When John Calipari came to the University of Kentucky, he brought with him one of the top recruiters and assistant coaches in the country with him. That mans name is Orlando Antigua. He was at Kentucky with Calipari for five seasons, helping to navigate a national championship, a runner-up, a final four, and an elite eight. After his recruiting success in Lexington, he was finally handed the reigns to a program of his own. Antigua took over the University of South Florida Bulls following the national championship game loss to Connecticut. This hire seems to be a perfect fit, and the folks over at 247sports seem to agree, as they ranked him as the fifth best hire this offseason. Check out what they had to say about the former Kentucky coach below.
5. Orlando Antigua, USF – The Bulls missed out on one former Kentucky Wildcat when Steve Masiello’s resume error came to light, so USF turned to a UK assistant coach. This may seem a bit high for someone with no previous college head coaching experience, but Antigua has worked the bench as the coach of the Dominican Republic National Team. He also has stops at Pitt and Memphis in addition to his time in Lexington, so he has had experience recruiting to several types of outposts. A New York native, Antigua has already proven his recruiting mettle at his new job by luring a couple Division I transfers to Tampa. Florida is fertile recruiting ground, and it shouldn’t be hard for a recruiter like Antigua to keep some kids at home or lure some other talented players to the Sunshine State. His staff, which includes former UK assistant and NBA point guard Rod Strickland, is also a big plus.
With Antigua’s proven track record on the recruiting trail, familiarity of his staff (with his brother and Rod Strickland), and his coaching track record with the Dominican National team, there seems to be no reason he cannot succeed in the fertile basketball hotbed that is Florida. There is no doubt in the minds of many that Orlando Antigua was the best assistant in college basketball and deserved to be a head coach. Well, now that his opportunity is here for Antigua, the media seems to think the same. Good luck to Coach O in your endeavors at USF. They got one great coach!