LEXINGTON – The University of Kentucky men’s basketball program has elevated Joel Justus to special assistant to the head coach and Will Barton to director of basketball administration, head coach John Calipari announced Wednesday.
Justus served as the director of analytics during UK’s historic 38-1 season. He was responsible for analyzing player and team performance and utilizing various stats and data to help develop efficient strategies through video.
In his new role, Justus will continue to utilize analytics and evaluate the men’s basketball team through practice, film and meetings to provide feedback directly to Calipari and the staff outside of practice and competition. Justus will also scout future opponents, provide strategies to help advance the program and assist with special projects assigned by the head coach.
“Joel came in and did an outstanding job with our analytics last season,” Calipari said. “He showed a tremendous desire to get more involved and to help where needed. He became a valuable member of our staff and we are excited to give him even more responsibilities. He’s young, energetic and a great worker. He will do well in a position that’s been a great opportunity for a lot of our guys.”
Justus came to UK after serving as the head coach at Davidson Day High School in Davidson, N.C., beginning in 2012. In both years at the helm, he guided the Patriots to the Elite Eight in the state tournament.
“My first season in Lexington was an unbelievable experience,” Justus said. “I want to thank Coach Calipari and Mitch Barnhart for giving me the initial opportunity last season to come to Kentucky and now entrusting me with additional responsibilities to continue to make this program the gold standard in college basketball. I’m truly blessed to be in the position I’m in and excited to continue working with this staff.”
Prior to his time at Davidson Day, Justus served as the head boys’ basketball coach at Woodberry Forest School in Woodberry, Va., from 2008-12. During his time at Woodberry Forest, he guided his team to the Virginia Prep League regular season championship in 2010 while advancing to the Virginia Prep League championship game in consecutive years, a first in more than two decades for the school.
Justus also spent time in college basketball as an assistant coach at Elon University from 2004-08, where he helped guide the Phoenix to a Northern Division title in 2006 and the Southern Conference championship game in 2008.
A 2004 graduate of UNC Wilmington, Justus helped the Seahawks as a student-athlete capture two Colonial Athletic Association titles, make three postseason appearances (NIT in 2001; NCAAs in 2002 and 2003) and was team captain his senior season.
Barton has been named the director of basketball administration after serving as a team manager from 2010-14 and the assistant director of operations during the 2014-15 season. His new responsibilities will include assisting the associate athletic director for basketball operations with the day-to-day operations of the team, including budgetary matters, academics, travel, meals, ticketing and team managers. He will also assist with the direction, planning, organization and execution of men’s basketball camps and clinics, supervising student camp workers, hiring and supervising camp counselors and speakers, and coordinating all mass mailings for camps.
“Will has been with us for six seasons and has done a wonderful job,” Calipari said. “Will has done everything we’ve asked of him since we got here to Kentucky and is more than deserving of this opportunity. He’s one of those people who gets things done and has been so valuable to our day-to-day operations. We are thrilled to keep him in the family.”
Barton was previously responsible for assisting the coaches in practices, performing in-game duties such as assisting coaches with stats, preparing players pregame, and being responsible for various equipment. Barton has been a vital aide to UK’s summer camps, assisting in preparation, including transporting equipment and apparel, instructing participants on technique and skills, and camp retail management.
During his tenure as a manager with the program, Barton completed his bachelor’s degree from Kentucky in business administration marketing and recently added a master’s degree in sports leadership from the department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion.
“I want to thank Coach Calipari, Mitch Barnhart and all of the Kentucky basketball staff for giving me this opportunity,” Barton said. “These last six years have not only been a learning experience for me but a rewarding one. It’s been an unbelievable ride and I’m grateful to expand my role in what I believe is the best staff in the country.”