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Bruiser Flint breaks down Wildcats; has high praise for Terrence Clarke

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Flint says John Calipari has talked about Terrence Clarke in the same manner as John Wall and Anthony Davis.

Terrence Clarke, Dontaie Allen UK Athletics

With the new college hoops season getting closer, the hype surrounding this year’s Kentucky basketball team continues to grow.

Today, new Kentucky assistant Bruiser Flint met with the media to break down the 2020-21 Wildcats, including some high prasie for five-star guard and top-10 recruit Terrence Clarke.

“Cal, when I used to talk to him, even before this, would talk about him (Clarke) in the same way to me as the John Walls and the Anthony Davises and things like that. So, he has that type of talent, but he’s still got a lot to learn. But, he’s a really, really talented player.”

However, Flint made sure to note that Clarke, like any true freshman, still has some bad habits developed in high school that John Calipari is working to break.

“Cal has been all over him (Clarke) about some of his habits, but he’s unbelievably talented. Great size. Puts it on the floor. Shoots it. But he’s a typical high school kid who has pretty much had his way. But you see it. Oozes with talent.”

Back in September, Flint said Clarke’s talent was “as good as you’re going it get.” It’s safe to say Clarke is becoming one of the most hyped recruits of the Calipari era.

Will we see the potential for greatness come to fruition this season?

Stay tuned.

Now, here is a recap of everything Flint said today via UK Athletics.

On his impressions of Lance Ware when he was recruiting him and his impressions now and how he’s grown …

“One, I think he’s gotten a lot better. Actually, a little bit taller also, too. I remember going to watch him as a junior and in the game, he shot all 3-point shots. So, I was like, this kid is losing his mind. But, one of the things you learn from recruiting him is he’s an unbelievable rebounder; what I call a tracker. He can go get balls. (If) the balls don’t come near him, he can go get balls out of his area. I think he’s taken to that. I think because of that, he’s becoming a much better player. Plus, he told me he’s think he’s grown at least an inch since his senior year of high school, so he’s gotten a little bit taller. I think he’s gotten a lot better. I would have to say I think he’s a lot better than I thought after seeing him in high school a couple of times when I was at Indiana.”

On how usual or unusual it is to see a guy like Ware take the lead he did in his senior year …

“One, I’ve known Rick Brunson. I recruited him when he was in high school. He went to Temple and played in the pros a long time, so I’ve known him for a very long time. He became his (Ware’s) high school coach, so I had a lot of conversations with him about Lance. And his thing was, ‘I’m going to get his game together.’ I’ve got to give Rick a little credit; he put the kid where he needed to be, which was go rebound the ball, play around the basket a little bit and helped him work on his skills. I think it’s paid off for him. Rick and I, we tease each other a lot because he didn’t go to UMass and he ended up going to Temple, but I said, ‘Once in your life maybe you did something for us because you could have come and played for us. Maybe you would have won some championships at UMass.’ But he did a great job with Lance making him understand what his game needs to be about. I think Rick did a great job with that.”

On his impressions of Dontaie Allen and how he can help this team …

“He can really shoot. Can really shoot. Can get it off quick. Playing against some really talented players, but the one thing he adds is he can shoot that ball and he gets it off quick. What Cal has really been complimenting him about it is he’s doing a good job of actually getting himself open, running to get balls to be able to shoot it. You never have enough shooters, and that’s the one thing he can do. And one thing I do like about his shooting is he gets it off pretty quick. So, that could be something he could really help us with.”

On the rest of Allen’s game and if there are other things he’s adequate in …

“Well, if he’s not adequate then he won’t be playing [laughs]. But I think everybody on the team has worked really hard. I know he’s coming off a knee injury, if I’m not mistaken. But the guys have said they think he’s really improved even from last year. So, if he keeps improving, he’ll have a chance to get out on the floor.”

On Terrence Clarke and the impressions he’s made on the coaches so far …

“Very talented. I mean, extremely, extremely talented. Versatility, I think that’s going to be one of his biggest things. I think you can almost put him on any position on the floor to play. Now, I’m not going to lie, Cal has been all over him about some of his habits, but he’s unbelievably talented. Great size. Puts it on the floor. Shoots it. But he’s a typical high school kid who has pretty much had his way. But you see it. Oozes with talent. Oozes with talent. Cal, when I used to talk to him, even before this, would talk about him in the same way to me as the John Walls and the Anthony Davises and things like that. So, he has that type of talent, but he’s still got a lot to learn. But, he’s a really, really talented player.”

