John Calipari has his new assistant coach.
After Jai Lucas left earlier this offseason to take a job with the Duke Blue Devils, the wheels have been spinning on who Coach Calipari would find to replace a rising star like Lucas.
Known as one of the best player development coaches at the college level, Turner brings over 15 years of experience to Lexington with his most recent stop being with the Oklahoma Sooners as the associate head coach. Before his time in Norman, Turner also held the same role with the Texas Longhorns and SMU Mustangs.
This hire might have caught some by surprise, but it seems to be the perfect fit for what Calipari was looking for. Turner brings plenty of experience while also being a solid recruiter, and it is only an added bonus that he has spent some of his career coaching in the Texas, helping the Cats hold their footing with recruits from the Lone Star State.
Now, Kentucky gets a proven coach that also can help recruit a state that it has done well with in the Calipari era.
Welcome to Lexington Coach Turner!
Check out some of the reactions from Twitter below:
John Calipari has his man.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) May 31, 2022
K.T. Turner, associate head coach at Oklahoma (and former Texas and SMU), will be Kentucky's third assistant, sources tell @TheAthletic.
Cal wanted a player-development specialist with Texas recruiting ties.https://t.co/5KWa77MSwA
Kentucky head coach John Calipari will hire Oklahoma Associate Head Coach, KT Turner, as an assistant coach, a source confirmed to @247Sports.— Travis Branham (@TravisBranham_) May 31, 2022
First reported by @KyleTucker_ATH.
Story: https://t.co/cJa1WdcrCL pic.twitter.com/4tNGtKGhpg
KT Turner in the last three seasons has worked with three highly regarded head coaches in Tim Jankovich (SMU), Shaka Smart (Texas) and Porter Moser (Oklahoma) in the Associate Head Coach role.— Travis Branham (@TravisBranham_) May 31, 2022
He brings connections to some of the nation’s top grassroots programs.
Here's a pretty good way to assess whether K.T. Turner is a great hire or not:— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) May 31, 2022
He's now been hired by Gregg Marshall, Larry Brown, Shaka Smart, Porter Moser and John Calipari. Every one of those coaches has been to a Final Four. https://t.co/GIMDX9mbZ6
BREAKING: Oklahoma's K.T. Turner hired as Kentucky's third assistanthttps://t.co/c7mgalnenL— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) May 31, 2022
Scooooooop @TravisGrafHoops!— Justin Rowland (@RowlandRIVALS) May 31, 2022
KT Turner looks like a great addition as Calipari's third assistant. Seems like some really successful HCs have wanted this guy in their program. Great development credentials.
I think KT Turner is a solid choice who is very well respected in the recruiting ranks. The general fan may not know him but he is very well known in Texas, a state Kentucky wants to own— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) May 31, 2022
Early 40s, known for developing talent and loved by Larry Brown. That is why Cal got him
Asked the most-connected grassroots/recruiting person I know whether he likes the KT Turner hire for Kentucky.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) May 31, 2022
One of my favorite parts of Coach K.T. Turner's resume is that he played JUCO/NAIA and spent his first five years in coaching at the JUCO level as an assistant. That means he knows how to GRIND!!! I'm sure he is a guy who behind the scenes knows everybody and that is huge. https://t.co/9IDGEQSLk7— Brandon Ramsey (@BRamseyKSR) May 31, 2022
KT Turner will bring additional recruiting chops to Lexington while also providing a track record of developmental success.— Endless Motor Sports (@endless_motor) May 31, 2022
Great hire for Kentucky. https://t.co/1yI91JICsp
I think criticism of Coach Cal is warranted after the past couple of years. That being said, everyone in coaching circles around the country think KT Turner is an excellent hire. https://t.co/4oHt9KJzEU— Tyler Campbell (@TylerCampbellKY) May 31, 2022
I like the KT Turner hire. Not super flashy but a really good 3rd assistant— Fifth Quarter Kentucky (@FQKentucky) May 31, 2022
As for new UK assistant KT Turner, don't know him personally but have heard nothing but good things.— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) May 31, 2022
Porter Moser raved about him, when we spoke last summer.
Seems pretty clear to me John Calipari wants to keep a Texas pipeline open as well, with the departure of Jai Lucas