LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky head coach John Calipari is pleased to announce the addition of former UK guard Wayne Turner to the 2010-11 men's basketball staff.
Turner, who is currently finishing his undergraduate degree at UK, will assist pre-, during and post-practice and primarily focus on working with UK's guards.
A newly installed NCAA rule allows returning former players who are working toward their undergraduate degree to be used as on-court staff. With that opportunity Turner, who was part of two national title teams at UK, will join a list of former Wildcats and Calipari assistants and former players who have returned to their schools to finish their degrees.
“I’m really excited to be back in school getting my degree and to have an opportunity to work with the basketball team,” Turner said. “Coach Cal is one of the best, if not the best coach in the world, and who better to learn from. I’m looking forward to the season and feel like I can give some great advice to the players.”
Turner finished his career as the NCAA’s all-time games played leader at 151. A member of Kentucky’s prestigious 1,000-point club (1,170), Turner earned All-SEC status his senior year (Coaches) and was named the 1998 NCAA Regional Most Outstanding Player as well as the SEC Tournament MVP that same season.
"I'm so happy to be able to bring back a player and person of Wayne's stature to our program," Coach Calipari said. "I've always tried to bring former players back to finish their degrees wherever I have been and I applaud the NCAA for this new rule. It's always been one of the pleasures of my career to bring people back to campus and finish their degrees and let them know their University hasn't forgotten about them.
"What's also neat is that we get to help guys like Wayne or Tony Delk or Scott Padgett - all guys who are members of our family - to get their start in coaching and help them pursue their next goals in life," Calipari said. "I've passed this information on to the NBA office and my contacts in the league so that players know this opportunity exists and is available if coaches will allow it on their staffs."
Calipari, who recruited Turner out of Boston's Beaver Country Day high school while coaching at UMass, said that he will be a valuable asset to the current team.
"Wayne will do a lot of work with our guys before and after practice, but there could be times when he needs to strap it on and jump in for practice," Coach Calipari said. "I used to be able to do that myself, but not anymore!
“It's funny, when I was recruiting him and I lost him to Kentucky, but I was okay with it because it was Kentucky! At that point, when UK or Duke or UNC wanted a kid, they got him," Coach Calipari recalled. "It's interesting to be on the other side of that now."