On if he can elaborate on some of the bad habits Clarke needs to break …

“Typical kid in high school (who) dominated and would sometimes look over the little things. Got to take care of the small things. Anybody’s that’s been around Cal knows he sort of takes care of those types of things for you. So, he makes sure you look at those types of things. That’s why those guys become good players.”

On the shot blocking and defense potential of the team and if he would love all that praise this early if he were head coach …

“I don’t, but this is my first time being at Kentucky. I don’t know how it’s really gone in the past. But, the shot blocking is good. It’s tough around the rim. Isaiah Jackson and (Olivier) Sarr and then Lance, it’s not easy sledding around the basket. I know Cal is big on shot blocking. I know when you have a rim protector it takes away a lot of mistakes. I think we’ve got a couple of them, a few of them, so I can see why he’s excited about our rim protection this year and the guys who will be able to be out there to rim protect. Like I said, they erase a lot of mistakes and you see it in practice. If you go in there, and no matter who it is, guys can go get the ball.”

On what stands out about Kentucky’s program from others he’s been a part of …

“Well, one I’ve never been – I won’t say that I’ve never been – the only time that I’ve ever been in the situation like this was when I took over from UMass to Drexel, where I’ve never coached nobody that played the year before. I mean, pretty much you’ve got a brand-new team. That’s the one thing that sort of shocks me a little bit. You really have one player that you’re returning. I’ve never had that in my career no matter where I’ve been. Now, you’ve got to coach these guys. Usually when you have some guys returning, you have a couple of guys who help the young guys out, calm them down when they start getting a little silly and things like that. I think that, for me, has been the biggest adjustment. Like, man, pretty much everybody out here is absolutely brand new to the program and to college basketball itself. To me, that’s probably been the biggest thing. I talk to Cal about that all of the time. I said, ‘I don’t know how you do it.’ When you’re dealing with young kids, they get silly, they giggle, and all of those things like that and you’re dealing with that all of the time and you’ve got to put them together. I don’t care how talented they are, they’re still kids and they act like it sometimes. So, you’ve got to deal with that. I think that’s probably the biggest thing right there is how youthful the players are out there.”

On if he is surprised at how hands-on Calipari is coaching …

“Nah, I think you have to be that way when you have a young team. When you have young players, you’ve got to be hands-on. That’s how you break them of the habits he always talks about. If you’re not, they’re going to continue to do the things that they’ve been doing in the past, which aren’t always good. So, I think you have to be hands0on. I will say this though, I’ve asked those guys—you know, they’ve had young teams in the past. So, I’ve asked those guys how this team stacks up against the other teams in the past. They say this team has done an unbelievable job at picking things up. This has been one of their better groups in terms of that. So, I will say that. But, I think you have to be hands-on as the head coach when you’ve got a young team. If not, they’re going to continue the habits that can hurt you in the upcoming season.”

On where he fits in with the coaching staff following the departure of Kenny Payne who worked with the bigs …

“I mean, I work with the bigs. I think that one thing as a coach, I think that you should be able to work with everybody. If not, then you’re going to be limited in terms of your coaching. I mean, I work with the bigs, I work with the guards. I try to work with wherever I need to go. I think that’s what coaching is all about. I think that we do a good job with our big guys. Some of the things that they did in the past, they continue to do it. I’ve sat down with Tony (Barbee) a lot and we’ve talked about some of the stuff with the bigs. It is what it is. I don’t look at myself as being a bigs guy. I was a head coach for 20 years, so you’ve got to be able to run the whole thing. So, I don’t look at myself as being a big-guy coach or a guard coach. I think that limits you.”

On Olivier Sarr …

“One thing that I know about Cal is he loves post presence. He’s not a guy who likes to shoot 3s all of the time. I think Olivier gives you post presence. He gives you a chance to score the ball around the basket. He’s very highly skilled. He’s not just a back-to-the-basket player. He can play out on the floor. He can shoot 3s. So, offensively I think he gives you a big guy who can give you some versatility whether it’s around the basket or away from the basket. So, I think he’s very talented in that way. I think that he’s going to be a big deal. Like I said, I know for a fact that Cal likes to post the ball. As much as you shoot a ton of 3s in college basketball now a days, Cal believes that if you don’t have post presence, you’re a little bit of a fraud. So, we need that, and I think Olivier is going to give us that.”