Wolfpack assistant coach Joel Justus leaves to join Ohio State basketball staff

The first person leaving the N.C. State basketball program after the Wolfpack’s Final Four run isn’t a player but a coach: assistant Joel Justus.

Ohio State announced Monday that Justus had been hired to be the associate head coach on head coach Jake Diebler’s staff.

Justus spent two years with Kevin Keatts at N.C. State as the Pack reached the NCAA Tournament in each season. The Wolfpack was beaten in the first round in 2023, but won the ACC Tournament this season then four straight NCAA games and the South Regional to advance to the Final Four before losing to Purdue.

Justus was a big part of the Pack’s first ACC title in 37 years and its first Final Four appearance since winning the national championship in 1983. He worked extensively with the Wolfpack guards, including D.J. Horne, who left Arizona State after last season to transfer to N.C. State and was the leading scorer this season.

Justus played college basketball at UNC Wilmington, was an assistant coach at Elon and then head coach at two high schools before going to Kentucky in 2014 and becoming one of coach John Calipari’s best recruiters. He was at Kentucky for seven seasons before leaving for a year at Arizona State and then coming to N.C. State.

Diebler was named interim head coach this past season and elevated to head coach March 17.