Not only do the Kentucky Wildcats have one of college basketball’s most respected head coaches in John Calipari, but his group of assistants also rank among the sport’s elite.
Silver Waves Media ranked 50 impactful high major assistant coaches in Division I Men’s Basketball. Among those include UK assistant coach Joel Justus and associate head coach Kenny Payne.
Justus joined the Kentucky staff in 2014-15 and, in his first season, coached the perfect regular seasons’ squad that went 38-0 before falling to the Wisconsin Badgers in the 2015 Final Four.
He is best known for helping to develop UK’s guards such as Tyler Herro and Immanuel Quickley.
As for Payne, he is among the nation’s top recruiters and earns much of the credit for developing Kentucky’s frontcourt in players such as Nerlens Noel, Julius Randle, Willie Cauley-Stein, Bam Adebayo, PJ Washington and Nick Richards.
He is often mentioned by players as the reason they love their time in Lexington and is a name that comes up in several head coaching searches across the nation.
Here’s a list of the SEC coaches to make the Silver Waves list.
- Joel Justus, Kentucky Wildcats
- Kenny Payne, Kentucky Wildcats
- Chris Crutchfield, Arkansas Razorbacks
- Kim English, Tennessee Volunteers
- Micheal Schwartz, Tennessee Volunteers
- David Grace, Vanderbilt Commodores
- Greg Heiar, LSU Tigers
- Bryan Hodgson, Alabama Crimson Tide
- Korey McCray, Mississippi State Bulldogs
- Darris Nichols, Florida Gators