Realistic candidates Kentucky should target if John Calipari era comes to an end

The future of the John Calipari era at Kentucky is up in the air and if it ends, here are five realistic candidates that the Wildcats should target.

Mar 7, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan calls a time out
Mar 7, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan calls a time out / Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
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Jerome Tang

Kansas State

Many have speculated that Kentucky could target Scott Drew from Baylor as a possible Calipari replacement. However, that seems like a pipe dream given the roots that Drew has sown into the central Texas soil in 21 years on the job in Waco.

The next best thing to hiring Drew, then, would be targeting his long-time protegee, Jerome Tang. What's more, Tang might be looking for a new opportunity despite being at Kansas State for only two seasons.

This year, Tang's team disappointed and missed the NCAA Tournament before falling to Iowa in the first round of the N.I.T. Much of that was due to the Nae'Qwan Tomlin saga.

In December, the 6-foot-10 forward who averaged 10.4 PPG in 2022-23 was dismissed from the university after his involvement in a fight at a local sports bar. Without him, KSU was able to still go 19-14 overall and 8-10 in the rugged Big 12.

Of course, last season, Tang took an underdog Wildcat squad all the way to the Elite Eight. It was proof that he could squeeze the most out of a roster.

Though Tang doesn't have the pedigree that many Kentucky fans might want, he has an infectious personality that would quickly win over Wildcat Nation. What's more, he has the charisma to recruit at the highest levels in Lexington. That's why UK would be wise to consider Tang as a possible replacement.