John Calipari is making yet another change to his coaching staff.
However, this one will come from within, as Calipari announced Thursday that Tony Barbee and Jai Lucas are swapping roles.
Barbee, who was previously one of the three main assistant coaches on Calipari’s staff, will now be the associate to the head coach in an off-court role.
Jai Lucas will now be one of the three main assistants on Calipari’s staff in addition to being the recruiting coordinator.
The Athletic’s Kyle Tucker confirmed the news with Kentucky and that the move happened in September. Lucas was initially hired on Aug. 31st.
I confirmed this with UK:— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) October 29, 2020
Barbee is now the associate to the head coach and Jai is an assistant/recruiting coordinator.
Change actually took place in September. Jai is now one of the three countable coaches. https://t.co/kjBcDE3jQg
That means Lucas, Joel Justus and Bruiser Flint will be Calipari’s three main assistants, each of whom can go on the road to recruit and initiate phone calls with recruits. Having Lucas in that role makes a lot of sense, as his recruiting prowess was a big reason why Calipari hired him away from Texas this offseason.
There was scuttlebutt that this kind of move could be made during the next offseason in getting Lucas into one of the three main assistant roles, but it appears Calipari decided it was best to go ahead and make it a reality now.
It also allows Lucas to make a bigger impact on the recruiting trail as Kentucky looks to add to its 2021 class and also lay the groundwork with more 2022 prospects.
It’s pretty clear that Calipari knew he needed to make some big changes to his staff after losing Kenny Payne to the Knicks this offseason, and he wasted no time in doing so with the additions of Flint and Lucas to the main staff.
W/all the changes in college basketball, we've found ways to continue to be at the forefront and remain the gold standard on & off the court. We will always foster a culture that puts our #PlayersFirst, but it's also about putting our players in a position to be #BuiltDifferent. pic.twitter.com/KiUNVrias1— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) October 29, 2020