Mikhail McLean Joins Kentucky Men’s Basketball Staff as Assistant Coach

The Kentucky men’s basketball team has made a significant addition to its coaching staff with the appointment of Mikhail McLean as an assistant coach. Head coach Mark Pope announced the hire on Friday, emphasizing McLean’s extensive experience and exceptional skill development capabilities.

Background and Experience

McLean (pronounced: MICK-hail MUH-clean) arrives at Kentucky after spending the past three seasons as an assistant coach at Lamar University. Under his guidance, the Lamar Cardinals saw steady improvement, culminating in a record-breaking 19-14 season in 2023-24. This marked the team’s most successful campaign in NCAA Division I since the 2011-12 season and their second best since 1987-88.

Endorsements and Praise

“Mikhail played and coached under Kelvin Sampson, one of the best, toughest, and smartest coaches in the game,” Coach Pope said. “His work with The Bahamian National Team and his college coaching experience have made him one of the hardest-working, detail-oriented, and top skill development coaches in the country. I’m excited to have him and his family join our staff. He’s going to make a massive impact on this program.”

McLean’s Reaction

Expressing his excitement, McLean said, “I am honored to be joining Coach Pope and the Kentucky men’s basketball staff. There is no better fan base to work for and chase championships with than this one. I would like to thank Coach Pope and Mitch Barnhart for this opportunity. My family and I are thrilled to be joining the Lexington community, and I can’t wait to get to work.”

Achievements at Lamar

At Lamar, McLean played a key role in the Cardinals’ success. He served as the team’s offensive coordinator and was responsible for on-court player development with the guards and wings. Under his leadership, the Cardinals led the Southland Conference in scoring, and standout guard Chris Pryor earned National Association of Basketball Coaches All-District honors.

International Experience

In addition to his collegiate coaching career, McLean is deeply involved with the Bahamian National Team as the associate head coach and defensive coordinator. The team made history in 2023 by defeating Argentina twice during the Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament and securing a place in the final qualifying tournament for the 2024 Olympics.

Coaching Journey

McLean, a native of The Bahamas, was a standout player at Houston, where he was a four-year letterwinner and team captain. He later joined the Houston coaching staff, where he held roles as a graduate assistant and assistant director of player development. During his tenure, Houston won consecutive American Athletic Conference titles and made significant NCAA Tournament runs, including a trip to the 2021 Final Four.

Player Development

At Houston, McLean was instrumental in player development and opponent scouting, working with three NBA Draft selections: Marcus Sasser, Quentin Grimes, and Damyean Dotson. His efforts helped the Cougars advance to the Sweet 16 in his final two seasons with the program.

Personal Life

McLean and his wife, Arrion, have three sons: Mikhail Jr., Amari, and Kai. The family is looking forward to their new chapter in Lexington.

With Mikhail McLean joining the staff, Kentucky men’s basketball is poised to benefit from his rich coaching experience, both at the collegiate and international levels. His track record of player development and success on the court aligns perfectly with the program’s goals, promising an exciting future for the Wildcats.

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