In what could be one of several changes to the Kentucky coaching staff after the Wildcats missed the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2013, assistant coach Joel Justus has elected to take the top assistant post under Bobby Hurley at Arizona State, a source told ESPN on Thursday.
In addition, assistant Tony Barbee, who has been on Kentucky’s staff since 2014, will be hired as head coach at Central Michigan, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Borzello on Thursday.
Justus, who arrived in Kentucky in 2014 as director of analytics and then became a special assistant to the head coach, was the lead recruiter of many of the top prospects to go through Kentucky — including Bam Adebayo, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Immanuel Quickley, Keldon Johnson, Johnny Juzang, Brandon Boston and others — since he was elevated to an assistant coaching role in 2016.
He will be replacing Rashon Burno, who left the Sun Devils to become head coach at Northern Illinois.
Justus is also the lead recruiter for Skyy Clark, the No. 13 overall player — and No. 3 point guard — in the 2022 class who committed to Kentucky last October.
Several other changes are expected on coach John Calipari’s staff after the Wildcats’ disappointing 9-16 season.
Illinois assistant coach Orlando Antigua, a Kentucky assistant from 2009 to 2014 and a heavy hitter in the college recruiting world, is a strong candidate to reunite with Calipari, a source told ESPN.
Antigua, formerly the head coach at South Florida and the Dominican Republic national team, was an assistant under Calipari at Memphis and followed him to Lexington when he became head coach of Kentucky.
Another name mentioned as a possible replacement is fellow Illinois assistant Ron “Chin” Coleman, sources told Borzello, but it’s believed that pursuit is not as far along as Antigua. Coleman could decide to return to Champaign and has also been linked to the assistant coach vacancy at Kansas, sources said.
Calipari’s son, Brad Calipari, is also expected to return to Kentucky in some capacity, a source told ESPN. Brad Calipari, 24, started his playing career as a walk-on at Kentucky and spent the past two seasons on scholarship at the University of Detroit.
Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analytics service utilized by NBA, NCAA and international teams.