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Tuesday night update on the Kentucky men's basketball coaching search

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John CaliparI'm flying to Arkansas. The former Kentucky head coach announced Tuesday that he is parting ways with the men's basketball program. While the Razorbacks have not yet officially announced Calipari as their next head coach, that news is on the way.

But what matters to Kentucky and the fan base right now is who replaces Calipari. Many candidates have been named in the last 24 to 48 hours, but only a handful actually stand out from the crowd.

According to KSR's Matt Jones, Kentucky's list of preferred candidates – in order – is as follows:

  1. Dan Hurley (UConn)
  2. Scott Drew (Baylor)
  3. Billy Donovan (Chicago Bulls)

Jones adds that he would be “very surprised if it got past #2,” which Drew would be.

What we know about Hurley, Drew and Donovan

We start with Hurley, who is less than a full day away from winning his second straight national championship with UConn. Shortly after winning the title, he was asked about the Kentucky job and dismissed (or rather laughed at) the idea of ​​taking the Kentucky job, even telling The Athletic's Kyle Tucker that he “never entertained the idea.” case” would be considered.

But what else could he have said at that moment?

Hurley's contract with UConn currently pays him an average of $5.3 million per year. The UK could offer far more than that, although nothing has been published about an actual offer at the moment.

Drew has a longstanding relationship with athletic director Mitch Barnhart. His name was immediately mentioned as a leading candidate when it was clear that Calipari wanted to go somewhere else. And according to some reports, Kentucky already appears to be interested.

Shortly after Calipari announced that he would not be returning to UK, NJ.com's Adam Zagoria reported that Barnhart was “setting his sights” on Drew as the school's next head coach. Then Kentucky Today sports editor Keith Taylor, who has covered the Kentucky Beat since 1995, reported on it Kentucky had offered Drew the job.

However, Jones noted that he doesn't believe Drew has actually been made an offer – at least not yet.

Finally, Donovan, the current NBA head coach, told reporters before the Bulls' game against the New York Knicks on Tuesday night that he had not heard from Kentucky and was still committed to Chicago. That wasn't exactly a “no,” but considering the Bulls' season will extend into the postseason, the schedule may not be what Barnhart would like.

It definitely feels like this process is moving pretty quickly…