Marquis Estill returning to Kentucky as an undergraduate assistant

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Marquis Estill left the University of Kentucky after three seasons having scored 936 points and helping the Wildcats win two SEC championships.

But thanks to an NCAA rule he’s able to return to school to earn the one thing he didn’t get while also picking up some valuable coaching experience.

The school announced on Thursday that Estill will be joining John Calipari’s staff as an undergraduate assistant, which allows him to coach while working towards his bachelor’s degree.

Estill will be able to work as an on-court coach, assisting the team before, during and after practices with most of his work being with the Wildcats’ front court players (obviously, since he’s 6-9).

“I’m really excited about joining the staff this season,” Estill said in a statement released by the school.

“I’m very grateful that Coach Cal is giving me this opportunity. He is a great coach, and I look forward to working with him and this talented team.”

Given the youth inside for Kentucky, the addition of Estill can pay dividends not just from a skill standpoint but also in regards to understanding what comes with playing for such a high-profile program.

This should benefit freshmen Willie Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress, not to mention sophomore Kyle Wiltjer who is currently taking part in Canada’s senior national team camp.

But even more important than getting involved in coaching for Estill is the opportunity to finish up his studies, something that other past Wildcats have been able to do during Calipari’s tenure in Lexington.

“I am so happy to bring back Marquis as an undergraduate assistant on our staff,” Calipari said in the statement. “One thing I always tell our players is that they are always welcome back here, especially to get their degree.

“This is a players-first program, and we will always be here for them in whatever capacity they need. I applaud Marquis for coming back to finish his degree, and I encourage all of our former players to do the same.

“It’s great that we get to help guys like Marquis or Wayne (Turner) or Tony Delk or Scott Padgett – all guys who are members of our family – to get a start in coaching and help them pursue their goals.”

Photo credit: Gary Landers/Cincinnati Enquirer

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.