The John Calipari era at Kentucky has been a huge success in large-part due to the coaching staffs Calipari has formed.
Kenny Payne was a staple of the UK program the past decade and as a result, is now an assistant with the New York Knicks, Tony Barbee has been a big asset on the recruiting trail after a head-coaching stop at Auburn, but one coach that is considered underrated by many is Joel Justus.
Justus has been on Calipari’s Kentucky staff since the 2014-15 season and has helped recruit big names to Lexington while also improving current players’ skills as an assistant.
His contributions to the program did not go unnoticed by The Athletic’s Seth Davis who named Justus among the top 40 “rising stars” under the age of 40-years old in men’s college basketball.
“In 2014, John Calipari hired Justus to be Kentucky’s director of analytics. That was a big leap from Justus’ previous job as the coach at Davidson Day High School in North Carolina, but he has continued to elevate. The following year Justus became special assistant to the head coach, and over the past four seasons he has worked as a fulltime assistant. With the summertime departure of Kentucky’s top assistant, Kenny Payne, for the New York Knicks, Justus will have an expanded role for the Wildcats this season. The increased responsibilities and exposure should put him in line to become a college head coach in the near future.”
Justus’ name has already come up in head coaching searches and with this recognition, programs across the nation may take even bigger notice of his stellar work in Lexington.