K.T. Turner to join John Calipari’s Kentucky staff as assistant coach

John Calipari has found his replacement for assistant coach Jai Lucas, who was hired away by Duke a month ago. Coincidentally, it’s the same man who replaced Lucas at Texas when Calipari hired Lucas away from the Longhorns two years ago. That man is 44-year-old K.T. Turner, sources told The Athletic.

Turner has served as associate head coach at Southern Methodist, Texas and Oklahoma, where he spent last season under Porter Moser. He was also on staff at Wichita State when the Shockers made their stunning run to the Final Four in 2013. Turner comes highly endorsed by his former boss at SMU, Larry Brown, a Naismith Hall of Famer and longtime Calipari friend.

When Shaka Smart hired Turner at Texas, he said Brown told him: “K.T.‘s the best assistant I’ve ever been around because of the impact that K.T. has on the people around him.” Smart later said of Turner: “He’s one of those guys, if you don’t like him, then something’s wrong with you.”

Turner took over as acting head coach of the Longhorns briefly in 2021 after Smart tested positive for COVID-19.

Turner is known as a strong recruiter and developer of talent. At SMU, he played a major role in the signing and emergence of NBA draft picks Semi Ojeleye, Sterling Brown and Shake Milton. In his first few weeks on the job at OU, Turner helped lock down top-100 recruit CJ Noland after he considered other options during the Sooners’ coaching change.

Author: Lucy Green