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KSR Sources: Kentucky basketball pushing to add Jai Lucas to coaching staff

TexasSports.com

TexasSports.com

Kentucky is looking to add a very familiar name to its basketball coaching staff.

Sources tell KSR that UK is in talks with Texas assistant coach Jai Lucas – yes, that Jai Lucas – to join the basketball program, a move that is expected to come to fruition in the very near future.

KSR has learned that conversations with Lucas began as early as last week around the same time of Kenny Payne’s departure and Bruiser Flint’s rumored addition. Kentucky is expected to add both Flint and Lucas to the coaching staff, the former focusing primarily on the X’s and O’s and the latter expected to take over a primary recruiting role as a special assistant to the head coach.

“Would be a big get if we could pull that off,” a source close to the Kentucky basketball program told KSR Tuesday morning.

“Jai Lucas is a specialist, knows everyone in the country. Limitless resources,” another source familiar with the situation told KSR on Monday evening. “Could be an assistant like he is now but more of a connections guy. Fits like a glove [at Kentucky].”

Sources tell KSR that Texas is already searching for a replacement for Lucas, with Baylor’s Alvin Brooks being seen as an early favorite.

The 31-year-old has been with the University of Texas since 2013, serving as a special assistant under Rick Barnes before being promoted to director of basketball operations under Shaka Smart in 2015. He was then promoted to his current post as an assistant coach in June 2016.

In his time as a full-time assistant at Texas, Lucas has established himself as one of the top up-and-coming names in college basketball recruiting, helping the program sign top-ten prospects and former Kentucky targets Mohamed Bamba and Greg Brown III, among other four- and five-star talent.

Barring an imminent coaching staff change – including a potential shift of roles within the program – Lucas would not be able to recruit off-campus as things stand today as a special assistant. The hope, though, would be for him to ultimately find himself on the recruiting trail in the near future. Given the current state of affairs with in-person recruiting – there are rumblings we may not see that again until 2021 – that may not even matter, essentially adding another elite in-house recruiter to the fold to help with Zoom calls, virtual visits, etc.

In terms of connections with Kentucky basketball, Lucas – a former McDonald’s All American and top-20 high school prospect – turned down the Wildcats in favor of Florida in 2007, and then again as a transfer in 2008 when the 5-foot-10 point guard took his talents to Texas for the final two years of his career (2009-11).

Lucas’ recruitment was one of the most well-documented in Kentucky Sports Radio history, with the website publishing 327 total posts on the high-profile guard over the course of his basketball career.

Now, 13 years later, Lucas is expected to officially end up in Lexington.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

25 Comments for KSR Sources: Kentucky basketball pushing to add Jai Lucas to coaching staff



  1. Irwin R. Fletcher
    4:15 pm August 18, 2020 Permalink

    And, what about Patterson?



    • FinnaGoHAM
      4:33 pm August 18, 2020 Permalink

      Nice one Arnold Babar. You beat me to the punch (line).



  2. ClutchCargo
    4:16 pm August 18, 2020 Permalink

    So is he going to take a job at UF instead at the last minute? 😉



    • Bluehender
      4:25 pm August 18, 2020 Permalink

      Good one Clutch..



    • UKinIN
      10:50 pm August 18, 2020 Permalink

      Boom roasted!



  3. lexslamman
    4:19 pm August 18, 2020 Permalink

    Yes, but what about Wright, Kemp, Young and Thompson?

    Also, waiting on Moises Globally news over here.



    • T-Town Cat
      5:38 pm August 18, 2020 Permalink

      I remember that year: “WKYT”.



  4. Newtype
    4:22 pm August 18, 2020 Permalink

    Were your sources Rick Bozich?



  5. Wilfred Smith
    4:23 pm August 18, 2020 Permalink

    How do we add TWO assistants to fill ONE vacancy?



    • Bluehender
      4:26 pm August 18, 2020 Permalink

      It’s addition by subtraction…



    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      8:42 pm August 18, 2020 Permalink

      One step forward, 2 steps back, or versa vice vice versa.



  6. BigBluSoTru
    4:24 pm August 18, 2020 Permalink

    Barbee is leaving



  7. mashman 93
    4:35 pm August 18, 2020 Permalink

    Love this hope it happens



  8. FinnaGoHAM
    4:36 pm August 18, 2020 Permalink

    If this actually happens, could we get Lucas to suit up for the Blue-White game, just so we can finally see him in a UK uniform in Rupp?



  9. Laker Cat 18
    4:38 pm August 18, 2020 Permalink

    Well well well…how the turntables…



    • 2andToodleLoo
      5:54 pm August 18, 2020 Permalink

      Another well played quip here. Quoting The Office is always a win.



  10. Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert
    6:01 pm August 18, 2020 Permalink

    Kenny Payne was well connected to Nike. Probably more connected than any assistant coach in the country. Lucas and his dad have tons of AAU connections. This hire makes a ton of sense.



  11. Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert
    6:06 pm August 18, 2020 Permalink

    Kenny Payne was well connected to Nike. Probably more connected than any assistant coach in the country. Lucas and his dad have tons of AAU connections. This hire makes a ton of sense. Great hire!



    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      8:40 pm August 18, 2020 Permalink

      You can say that again!



  12. Aar
    7:37 pm August 18, 2020 Permalink

    I thought John Robin was already a special assistant to Coach Cal. Also, sounds like Lucas could bring a skill set not unlike DeWayne Peavy’s



  13. theSpectre_
    8:31 pm August 18, 2020 Permalink

    Takes me back to the early days of KSR, when they followed Johnny “The Freak” Renshaw here in Louisville. People have beat me to the Patterson/last minute switch to Florida lines, but a blast from the past for sure!



  14. Brutal Hustler
    8:41 pm August 18, 2020 Permalink

    Tubby Smith walked with Jai Lucas so Calipari could run with Jai Lucas



  15. TonyMontana
    8:58 pm August 18, 2020 Permalink

    It’s crazy how you get old and everything comes full circle. One of these days, Andrew Wiggin’s son will be committing to Kentucky and coach Brad Calipari.



  16. Han
    10:02 pm August 18, 2020 Permalink

    Would go a long way toward assuaging the worries people have about losing Payne in recruiting.

    And if someone else on staff (Barbee, Flint, Justus) gets a HC job elsewhere, Lucas can move into a full assistant role again here, like how Justus moved into Robic’s spot.

    Some good news, finally. (Losing Payne, maybe lose Peevy, and Boston in a cast already).



  17. CJKAssassin123
    7:42 am August 19, 2020 Permalink

    Cal always has a plan!!! Lucus also has a great track record of getting elite 5 star Big men Which has been an Achilles heel for Cal and UK the last 3-4 years. In fact Flint and Lucus together equal a slightly better version of Kenny Payne. I think we will be just fine if it does indeed happen.