ARIZONA BASKETBALL

Arizona’s Tommy Lloyd mentioned as possible John Calipari replacement candidate at Kentucky

Apr 8, 2024, 11:51 AM | Updated: 12:12 pm

Tommy Lloyd...

Head coach Tommy Lloyd of the Arizona Wildcats looks on during practice ahead of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Delta Center on March 20, 2024 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Arizona Wildcats fans have reason to be triggered by the news that Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari could be departing for the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Arizona’s football team felt the third-degree impact of Nick Saban stepping down from Alabama just months ago. Then, it was a domino effect when the Crimson Tide hired head coach Kalen DeBoer away from Washington, who was subsequently replaced by then-Wildcats coach Jedd Fisch.

Calipari could make an SEC-to-SEC school jump, opening up one of the most prominent college basketball gigs for a new hire.

And Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd is at least mentioned as a replacement candidate on several lists across the internet.

Who thinks Tommy Lloyd could replace John Calipari as Kentucky head coach?

USA Today’s Dan Wolken has Lloyd among his “top tier” candidates to follow Calipari.

The numbers speak for themselves. In three seasons as a head coach, Lloyd is 88-20 at Arizona with two trips to the Sweet 16. And at age 49, he’s probably just getting started. Though he recently signed a new deal with the Wildcats, this is a bit of an unstable time at Arizona with school-wide budget issues, an upcoming conference change from the Pac-12 to the Big 12 and a new athletics director in Desiree Reed-Francois. Though it would cost a lot of buyout money to get Lloyd out of that deal – upwards of $12 million – it’s worth it if you think he’s the guy who can deliver championships.

Wolken lists Baylor coach Scott Drew, Auburn’s Bruce Pearl and Texas A&M’s Buzz Williams along with Lloyd in the tier of best candidates.

ESPN’s Jeff Borzello mentioned Lloyd under potential candidates but also explains why it might not happen.

He has been a West Coast guy all his life, and he also just signed a contract extension through 2029.

Lloyd isn’t on other lists

For The Courier-Journal, USA Today SEC columnist Blake Toppmeyer does not list the Wildcats’ Lloyd as a potential Calipari successor.

Toppmeyer instead names Houston’s Kelvin Sampson, Alabama’s Nate Oats, Illinois’ Brad Underwood, Pearl and the Chicago Bulls’ Billy Donovan as five candidates.

CBS Sports’ Cameron Salerno’s list includes Oats, Donovan, UConn’s Dan Hurley, BYU’s Mark Pope, St. John’s and former UK coach Rick Pitino and Drew as candidates.

Borzello likewise touches on Hurley, Donovan, Oats, Pearl, Pitino and Pope. He also mentions Xavier’s Sean Miller, who coached at Arizona from 2009-21, former Villanova coach Jay Wright and Iowa State’s T.J. Otzelberger.

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