Class of 2025 four-star SF shares thoughts on Kentucky Coach Mark Pope

Recruits are loving Mark Pope's energy.
University of Kentucky’s new men’s basketball coach Mark Pope applauds as Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart introduces him to the thousands of fans in Rupp Arena for his press conference on Sunday, April 14, 2024.
University of Kentucky’s new men’s basketball coach Mark Pope applauds as Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart introduces him to the thousands of fans in Rupp Arena for his press conference on Sunday, April 14, 2024. / Clare Grant/Courier Journal / USA TODAY
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When Mitch Barnhart hired Mark Pope to be Kentucky's next head basketball coach, it was well known that he was elite when it came to X's and O's. The question about Coach Pope was whether or not he would be able to recruit some of the elite five-star players Kentucky fans have come a custom to over the last decade.

Coach Pope blew the transfer portal out of the water and is now focusing on starting to recruit the 2025 class.

One player who Coach Pope and the staff are after is four-star small forward Tounde Yessoufou. Coach Pope met up with Yessoufou this weekend, and he played well at the NBPA Top 100 Camp, where he was even listed as a top performer.

Yessoufou told On3's Jamie Shaw this about Coach Pope, "Right away when I talked to Coach Pope, I saw that he has a lot of energy. I mean I like him a lot, and he has the experience. He used to be a Kentucky player and in the NBA."

Hearing from recruits, it is clear that Coach Pope is doing a good job of building relationships, which is such an important part of recruiting high school players.

It wouldn't come as a surprise if, in his first class at Kentucky, Coach Pope brings in a few highly ranked players to play in Rupp Arena two seasons from now.

If Coach Pope can prove to be an elite recruiter on top of the elite X's and O's coach, he is known to be the college basketball world needs to watch out.


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Andrew Stefaniak

ANDREW STEFANIAK