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Calipari Does NOT Like the Graduate Transfer Rule


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.

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

12 Comments for Calipari Does NOT Like the Graduate Transfer Rule

  1. lexfan
    9:54 pm March 8, 2016 Permalink

    “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?

    Talk out of both sides much Coach?

    • WeareBBN
      12:48 am March 9, 2016 Permalink

      not to mention almost every coach in the game, including Cal, has left a University and his players for what they thought was a better situation for them. Am sure some of them, most of them, probably promised the recruit they would be there the entire time. Is a BS statement Mr. Players First.

  2. ukbradstith
    9:55 pm March 8, 2016 Permalink

    Damion Lee wasn’t going to the tourney with Drexel. He’s good, not that good. After you’ve graduated from a program and spent 3-4 years there, you shouldn’t feel guilty about doing what’s best for you. Love cal but don’t agree with him on this one.

  3. LexJim
    10:04 pm March 8, 2016 Permalink

    I love Cal, I really do, but this is just a bit disingenuous. Does this mean we have to forfeit our 2012-13 victories? And does Julius Mays have to return his championship ring? Oh, wait, wrong program. But you get the idea. And if Alex decided he wants an Ivy League graduate degree and takes advantage of his medical redshirt wouldn’t Cal support his transfer?

  4. Dubowski
    10:06 pm March 8, 2016 Permalink

    I’m going to have to disagree with Coach on this one. Especially since Cal always preaches ‘players first’. This stance really doesn’t really put players first.

  5. Or if Bruiser could recruit he’s not 6-25.

  6. bluesyCat
    12:23 am March 9, 2016 Permalink

    Yeah…seriously doubt Lee would have taken that 6 win team to the tourney lol. It’s on bruiser for not keeping him and also the kid jus wanted more exposure for his future and maybe a shot in the NBA. Cal is wrong about this and it goes against his players first mantra

  7. cats paw
    8:10 am March 9, 2016 Permalink

    Just a scumbag and perfect for this fan base! Seriously, the most ignorant and classless fans in sports and they found their perfect leader! He is a complete sycophant!

    • meeksfor3
      8:21 am March 9, 2016 Permalink

      What are you 6 years old? You can’t have a conversation without name calling? Must be a true Loueyville Man. 🙂

      Now with that out of the way I think Coach Cal let his feelings for Bruiser get in the way on this one. First, if they were 6-25 this season they need a lot more than Damian Lee to get them to the NCAA tournament. He is good but he is no Steph Curry. Second, when you have taken a graduate transfer it comes off as sour grapes when you bash the rule.

    • Suffering Fools
      8:42 am March 9, 2016 Permalink

      Wrong page. The Pitino thread is down a ways.

  8. A_Blue_Wildcat
    12:33 pm March 9, 2016 Permalink

    I can somewhat see what Cal is saying here. While I disagree that Drexel would have made the tourney if they had Lee, they certainly would’ve been better which could’ve saved the coaches job. My main problem with the graduate transfer issue is that it opens the door up for coaches to recruit players from other teams. Like for example: Louisville played Drexel last year, Damion Lee lit them up and was looking like one of the best mid-major players in the country, Damion Lee then transfers to Louisville the next year. You can’t tell me that coaches on the Louisville staff didn’t contact Lee after that game and try to convince him to transfer. Recruiting is a pretty shady process as it is, but recruiting players from another college team is extremely unfair to the mid-major programs.