, unless he declares as an Early Entry Candidate.

Jonathan Givony/ESPN

Tags: Zvonimir Ivisic, Kentucky Wildcats, Studentski Centar Podgorica, NCAA, NCAA Recruiting, NBA, NBA NBA Draft, NBA Draft General, International Teams, NCAA Commitment