Longtime NBA assistant coach John Welch is expected to join John Calipari’s staff at Kentucky for the upcoming 2023-24 college basketball season, according to Kentucky Sports Radio. An announcement is expected to be made soon.
The father of former Kentucky walk-on and graduate assistant Riley Welch was in Lexington over the past week interviewing for the position. Riley was a walk-on at Kentucky for two seasons after spending one at UC Irvine. He has since spent the last two years as a grad assistant and plays a vital role in evaluating and scouting opponents’ film during the season.
He will occupy one of the five on-court coaching positions on Calipari’s staff, joining Orlando Antigua, Chin Coleman and Bruiser Flint. He will be in charge of game planning and workouts
An 18-year NBA coaching vet, John Welch has had stints with the Memphis Grizzlies, Denver Nuggets, Brooklyn Nets, Sacramento Kings and most recently, the Los Angeles Clippers from 2016 through 2020.
Welch will join a new-look Kentucky team during the 2023-24 season. Oscar Tshiebwe, Cason Wallace and Jacob Toppin have all entered the 2023 NBA Draft. Daimion Collins, Sahvir Wheeler and CJ Fredrick have left the program via the transfer portal.
It’s not all bleak, though. Welch will have his fair share of talent to work with and mold in his NBA vision. Four Five-Star Plus+ recruits will be heading to Lexington in the coming weeks for the start of summer workouts. SF Justin Edwards, C Aaron Bradshaw, G DJ Wagner Jr. and G Robert Dillingham, as well as four-star recruit and Kentucky native Reed Sheppard.
Calipari hasn’t worked his magic in the transfer portal yet, either. Each year Kentucky utilizes the portal to its advantage with some of its most recent stars being brought into the program from elsewhere. Tshiebwe, Wheeler and Fredrick all started their college careers somewhere else. Calipari is sure to get a player or two this year, even if his recruiting class is rather large compared to recent years.
The biggest name in the transfer portal is former Michigan big man Hunter Dickinson — who Kentucky has their eyes on. Despite the On3 recruiting prediction machine leaning toward the top-rated transfer picking Kentucky, reports have emerged saying that UK isn’t willing to promise Dickinson NIL figures, something that the other schools he is choosing from have done for him.
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