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Kentucky Basketball hosting Mark Pope and his Utah Valley squad next season

The Cats will face a former Cat in Rupp Arena next season.

Mark Pope

The Kentucky Wildcats continue to add to their 2017-18 schedule. The latest addition comes vs a school with a UK alum.

According to KSR, UK will host the Utah Valley Wolverines, who are coached by former Wildcat big man Mark Pope. This news come shortly after it was revealed UK will host East Tennessee State next season.

The Wolverines will return leading scorer Conner Toolson, who averaged 11.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game last season. Toolson is among five of Utah Valley’s top six scorers returning from last season.

Pope has been a fast riser up the coaching ranks since scoring his first major gig as an assistant at Georgia in 2009. He later moved on to Wake Forest and BYU before becoming the Wolverines’ head man in 2015.

Pope currently owns a 29–35 career coaching record after going 12-18 in his first season, followed by a more promising 17-17 campaign last season and made it to the CBI Semifinals. His team currently competes in the Western Athletic Conference.

As a player, Pope helped UK win the 1996 NCAA National Championship, and he enjoyed a nine-year professional career that included seven seasons in the NBA and two in Turkey. Pope was drafted in the second round of the 1996 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers. Following the draft, Pope played a season as a professional in Turkey for Efes Pilsen. He then joined the Indiana Pacers where he played for two seasons under head coach Larry Bird and helped the team to the 1998 Eastern Conference Finals.