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Jason Hart named assistant coach under Mark Pope at Kentucky

Jack PIlgrimby:Jack Pilgrim04/22/24

Make that two official hires for Mark Pope at Kentucky, this time in NBA veteran and longtime coach at the high school, collegiate and professional ranks, Jason Hart.

Cody Fueger was the first assistant named to Pope’s staff on Monday, followed quickly by Hart.

“Jason Hart is everything as a coach that he was as a player,” Pope said. “He has boundless energy. He’s fearless. He is stubborn. But he has endless joy and love for this game and our players.

“He has all of the grit that you’d expect from a big-time Syracuse point guard, and he earned everything he got in his decade-long NBA career through pure blood, sweat and tears. Jason is going to win over Kentucky players and Kentucky fans in about 10 seconds. I’m thrilled to welcome Jason, Brandi and their family to UK.”

Hart most recently served as the head coach of the NBA G League Ignite where he developed the likes of Jaden Hardy, Scoot Henderson, Matas Buzelis and Ron Holland. Now, he’ll be developing the next generation of high-profile talent in Lexington with the Wildcats.

“I couldn’t be more excited to join the Big Blue Nation,” Hart said. “I’ve played and coached at every level of basketball and there is not a more passionate fan base than this one. I will give every ounce of energy to our players and this program, and I can’t wait to get started. I want to thank Mitch Barnhart and Mark Pope for their confidence in me, and I want to say a special thanks to my family for their continued support.”

The 45-year-old out of Los Angeles is known for his West Coast recruiting ties and relationships at the sport’s highest level. A nine-year NBA veteran and former star at Syracuse — he is a member of the program’s All-Century Team, honoring the top 25 players in Orange history — Hart previously served as the associate head coach at USC under Andy Enfield. There, he was instrumental in developing five NBA Draft picks while helping lead the program to three NCAA Tournament appearances, highlighted by a run to the Elite Eight in 2021.

Now, Hart will be taking his coaching talents to Kentucky as the second official member of Pope’s debut staff.

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