Texas basketball hires former SMU assistant KT Turner to replace Lucas

The Texas basketball program added even more to their coaching staff to replace Luke Yaklich and Jai Lucas this week with ex-SMU assistant KT Turner.

There was a lot of turnover on the coaching staff of the Texas basketball program throughout the offseason. Up to this point, the Texas men’s hoops program had lost former assistant Luke Yaklich and Jai Lucas. Yaklich left the Forty Acres to be the next Illinois-Chicago head men’s basketball coach, and Lucas joined the staff of head coach John Calipari with the Kentucky Wildcats.

But with that, Texas head coach Shaka Smart had to find answers to replace the lost Yaklich and Lucas on his coaching staff. And those replacements look to now be found, according to a report from 247Sports earlier in the week.

Smart reportedly replaced Yaklich and Lucas with former SMU Mustangs assistant coach KT Turner and the Longhorns director of basketball operations Cody Hatt. Turner was on staff with the SMU men’s basketball program for seven years. He saw multiple NBA players roll through SMU’s campus in Dallas during his time on staff. That list of NBA players includes point guard Shake Milton (Philadelphia 76ers), power forward Semi Ojeleye (Boston Celtics), and shooting guard/small forward Sterling Brown (Milwaukee Bucks).

Turner also coached with the Wichita State Shockers staff prior to landing with SMU’s hoops program. He’s a tenured college hoops coach, and could be a solid hire in terms of player development and recruiting for Smart.

The other part to the reshaping of the coaching staff for Smart was the promotion of Hatt. Hatt served five seasons on the Texas staff as the director of basketball operations. Prior to that, he was on staff as a graduate assistant with Smart during his time as head coach of the VCU Rams.

This report from 247Sports shows that Turner apparently turned down an initial offer from Smart to join the Longhorns staff, but he upped the offer north of $350,000. That got Turner to commit to making the switch to the Texas coaching staff in the end.

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Smart helped the Longhorns finish up the 2019-20 season (which ended prematurely in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic) with a record of 19-12. Their last game saw them fall short in the regular season finale at home at the hands of Oklahoma State Cowboys.

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