Calipari: Kentucky assistant Jai Lucas leaving for Duke

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari tweeted that assistant Jai Lucas is leaving the Wildcats to join the staff of first-year Duke coach Jon Scheyer.

Duke hasn’t commented publicly on its assistant coach vacancy. But in a Friday post on Twitter, account, Calipari said that Lucas told him Thursday he was leaving for an unspecified “promotion” at another school. Told it was Duke, considered Kentucky’s top competitor for high-level recruits, the Hall of Fame coach said Lucas expected him to be mad before expressing his support to do what’s best for his family.

“He’s been loyal, terrific on the road and great for our players,” Calipari added, “and I want what’s best for him, so I’m good with it.

“This year, all of our assistants have been approached about other opportunities. When you have a great staff, that’s what happens!”

Lucas was a Kentucky assistant last season after arriving in August 2020 as recruiting coordinator. He is credited with attracting players such as standout guard TyTy Washington Jr. for last year’s 26-8 squad.

Scheyer, who has taken over for retired Mike Krzyzewski, previously promoted former Blue Devils player Amile Jefferson to assistant coach. He also named ex-Elon coach Mike Schrage to special assistant to the head coach after Nolan Smith left for Louisville.

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