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Will Scott Drew go to Kentucky? Coaching candidate what you should know

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LEXINGTON — As John Calipari looks forward after retiring after 15 years at Kentucky, his old job is becoming the most prominent position in college basketball. Many names are mentioned at the opening, from a former UK coach (Rick Pitino) to a former UK assistant (Billy Donovan) to the man who won his second consecutive national title on Monday (Dan Hurley).

It's unlikely that any of them will succeed Calipari.

A far more logical choice: Baylor's Scott Drew, who has a longstanding relationship with Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart. And there have long been rumors that Drew would be at the top of Barnhart's wish list the next time the Wildcats needed a new men's basketball coach.

Here are three things to know about Drew as the UK coaching search is underway:

Scott Drew is a winner

National titles are important in Kentucky.

Drew already has one: He led the Bears to the 2021 NCAA Championship.

But that's not all: Along with Kansas, Baylor is one of only two Division I programs that have won at least 18 games per season since 2008. Additionally, Baylor has advanced to five Sweet 16s and three Elite Eights and set a Big 12 record consecutive wins (23) in 2019–20 during Drew's tenure.

He is Baylor's all-time winningest coach with a 446-244 (.646) record in 21 seasons.

Scott Drew is no stranger to developing and recruiting talent

Fourteen Baylor players have won All-America honors under Drew. That includes the first consensus first-team All-American in program history: Jared Butler in 2021. In 2019-20, the Bears became the first Big 12 school to have all five starters earn all-conference honors.

And as far as recruiting goes, Drew was no slouch.

According to 247Sports' all-time rankings, Drew picked up seven five-star prospects during his time with the Bears. That includes the most touted recruit in history — and a Drew prospect who beat Calipari and the Wildcats — in VJ Edgecombe, the No. 4 overall player in the 2024 class according to the 247Sports Composite. In addition to the seven five-star players who signed with the Bears, 37 four-star prospects signed with Baylor during the Drew era.

Scott Drew has overseen one of the largest rebuilding projects in the history of sports

When Drew arrived in Waco, Texas, in 2003, he inherited a program that had hit rock bottom.

Baylor had to pick up the pieces after a player (Patrick Dennehy) was murdered by a teammate (Carlton Dotson). The subsequent NCAA investigation revealed countless violations that led to the resignation of head coach Dave Bliss. Baylor self-imposed three years of probation and scholarship restrictions. The NCAA imposed additional penalties and extended Baylor's probation through 2010. The NCAA also prevented the Bears from playing non-conference games during the 2005–06 season and imposed additional recruiting restrictions.

The first few years were as difficult as you would expect: eight wins in his first season in 2003/04, followed by nine wins in 2004/05. Then a 4-13 record in the 2005-06 season and a 15-16 record in the 2006-07 season.

But the Bears went 21-11 and reached the 2007-08 NCAA Tournament.

They haven't experienced a losing season since.

Reach Kentucky men's basketball and football reporter Ryan Black at [email protected] and follow him on X at @RyanABlack.