After receiving scrutiny for years for employing a “one and done” style, John Calipari’s Louisville rival embraced a similar style in the 2015-16 season. Instead of using future NBA “one and dones,” Rick Pitino’s team was led by two graduate transfers, Trey Lewis of Cleveland State and Damion Lee of Drexel.
It just so happens that one of Calipari’s old friends, Bruiser Flint, is the head basketball coach of Drexel. Well, he was the head coach of Drexel. After 15 years at the Philadelphia university, Flint was let go after a 6-25 season. The season might have looked different if Flint had his best player back for one final year.
John Calipari was upset to hear of Flint’s dismissal. He first took to Twitter: “Bruiser Flint is my brother and a class act, He’s a great leader who will lead another program soon! #LaFamilia.” After that, he called Dick Jerardi of the Philadelphia Inquirer and left this voicemail:
“I’m hoping I get to talk to you, but the biggest issue is that you’re talking about a good man who’s great for that university, probably never told anyone no if they asked him to do something, loved Drexel, loves Philly, the same thing with the city of Philadelphia and our profession.
“But what happened was, the NCAA has a rule that a kid can leave a program like Drexel after being coached and molded for three years and go to another school without having to sit out. If (Damion) Lee is there, they’re in the NCAA Tournament. We’re not even talking in these terms, but that happened. It’s not about the school (Louisville) that took him. It’s about we let it happen.
“Understand, I’ve been in a dogfight to say this is ridiculous. We took a kid because I saw Duke did it. Even then, I was like it disgusts me that we’re doing this. The kid was going to go somewhere, so why don’t we take him?
“This is not only hurting there. It’s just bad for the business, bad for kids. It’s another thing the NCAA will say whatever they want to say. It’s not good for the game. It’s not good for these kids. And it caught Bru. Thanks.”
Calipari does bring up a good point: Damion Lee could have played in the NCAA Tournament if he stayed at Drexel.