Head coach Bruiser Flint was fired from Drexel after winning only six games this season. Flint has been at Drexel for 15 years, has never made it to the NCAA tournament, and has missed the postseason 10 out of those 15 years. Flint went 6-25 this season, 11-19 last season and went 16-14 the year before that. Clearly things weren't working out, so he had to go.
Flint is a former assistant of John Calipari's when Cal was at UMass in the nineties. Flint took over for his mentor when Calipari took the job as the head coach of the New Jersey Nets. In his five seasons at UMass, Flint made it to two NCAA tournaments and one NIT. He took the job at Drexel in 2001 and now he is out of work. Maybe one could think that he's just not cut out to be a head coach.
After the news of his friend's firing, Cal took to twitter to support his longtime buddy:
Bruiser Flint is my brother and a class act, He's a great leader who will lead another program soon! #LaFamilia— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) March 7, 2016
Nothing wrong with taking up for your guy. Coaches do it all the time in this business and it's completely understandable. But the actions that Cal exhibited after this tweet is what leaves me with some questions for our coach.
In a voicemail left for Philadelphia sports writer Dick Jerardi, John Calipari went off on a rant about Bruiser Flint, former Drexel and UofL player Damion Lee, and how the "Done and One" system is bad for college basketball.
I understand that Cal is hurt for Flint and that he's defending his friend, but this smacks of hypocrisy. John Calipari's entire program is built on the concept of "Players First", the idea that whatever is best for the players is what is best for Kentucky basketball and college basketball. Is there anything more "Players First" than the "Done and One" rule?
Damion Lee completed his coursework at Drexel and earned his degree. He had one year left in his eligibility and the NCAA rules allow him to transfer to any school he desires without the penalty of sitting out a season. Lee opted to not stay at Drexel, a program that was going nowhere fast, to go to UofL, a team that looked primed to go to the NCAA tournament.
Little did Lee know when he committed that UofL would be banning itself from the postseason thanks to a former staff member paying for prostitutes for players and recruits, but hindsight is always 20/20 and that's not my point.
My point is that Damion Lee did everything asked of him and had a golden opportunity to go play basketball for a contender and he took it. He followed the rules as dictated by the NCAA and made the decision that is best for him.
Why is that any different than a super talented freshman opting to go to the NBA after one season at college? Does Damion Lee owe more to Drexel than Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Davis, or John Wall did to Kentucky?
And what makes it worse is that Cal accepted Julius Mays in 2012/2013, a grad transfer from Wright State. Calipari addresses that in his comments and claims it "disgusts him" that he took Mays. How would that make Julius feel hearing that from Calipari?
Should Calipari also be critical of the JUCO rule that allows players to transfer up to programs without sitting out a year? Does Mychal Mulder owe something to his former school?
I love John Calipari and I love what he has done for Kentucky. There is not one other coach in America that I would rather have right now. I defend almost everything he says and does. But in this instance, I think he is 100% wrong.
Again, I realize he is taking up for Bruiser, but he comes off sounding hypocritical of his own system and beliefs more so than angry at the NCAA.
Luckily, we have the SEC tournament and the NCAA tournament to focus on and this will all be forgotten in 48 hours. Now let's back to cheering on our 'Cats.