Being in the coaching business for 30 years – including 20 as a head coach – an individual like new Kentucky assistant coach Bruiser Flint has been around basketball talent in his time.
Ranging from his time at the University of Massachusetts – he was instrumental in the development of Marcus Camby, the 1996 NABC and Naismith Trophy National Player of the Year – to his time at Indiana – he coached McDonald’s All-Americans in Romeo Langford and Trayce Jackson-Davis – Flint has recruited, coached, and developed high-profile athletes at every stop along the way. As he makes his transition to Kentucky, the elite talent is only going to pick up.
Luckily for Flint, the new UK assistant coach is familiar with the current 2020-21 roster after recruiting several of the players during his time at Indiana.
“I know a few guys that I tried to recruit. Lance Ware, Isaiah Jackson, Keion (Brooks Jr.), Terrence Clarke. So I’ve watched them a little bit,” Flint told the Kentucky media on Wednesday. “I’ve watched BJ Boston a little bit and a couple of guys in AAU but not closely. But those guys I tried to recruit a little bit so I’ve watched them pretty closely. They’re long and athletic, good skill level, so I know a little bit about them.”
When asked specifically about individual players, Flint pointed out two in particular he is excited to coach.
The first? Terrence Clarke, who he plans on taking an “old school” approach with on the court.
In terms of pure talent and star power, Clarke has it, but Flint wants him to back it up with production.
“A big guard. A big guard who can do a little bit everything,” Flint said of Clarke. “Unbelievable versatility. Shoots it. Puts it on the floor and can almost play the point. I mean, that’s one of the reasons he was ranked as high as he was. I mean, in terms of versatility, there wasn’t many as good as him in the country. You saw it. You watched him, he could do a little bit everything. So, when I look at him. I just see his versatility and what he can do on the floor.
“I’m sort of old school though. I’m a guy that believes that, you know, it’s a little different level so you’ve got to prove it. But in terms of his talent, I think his talent is as good as you’re going to get.”
The next was a player he lost in a head-to-head matchup with Kentucky on the recruiting trail at Indiana: Keion Brooks Jr.
After missing out on coaching him the first time around, Flint is looking forward to finally getting his hands on the former five-star forward out of Fort Wayne, IN.
“Well, great kid. So, I mean, in recruiting him, he was one of the nicest kids you will ever be around,” Flint said of Brooks. “I thought he had an unbelievable work ethic. And Cal has talked about him because I used to always ask about him — not just to Cal but to Tony and the guys on the staff – how Keion is doing because, you know, we did recruit him pretty hard. I don’t think he’ll have a problem taking up a leadership role just because the type of kid and how hard he works. And I think he wants it.
“I think that’s the most important thing right there so I’m looking forward. His mom and his dad hit me up when they heard I was coming and they talked about how excited they were having enjoyed when I tried to recruit him at Indiana. … So, he’s a great kid and I’m sure he’s going to have a good year. Cal said he really worked hard and looking forward to coaching him this year.”