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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Mark Pope

BYU

If Kentucky wants to win while also playing an exciting brand of basketball, then former Wildcat player Mark Pope would be an intriguing option. Sure, he isn't a huge name in the coaching world yet but he is a candidate on the rise.

All Pope has done as head coach at BYU is win. He's put together four 20-win seasons in five years on the job in Provo and this year, he took a BYU team projected to finish 13th out of 14 teams in the Big 12 preseason poll, to a tie for fifth at 10-8 in conference play.

Of course, his team's early exit from the NCAA Tournament would be a sticking point for some Kentucky fans. This year, BYU was upset as a No. 6 seed by No. 11 Duquesne in the first round so many might argue that he is no better prepared to lead the Wildcats deep into the tournament than Calapri is.

However, Pope would bring to Lexington something that Coach Cal doesn't, an innovative offense. This year, his up-tempo Cougars played a five-out scheme that asked them to take 32 shots from beyond the arc per game, most in the nation.

If Pope's team could score 81.4 points per game with average talent in Provo, imagine what he could do with the All-Americans that he would have to work with at UK. That's why this Kentucky alum should get a look from his alma mater.