It would appear the Kentucky Wildcats are on the verge of landing Orlando Antigua.
Despite a major push by Illinois, Antigua has reportedly told the Illini that he’s coming to Kentucky, according to KSR’s Matt Jones.
Multiple reports from Illinois “insiders” on Illini fan sites that Orlando Antigua has told Illinois he will be coming to Kentucky— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) April 29, 2021
Obviously, we’re going to need more confirmation outside of Illinois insiders before we dare utter that phrase that rhymes with fun seal. But it certainly appears Kentucky is in great shape to land the highly-coveted assistant coach.
After coming to Lexington alongside John Calipari in 2009, Antigua left Kentucky for the head-coaching job at South Florida in 2014. However, he struggled to produce wins and ran into trouble with the NCAA before being fired in 2017.
Following that, Antigua joined Brad Underwood’s staff at Illinois that same year and helped the school end an eight-year drought of not making the NCAA Tournament (they would have made it in 2020 had COVID-19 not canceled the Big Dance that year).
Make no mistake about it. This would be a massive get for Kentucky, as Antigua clearly had a major impact on the Kentucky program during his time in Lexington. Once he left, Kentucky slowly began regressing, culminating with a 9-16 record this past season and no Final Four trips since 2014-15.
While Antigua gets a lot of well-deserved praise for his recruiting prowess, he’s also great with player development.
Personally, the thought of having the former All-Big East forward with Pittsburgh (1991-95) and Harlem Globetrotter to help speed up the development of Oscar Tshiebwe, Daimion Collins, Lance Ware and hopefully Keion Brooks makes me very excited for next season.
Hopefully, John Calipari has or is very close to getting this done.