LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky's Plan A is not an option.
Billy Donovan's decision to remain at Florida rather than take the vacant head coaching job at Kentucky leaves the field for Tubby Smith's replacement wide open, with names from all over the college basketball landscape finding their way into the rumor mill.
Texas coach Rick Barnes could be on athletic director Mitch
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo and Memphis coach John Calipari's names have also been mentioned.
Barnhart issued a statement on Thursday asking for patience during the hiring process.
Donovan, a former Kentucky assistant under Rick Pitino, was considered the school's first choice to take over college basketball's all-time winningest program. Donovan's ties to the school's Renaissance under Pitino and his up-tempo style of play made him an appealing pick for one of the nation's most ardent fan bases.
Barnhart received permission to talk to Donovan late Wednesday night, but by Thursday morning Donovan had decided to stay at the school where he's won back-to-back national championships.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)