Well, we got some unfortunate news this morning, as Kenny Payne, long-time assistant for the Kentucky Wildcats, will be leaving for the assistant coach job for the New York Knicks.
It’s a massive blow for Kentucky, as KP had been one of the driving forces behind Kentucky’s massive success in the past ten seasons. KP was beloved by every player that had walked through the program since 2009, and was a force on the recruiting trail, being one of the best in the game.
Bruiser Flint, a long-time friend of John Calipari, will be the man charged with the task of replacing Payne. It’s no easy task, but I am eager to see the job that Flint will do in Lexington.
Let’s see what social media had to say about the duel announcements:
Welcome to The Mecca, Coach Payne! #NewYorkForever— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) August 11, 2020
For the full press release, head to: https://t.co/Vmnbj2oWmW pic.twitter.com/MlE9HXda52
Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat pic.twitter.com/XfGTvcXLTI— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) August 11, 2020
This is a bittersweet day for us at @KentuckyMBB. Kenny has been an extremely important part of our success here. His relationship with our players is second to none. https://t.co/dLv1gMAkNN— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) August 11, 2020
The New York Knicks have hired Kentucky associate head coach Kenny Payne as an assistant coach, sources tell ESPN. Payne is the first formal addition to new coach Tom Thibodeau’s staff with the Knicks.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 11, 2020
Go @nyknicks? pic.twitter.com/HlSzl9u4qh— Drew Franklin (@DrewFranklinKSR) August 11, 2020
Kenny Payne has been a huge part of UK’s success in the Calipari era. Maybe the best Assistant Coach in America— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) August 11, 2020
Also a great guy and I wish him nothing but success with the Knicks. He will be a terrific addition for them
Wow, what a great birthday surprise.....Congratulations Coach KP! Welcome to the Knicks Family.— Kev (@KevKnox) August 11, 2020
kenny was working the phones recruiting just yesterday for UK even though this deal been done. could’ve thrown in the towel weeks ago. respect. https://t.co/GGv4daC5kD— Reese Holliday (@TMCvision) August 11, 2020
This is @KarlTowns on Kenny Payne (via @TheAthletic): “KP is one of the best development coaches in the world. KP is the horse beneath the jockey driving Kentucky basketball.” #Knicks https://t.co/M0Xnfn4EPa— Alan Hahn (@alanhahn) August 11, 2020
My favorite memory of Kenny Payne was at the EYBL in Indianapolis. I found a shortcut from the gym to the parking lot but you had to climb through a very small hole in a fence. I'll never forget watching Kenny, who is a giant man, climb through. Definitely a good laugh.— Shawn Smith (@gbbcountry) August 11, 2020
Congrats KP we are going to miss you and all the great talks Knicks just got better! https://t.co/6EhMHEQx9v— Keion Brooks (@keion_brooks) August 11, 2020
Nothing but love for KP. One of the realest in the game! https://t.co/BRTNTFCFg2— Jarred Vanderbilt (@JVando) August 11, 2020
Kenny Payne's coaching impact at UK can easily be summed up by looking at Nick Richards' stats. pic.twitter.com/bybAr5Cbbh— Nick Roush (@RoushKSR) August 11, 2020
KENNY PAYNE gave me a chance of a lifetime!!! Thanks for everything KP!!! GoodLuck at the next LEVEL!— Twany (@TwanyBeckham11) August 11, 2020
Truth be told, Kentucky was lucky to ever have Kenny Payne on staff and have him for an entire decade. Guys like him don't stick around the same assistant job for so long.— Jason Marcum (@marcum89) August 11, 2020
The #BBN will miss you!— Kentucky Athletics (@UKAthletics) August 11, 2020
Thanks for so many unforgettable @KentuckyMBB memories, Coach Kenny Payne. Good luck with your future endeavors in the @NBA with the @nyknicks! #LaFamilia pic.twitter.com/YBa907cXBg
Sources: Indiana assistant Bruiser Flint will join John Calipari's staff at Kentucky as an assistant coach.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) August 11, 2020
Official announcement expected soon.
Bruiser Flint’s Wiki page has already been updated to include UK pic.twitter.com/JTTvL0zjBZ— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) August 11, 2020
Just to echo other reports, I've confirmed that it's Bruiser Flint replacing Kenny Payne at Kentucky.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) August 11, 2020
Flint absolutely fills the role of trusted confidant. He and Calipari are best friends who talk almost daily. Calipari's connection to the Millers got Bruiser the IU job.
It is. It was nice of Cal to reward Bruiser, who was instrumental in getting him the players, who put him on the national map at UMass, which led to the Nets’ job. Antigua would’ve been the more feared recruiter, but Bruiser, with proper resources, is an effective recruiter. https://t.co/E5fuGzZcI7— Andrew Slater (@Andrew__Slater) August 11, 2020
Of note: Bruiser was a big part of the recruitment of top-10 prospect Romeo Langford to Indiana. And there's a lot in this piece about his developmental work with the IU forwards and his attention to defense. https://t.co/CDKy78yrf5— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) August 11, 2020
Just spoke with @JonRothstein about the Bruiser Flint hire. He seems to believe Kentucky's staff is on another level in terms of coaching defense, between Calipari, Flint, and Barbee and their histories.— Justin Rowland (@RowlandRIVALS) August 11, 2020
Bruiser Flint loved coaching in the @B1GMBBall. He will miss it. He fell for the league. And was a huge asset for @IndianaMBB and Archie Miller. But reuniting with @UKCoachCalipari makes too much sense. Home run hire for Cal to replace Kenny Payne on his staff. The 90's are back!— Andy Katz (@TheAndyKatz) August 11, 2020
As @JonRothstein reported, Indiana assistant Bruiser Flint will fill the vacancy on John Calipari’s staff at Kentucky. Bruiser and Cal obviously go WAY back. Bruiser worked for Cal at UMass, then replaced him as the Minutemen’s head coach when Cal left UMass for the Nets in 1996.— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) August 11, 2020
Yes. a win win for @nyknicks & @KentuckyMBB will still prosper . Look for Bruiser Flint to arrive in Lexington .— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) August 11, 2020
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