New UK women's assistant one of game's top recruiters, analysts say

jsmith3@herald-leader.comJune 2, 2014 

Logistical issues got in the way of Kentucky's new women's basketball assistant coach being formally announced until Monday.

But Adeniyi Amadou has been wearing UK blue for a few weeks now and quietly has had a hand in getting several big names to commit to the Cats already.

The former Dayton assistant coach is a game-changing hire for Coach Matthew Mitchell, coaches and recruiting analysts told the Herald-Leader on Monday.

"This guy is going to be for Kentucky recruiting what Calipari was to the men's side," said David Tapley, AAU coach for Kentucky Premier, which has sent several players UK's way in the past couple of years.

"He's extremely charismatic. He's a natural with kids unlike any other coach I've seen. Kids connect with him."

Amadou (pronounced AD-knee AHM-uh-doo), who got a two-year, $165,000-per-year contract from UK, was such a good recruiter at Dayton that he got some of the nation's top talent to consider playing there, including Bell County's Maci Morris.

Because of Amadou, "I really thought Maci was going to go to Dayton over Kentucky, Louisville and several other big-time programs," said Lewis Morris, whose daughter ultimately picked UK after being personally recruited by Mitchell.

Maci Morris was emotional when she finally had to tell Amadou she was heading to UK instead of Dayton because he had spent so much time with her family over the past few years.

"He is relentless as far as recruiting," said Lewis Morris, who is the boys' basketball coach at Bell County. "Sometimes I was like, 'What does that cat do? Does he not have a life?' But it never felt like he was harassing you. He's just very good."

The 31-year-old Amadou, who had been waiting for his work visa to be completed again with his home country of France, played a major role in UK landing top-100 prospect Morgan Rich of Allen County-Scottsville as well as 2016 Hoosier commitments Lindsey Corsaro, the nation's 26th-best player, and Sydney Shelton, No. 30 overall.

"(Amadou) can get in anybody's house," All-Star Girls Report analyst Bret McCormick said. "He's good on the phone with the kids and he's very honest, persistent and he works his (backside) off.

"He got kids at Dayton they should've never gotten really. He's just like that; he's a hard worker, a good guy."

Amadou has international ties and probably will help UK branch out globally as well, possibly even helping the Cats land Kansas State transfer Leticia Romero, who led the Wildcats in scoring as a freshman but wanted to transfer after the head coach was fired.

Romero, a native of Las Pamplas, Spain, has been trying to transfer since March and ended up in a public battle with KSU over her ability to leave.

"There's a good chance they could get that Romero kid everyone's been talking about," McCormick said on Monday afternoon.

And she won't be the last of the big names drawn to Kentucky because of Amadou, the analyst said.

"All I can tell you is you just wait and see," McCormick said. "He'll get whoever he wants pretty much. Not saying he'll get the top 2015 kids because some of them have already committed. ... But from now on in the other classes, he'll be able to get to whoever he wants to get to, I'd say."

UK's Mitchell is pleased Amadou is wearing blue and white on the recruiting trail now.

"He's made an immediate impact on our program and he will continue to make major contributions," Mitchell said in a release. "He has great ability to forge relationships and help players get better."

Stefanopoulos' contract details released

The Cats' other new assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, Christian Stefanopoulos, signed a two-year contract with UK worth $170,000 a year with several incentive clauses. Stefanopoulos, a former video coordinator at UK who came from Bucknell, was announced in early May and her deal was signed April 21.

Jennifer Smith: (859) 231-3241. Twitter: @jenheraldleader. Blog:

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