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March 31, 2014

Notes: UK's Antigua headed to South Florida

The Kentucky basketball team is moving on to the Final Four. When the postseason run ends, a Wildcat assistant coach will be moving on, too.

UK assistant Orlando Antigua has been named the head coach at South Florida and will be introduced at a news conference there on Tuesday.

"Based on what (Antigua has) done with the Dominican Republic National Team as their head coach and his work with our family over the last five years at Kentucky and one season at Memphis, I have the utmost confidence in him to lead this program to new heights," Kentucky had coach John Calipari said in a release. "My guess is they will do things that have never been done before at South Florida. We're all going to miss him and his family after we finish this run."

Antigua wasn't South Florida's first choice. The Bulls reached an agreement in principal with Manhattan coach Steve Masiello last week, but a background check found that the former Louisville assistant and UK basketball walk-on did not have a diploma from Kentucky. South Florida requires coaches to have a degree.

UNLV coach Dave Rice also was a candidate before signing a contract extension with the Rebels.

''I said from the beginning of this search, we were looking for a great leader, a great communicator, a proven record of being able to recruit and develop players, and someone who will represent USF with exceptional energy and integrity,'' USF athletic director Mark Harlan said in a release. ''We have found all of that and more in Orlando Antigua. He has tremendous passion and a unique and exciting background that includes being a key participant in one of the most successful recent runs in the college game.''

Antigua played at Pittsburgh and started his assistant coaching career there before joining Calipari as an assistant and Memphis, then Kentucky. He succeeded Calipari as head coach of the Dominican Republic national team. Antigua has a reputation as one of college basketball's best recruiting assistants.

"I have been preparing for the challenge of leading a program my entire life and I have a deep belief and passion that USF basketball can thrive," Antigua said in a release.

Cauley-Stein Doubtful
Kentucky will play in the Final Four with its full coaching staff, but likely not its full roster.

Willie Cauley-Stein, who missed most of Kentucky's Sweet 16 win against Louisville and all of Sunday's Elite Eight win against Michigan with an ankle injury, is unlikely to play when the Wildcats face Wisconsin in Saturday's national semifinal.

"I doubt he plays, and he will be on our bench cheering like crazy," Calipari said Monday on a national Final Four coaches teleconference.

Calipari has spent part of the time since Cauley-Stein was injured Friday reassuring the sophomore about his basketball future. Like Nerlens Noel, who tore his ACL last season at UK, Cauley-Stein has has seen his life and career "flash before" him, Calipari said.

"Willie, we're going to try to cover for you," Calipari said he told Cauley-Stein. "It's gonna be really hard. But let me say this: You personally, you've proven yourself. People know what you are. They know the impact you have on games. They know that you're a 7-foot guard. They know that now. So this is hurting our team? Yes. But we're gonna try to cover. You're fine."

Cauley-Stein's absence could be a significant factor in Saturday's game. On his radio show Monday, Calipari said Cauley-Stein would match up "perfectly" with Wisconsin star Frank Kaminsky.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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