Duke Blue Devils hire Kentucky Wildcats’ Jai Lucas as men’s basketball assistant coach
Duke men’s basketball coach Jon Scheyer is hiring Kentucky’s Jai Lucas as an assistant coach, sources told ESPN on Friday.
Lucas is the first basketball recruit outside of the Duke family since Mike Krzyzewski hired Tim O’Toole as an assistant coach in 1995.
He is Scheyer’s third and final first-team assistant at Duke, joining Chris Carrawell and Amile Jefferson. Carrawell has been an assistant coach under Krzyzewski since 2018, while Jefferson was promoted from director of player development. Scheyer also hired Elon’s head coach Mike Schrage as a special assistant to the head coach.
Lucas, 33, is considered one of the best young assistant coaches in the country. The son of longtime NBA player and coach John Lucas, he played his college ball in Florida and Texas before a brief professional career. He then spent seven seasons under Rick Barnes and Shaka Smart in Texas before moving to Kentucky as an assistant coach for the past two seasons.
“I have known the Lucas family for 25 years and have followed Jai’s career both as a player and as a coach,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said when he hired Lucas in 2020. “As our fans know, Jai was recruited here as a player and knows a lot about this program. I have always been impressed with the work he has done and the relationships he has created. Jai is another guy that everyone has respect for because of his work ethic and player-focused approach. He will be a great addition.”
Houston-born Lucas is well-connected in the state of Texas. While in Kentucky, he helped land Texan products Daimion Collins, Sahvir Wheeler and Cason Wallace. He was also the initial contact for five-star point guard TyTy Washington Jr. and helped with potential top-10 pick Shaedon Sharpe.
The rental was first reported by 247Sports.