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John Calipari reveals Jai Lucas is switching coaching roles with Tony Barbee

John Calipari did not have a pulpit to preach upon at Big Blue Madness in 2020. Coronavirus forced many changes to college basketball. As Kentucky’s men’s basketball program adapts to remain the gold standard, Coach Cal revealed he’s making a tweak to his staff.

Even though Jai Lucas was initially hired for an off-the-court coaching role as a special recruiting analyst of sorts, that was never the case. Calipari said that starting in September Lucas, Joel Justus and Bruiser Flint operated as Kentucky’s on-court assistant coaches. Jon Robic is focused primarily on scheduling and scouting, while Tony Barbee has moved off the court to become Calipari’s associate head coach.

“Tony’s become the associate to the head coach. He’s like the co-head coach. I want him in my ear whether it be for practices, game, watching tape, our tape, the opponent’s tape, give me gameplans. Focus on that,” Calipari said.

“Joel and Jai, I want you on that recruiting ten hours a day.”

Calipari made the decision following Kenny Payne’s departure. The goal was to specialize roles to resemble an NBA coaching staff.

“It’s a staff of the future. It’s where this game is going. It’s how you can be effective for your young people. I want our staff to have great relationships and great time and communication with these players. You do it through practice where they respect your knowledge, in individual sessions where you’re spending time in the morning, in the evening, showing you care, listening because this is hard. These kids are chasing greatness and you know what, there’s a lot on their shoulders now with COVID and all this other stuff. But we’re here for our guys. We’re a players first program. That will never change.”

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

10 Comments for John Calipari reveals Jai Lucas is switching coaching roles with Tony Barbee



  1. JohnnyCat
    8:10 pm October 29, 2020 Permalink

    Given this, Jai will be somebody’s head coach by next year or 2022 at latest. So let the man work his magic for us while he can!



  2. wyatts1
    11:11 pm October 29, 2020 Permalink

    Love the coach, wouldnt trade him for anyone, but would it kill him to have a #championship in the caption. Considering the recruiting classes that he’s landed here at KENTUCKY, we’re do. I wish last years team couldve experienced march madness also, while I’m here commenting lol



    • CJKAssassin123
      11:17 am October 30, 2020 Permalink

      Let’s not sugar coat this, It’s basically a demotion by via promotion for Tony Barbee.



    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      2:24 pm October 30, 2020 Permalink

      That may very well be. The knock on him at Auburn (I live about 45 minutes away) was he was horrible at promoting the program, so unless he’s changed I can’t imagine he’s a very good recruiter. He may be good with Xs and Os though, and if so, this is probably a better fit for him.



  3. 4KCATS
    7:28 am October 30, 2020 Permalink

    Would this be like becoming Assistant to the Regional Manager???



    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      2:25 pm October 30, 2020 Permalink

      Assistant to the traveling secretary, like George Costanza.



    • BobbyBlue
      3:05 pm October 30, 2020 Permalink

      So now will Jai be able to recruit off campus, once it is allowed again ?



  4. bbn606
    8:03 am October 30, 2020 Permalink

    Barbee is next to useless.



  5. CahillsCrossingNT
    1:19 pm October 30, 2020 Permalink

    Where is the coach’s mask?



  6. wyatts1
    11:19 pm October 31, 2020 Permalink

    Lower left hand corner, looks to be laying beside his hand sanitizer. If you zoom in really close, you’ll also see a small letter saying F the haters out there. But im sure it wasn’t for you Cahill…. you hater !!