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Kenny Payne, now Orlando Antigua? The latest on Kentucky's coaching staff build

On3 imageby:Tyler Thompson04/18/24

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Earlier this week, Matt Jones reported that Mark Pope was looking to add a “big name” to his staff that Kentucky fans would be very familiar with. It looks like that hire will not happen; however, another very familiar name may stick around Lexington instead.

To start today’s radio show, Jones reported that Kentucky was pursuing Kenny Payne, the former Louisville head coach who was one of John Calipari’s top assistants at Kentucky for almost a decade. While the decision isn’t final, Jones says Payne will likely either join Calipari at Arkansas or take a job in the NBA.

“I think for about 48 hours, Kentucky had really put a lot of emphasis and attempts at getting Kenny Payne, former UK assistant and UofL head coach. I believe yesterday he decided not to do it. Obviously, that could change but that’s what I heard toward last night. He is likely to either go to Arkansas — I’m told the Arkansas that the [Tyson] chicken people maybe said to him, take whatever they offer him just add to it. But he also may go to the NBA but it’s very unlikely now that he goes here.”

Turns out another longtime Calipari assistant may fill that role instead. Jones confirmed that Orlando Antigua, who was an assistant under Calipari from 2009-14 and again from 2021-this past season, is interested in staying in Lexington instead of following Cal to Arkansas. As of yesterday, Antigua was still reporting to work at the Joe Craft Center.

“There’s a lot of chatter and I can confirm that Orlando wants to stay. That Orlando, he’s still here. He has still been showing up to work in the Craft Center because he’s technically still an assistant coach, unlike a lot of the others who resigned. He hasn’t yet. I don’t know what UK is going to do there.”

It remains to be seen what Pope will do regarding Antigua; however, Jones says he’s hearing Pope has four of the five spots on his staff filled, with Kenny, and now, potentially Antigua, possibly being the fifth. Last night, he confirmed that BYU assistant Cody Fueger will join the staff in one of the three recruiting roles. BYU Director of Video and Analytics Strategy Keegan Brown was another name mentioned earlier this week, but that has yet to be confirmed, nor is it clear whether or not he would be one of the five on-court assistants or joining the staff in an off-the-court role.

It sounds like we’ll know for sure soon enough. Two of the assistant coach job listings on UK’s website expired yesterday. Two more expire on Sunday and an administrative services assistant role expires on Monday. Jones said that he’s expecting official announcements to roll out next week and leaks to come over the next 48 hours.

“I give him credit; he’s moving silently and trying to get stuff finished,” Jones said of Mark Pope. “I’m told that like, they now pretty much know what they’re gonna do staff-wise. It’ll just at some point, presumably leaked to the general public.”

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2024-07-24