Pope: First week at UK has been ‘whirlwind of awesomeness’

Published 1:49 pm Monday, April 22, 2024

A week after he replaced John Calipari at Kentucky, Mark Pope made his first post on social media, his first on the “X” platform since Feb. 10.

“One week ago, the Pope girls and I came home to UK to start the greatest adventure of our lives,” he said. “ It has been a whirlwind of awesomeness — that’s what Kentucky basketball is! It’s the pinnacle of basketball.”

Pope has spent the past seven days assembling a staff, one that is likely to feature one of his former BYU assistant coaches Cody Fueger, along with Jason Hart and former Georgia head coach Mark Fox. Fox gave Pope his first job as a coach at the collegiate level when the two were at Georgia.

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The Kentucky coach also has been on the recruiting staff assembling his first team. Every player from last year’s squad has entered the transfer portal or declared for the NBA Draft. Reed Sheppard declared for the draft, while Jordan Burks entered the portal this week, leaving the roster completely depleted.

“We are immersed in the work,” Pope said. “We will be relentless. We know the assignment! We will all do this together. Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude. We are home.”

In his post, Pope added, “on this scared Sunday morning, I am also filled with immense gratitude for the blessings that have led us here,” and he reflected on his tenure at BYU.

“BYU will always be an incredibly special place to our family,” he said. “Soon after we arrived at BYU, one mentor told me that ‘BYU had more to offer me than I had to offer BYU.’ Those words proved to be so true as we felt the BYU experience change our lives for the better. It’s overwhelming to reflect on the countless lifelong friendships that we forged at BYU. We are so grateful”

At the end of his message, Pope said, “I’m a believer. I believe God’s plans for our lives are way bigger than our own. Happy Sunday BBN! Let’s Go.”


Reports: Former Drexel star coming to Kentucky


Former Drexel defensive dynamo Amari Williams is transferring to Kentucky, according to multiple reports. ESPN’s Jeff Borzello was first to report the news.

In the 2023-24 season, the 6-foot-10 forward from England averaged 12 points, eight rebounds and two blocks per game. Williams was also named the Colonial Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year for the third straight season, making him the first three-peat winner in the award’s history.