Is it a good fit? How working with Mark Pope impacts

Apr 11, 2024, 11:35 PM ET Last month, SMU stunned the college basketball world when it fired Rob Lanier following a 20-win season. The relocation unlocked for Andy Enfield to leave USC and fill that opening. Then, Eric Musselman left Arkansas to change Enfield, and John Calipari signed a gigantic deal with the Razorbacks, which got us here, to the opening at Kentucky.The preliminary rumblings recommended Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart would swing for the fences. And he did.But UConn head coach Dan Hurley, fresh off his

back-to-back NCAA title runs, said no after supposedly being used a huge income. Then, Scott Drew decided to remain in Waco at Baylor. It was uncertain if other prospects, such as Billy Donovan, were seriously approached.Editor’s Picks 2 Related In either case, it appeared Barnhart wished to land a knowledgeable coach

with a winning pedigree.Mark Pope was never pointed out till it appeared Kentucky had actually stopped working to attract its top prospects. Pope, who won a nationwide title as a player at Kentucky in 1996, has a strong training record after stints at Utah Valley and BYU. However let’s be truthful here: This is a significant distinction from Calipari.The expectation was Kentucky would make a splash with its next coach. Today, there are more questions than responses about the expected hiring of Pope to be the next Wildcats head coach.Jeff Borzello and Myron Medcalf effort to answer a few of them, including what the relocation would mean for Pope, Kentucky and BYU.What would compel Mark Pope to

take the job at Kentucky? Why did Kentucky provide him the job?Myron Medcalf: Mitch Barnhart had a dream list of who’s who coaches.

I’m sure he’ll confess he never ever thought he ‘d end up with Pope. There’s absolutely nothing incorrect with Pope. He’s an excellent coach with a solid record at this moment in his career. But this is Kentucky, arguably the top task in college basketball. Although Pope has ties to the school, this is a significant promo for a guy who coached at Utah Valley and BYU but never ever won an NCAA tournament game. However Barnhart might have preferred a younger coach– Pope is 51 years old– and familiarity when his leading choices failed.? Jeff Borzello: Kentucky plainly took big swings in the hours and days after John Calipari left for Arkansas. Jay Wright distanced himself from the job rapidly, as did Hurley and Donovan. Kentucky reached out to Nate Oats, who launched


statement saying he was remaining at Alabama. Shaka Smart was on the list; he likewise wasn’t leaving. Drew mulled the choice for a day but decreased. Kentucky made one more perform at Hurley, using him a huge income– however he as soon as again chosen to stay. Which left Pope as the next name on the list, a previous Kentucky player who won a national championship in Lexington. The prospective targets on the next tier were all flawed in one way or another, and Pope’s connections to the school and understanding of the expectations gave him an edge.Is this a good fit?Medcalf: Pope won a nationwide title, and he understands Kentucky basketball, including its rabid fan base. Beyond that? It’s tough to see how this fits what Kentucky wanted: a coach with a huge name who can continue to draw in elite players and contend for national championships.

Perhaps Pope will do that sooner or later. He’s following a guy who attracted the leading recruiting classes in the nation and, at his best, reached the Last 4 all however one year from 2010-11 to 2014-15 and won a nationwide title. The expectation is to make Kentucky a contender again. This isn’t a rebuild.Borzello: It’s an interesting fit, one more in line with Duke working with Jon Scheyer and North Carolina hiring Hubert Davis than, say, Arkansas employing John Calipari. Pope doesn’t have the résumé a few of the other potential candidates possessed, never ever winning an NCAA tournament game or a regular-season title and costs just one year training in a high-major conference. But he’s got some name recognition, specifically in Lexington, and he’ll understand what being the head coach of Kentucky involves. The expectations are going to be huge from day one, however, something he hasn’t handled during his time at Utah Valley and BYU.What is Pope’s first agenda in Lexington?Medcalf: A coach is generally asked to win the press conference and make an immediate splash with the fan base. However I think there will be a lot of reaction. If he’s personable, it will assist his cause. The only real method to resolve negative responses will be to put together top skill from both the transfer website and the high school ranks– from those players who aren’t yet dedicated. His window is little, though.

His words won’t matter as much as his recruiting class.Top stories of the

week from Get special access to countless premium short articles a year from top authors. – Best NFL potential customers at 90 characteristics”- Ranking college football’s leading defenses”- What’s next for Bronny James?”More ESPN+material” Borzello: The same thing it would be for anybody who replaced Calipari: Rebuild the roster. Considering that Calipari left for Arkansas, Rob Dillingham turned pro, Aaron Bradshaw went into the portal and

3 of the program’s six 2024 commitments reopened their recruitments.
There’s not a lot left for Pope, especially with a number of other players expected to go to the NBA. And unlike Scott Drew or Dan Hurley, it’s not likely

Pope brings a great deal of Kentucky-level players with him to the Wildcats.What’s next for BYU?Medcalf: BYU is a great task with a helpful fan base. It also has strong boosters who back the program. A great deal of coaches will inquire, but Mark Madsen– who is presently at Cal– appears to make one of the most sense. Like Pope, Madsen likewise had an effective stint at Utah Valley before moving to Berkeley last summertime. He has regional ties, and he played in the NBA for a long stretch. Madsen appears like the best guy.Borzello: BYU is likely to have a relatively list to replace Pope. Madsen

will be on it, although he has a buyout and it’s unclear if he ‘d wish to leave Berkeley after one season. A couple of other names to watch: UNLV assistant coach Barret Peery, Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Alex Jensen and Utah assistant coach Chris Burgess.

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