Last week, Rick Barnes’ top assistant left his staff to pursue a head coaching opportunity. Now, that void has been filled.
Tennessee announced on Friday that Barnes has hired Kim English to his basketball staff at UT. It was reported earlier this week that the move was expected to be made, and now it’s official. Rob Lanier, Barnes’ top assistant both at Texas and Tennessee, left the Vols to take the head coaching job at Georgia State last week. While it’s not believed that English will take over the exact same role that Lanier had, he does fill the empty spot on Barnes’ bench.
English played for Missouri from 2008-12 and was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft. He appeared in 41 games with the Pistons and played briefly overseas as well before taking up coaching. He’s seen as one of the hottest names in the assistant coaching world of college basketball.
Since his playing days ended in 2015, English has served as an assistant coach at two previous stops before coming to Tennessee. He was hired on as an assistant at Tulsa in 2015 by his former head coach at Missouri, Frank Haith, and stayed there for two seasons. In 2017, English was hired as an assistant at Colorado and has been there the last two seasons. Colorado went 23-13 this past season and just missed out on the NCAA Tournament. The Buffalos ended up making a run in the NIT Tournament and made it to the quarterfinals.
In May of 2018, the NABC included English on its 2017-18 Under Armour 30-under-30 listing, which honored up-and-coming young collegiate coaches.
While at Colorado, English was credited with the development of 6-foot-7 forward/guard Tyler Bey and 6-foot guard McKinley Wright IV. Both Bey and Wright earned First-Team All-Pac-12 honors this past season, and Bey was named Pac-12 Most Improved Player as well. In his first year with Colorado, English was given credit for helping 6-foot-6 forward George King reach his potential. King set career-highs in multiple statistical categories as a senior and ended up being drafted by the Phoenix Suns with the 59th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Rick Barnes is a big believer in the young assistant coach who is now the newest member of his staff.
“Kim is outstanding,” Barnes said via a statement in a release. “When I coached against him, I loved his competitive fire. And when he got into coaching and I spent time with him on the road recruiting, I knew there was something special about him. He’s got tremendous energy and drive and is a great communicator. Our players will love working with him.
“He’s going to make a huge impact on our program, and I’m excited to welcome him and his wonderful wife and family to Knoxville.”
As a player for Missouri, English averaged 11.1 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 141 career games for the Tigers. At 6-foot-6, 200 pounds, English was a versatile athlete who shot 39.4 percent from three and 42.0 percent overall. He was the second leading scorer on the 2011-12 Missouri team that went 30-5 overall, won the Big 12 Tournament, and earned a No. 2 seed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
While he was still at Texas, Barnes coached against English. Barnes’ Texas squads faced off with English’s Missouri teams six times, and the Tigers went 5-1 against the Longhorns.
English turned 30 in September and hails from Baltimore, Maryland.
Right now, more movement is still possible on Rick Barnes’ staff at Tennessee. Desmond Oliver has been considered the favorite to land the head coaching position at Kennesaw State, but that deal has yet to come to fruition. If Oliver stays, he’ll likely take over Lanier’s spot as Barnes’ lead assistant. If he goes, though, then that will open up yet another place on Barnes’ staff.