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Thank you, Bruiser Flint

Dontaie Allen is the MVP of the night for his performance in Kentucky’s win down in Starkville, but Bruiser Flint is a close second in the Most Valuable rankings.

Taking over for John Calipari as the head coach once Cal earned an ejection early in the second half, Flint stepped in and made the difficult but necessary decisions to put Kentucky in a position to win. It meant benching the team’s star, BJ Boston, with two minutes to go in regulation and leaving him there through two overtimes, and putting Isaiah Jackson in the seat next to him.

The result was a comeback victory, the first of the “new season.”

Would Calipari have done the same? Sit his McDonald’s All-American wing in a back-and-forth contest? Forgive me for being skeptical. He’s had plenty of chances to play Allen, and hasn’t. But I digress. This isn’t about John Calipari right now, it’s about Bruiser Flint because Flint found the winning rotation and the winning game plan of feeding Allen down the stretch. He picked the five Kentucky guys who were fighting the hardest and playing the best basketball in Humphrey Coliseum late Saturday night, and put his trust in them to finish the job, regardless of how many minutes they had played all season.

It couldn’t have been an easy call for Flint, who’s only been with the UK program a little over four months, but he got the job done and Big Blue Nation thanks him for it. Though still Calipari’s team, Cal’s righthand man is the Coach of the Night in this one, part of a collective effort from the entire staff to turn things around.

And to be fair to the guys who were on the bench, they were still very engaged and cheering on their teammates through it all.

A big night for the team chemistry moving forward, and maybe a new direction with the offense to create better looks for everyone.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

25 Comments for Thank you, Bruiser Flint

  1. Dave C
    11:04 pm January 2, 2021 Permalink


  2. JDid
    11:13 pm January 2, 2021 Permalink

    There are other coaches as well. One in particular has an interest in our PG, Askew. Kid’s talented. I like this kid. Coachable. The PG is the floor leader. QB on the court. Askew is good. Young. And – just the best and learning daily. I like this team.

  3. GoCatz
    11:33 pm January 2, 2021 Permalink

    If Cal coached that entire game, we don’t even make it to OT, much less win it.

    • Matt10
      7:29 am January 3, 2021 Permalink

      I turned to my wife as he got thrown out and said well they’ll start playing great now without Cal screaming at them non stop.
      I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun watching a game. Thank you Dontaie! The scoring was great but the kid made some game saving defensive plays, too.

      As an aside this is hands down the WORST website. Reloads constantly. Ads are awful and when I read a story and go back to the home page it takes me to the top instead of where I was.

    • JGo
      9:19 am January 3, 2021 Permalink

      Agree. The adds drive me to NOT even want to go to KSR for an update. Some times I just go to Score for the update

  4. Beaver_Fever
    11:46 pm January 2, 2021 Permalink

    Amen, Drew. If Clark was good to go tonight, Allen would have maybe seen the floor for 5 minutes . Dontaie might have made 1 or 2 threes in his limited time but Clark and Boston would have gotten the lion’s share of time. Cal had 7 games to give Allen a real look. Allen didn’t really get hot until the latter part of the second half and his defense was more than respectable.

    I don’t want to see Cal go but all of Cal’s weaknesses have been on full display this season. This game and more specifically the point from when Cal was ejected, is further proof that Cal’s approach to the game is outdated and he needs to change. Cal is too hardheaded and stuck in his ways. It looks like coach Flint has a better understanding of the players on this team and what this team needs to be successful. There is zero chance Cal sits Boston at the end of that game.

    • Bluehender
      8:39 am January 3, 2021 Permalink

      Well said Beav..

    • Cat68
      11:42 am January 3, 2021 Permalink

      Nailed it, Beaver!

  5. katmandue2you
    11:48 pm January 2, 2021 Permalink

    Drew it’s about a lot of things and I don’t think there’s any getting around that this is more about Johnny C. than anything. And for this reason….BBN has accepted cart blanc everything Cal has brought to OUR table and there have been negative hard to digest impacts to our storied program. He needs to modify his philosophy and this season and this game proves as much. I say Dontaie shows up at practice tomorrow with “EARNED NOT GIVEN” tattooed across his chest.

  6. katmandue2you
    11:53 pm January 2, 2021 Permalink

    And Boston is anything but our star certainly at this point. But I know what you mean.

  7. katmandue2you
    12:08 am January 3, 2021 Permalink

    But yes Drew, you’re point on with “Thank you Bruiser Flint”. And all these ignoramuses on here acting like we got no decent assistants.

  8. channell
    9:14 am January 3, 2021 Permalink

    Everyone knows had Cal not been ejected, Allen would not have had a career night. Notice what cal said. Allen has to be on the floor some and other guys will have to give up a few minutes. Are you kidding? Flint realize that Boston was not getting the job done and haven’t the entire year. So hopefully Cal will get more technicals and go to the dressing room more often. Thank you Bruiser for wanting to win this game and doing it.

  9. Vyce0789
    9:49 am January 3, 2021 Permalink

    Drew, great article.

  10. millertim
    10:47 am January 3, 2021 Permalink

    Good job Drew!! Glad some people in the media are starting to see the light and finally question Coach Cal’s “coaching philosophy” instead of being syncophants! Flint absolutely won this game with player personnel alone! Keeping Boston and Jackson on bench was key b/c they are offensive liabilities right now. Sarr, Ware and Toppin went to war. Jackson is a battler but has a long way to go in developing offensive moves. He’s a bone fide warrior on defense! BTW Coach Cal wasn’t wrong about Molinari carrying the ball, Sarr was horribly called for a block when Ado lowered his shoulder and charged into him.– like Richards, he gets a ton of horrible calls! BTW Coach Cal, COVID protocols greatly helped this young team on the road with fairly empty arenas— The Hump is a vicious environment when full. You whine and complain that you don’t have full capacity at Rupp, well it works both ways for your young players on the road…

    • catsby.5
      4:37 pm January 3, 2021 Permalink

      I agree with most of what you said, but Sarr is softer than toilet paper and has no reason to be praised. Secondly I’ve been to a few games at The Hump and it is not a “vicious environment,” it is a decent home court, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Bud Walton, Thompson-Boling, O-Dome, etc.

    • millertim
      5:16 pm January 3, 2021 Permalink

      Sarr scored some HUGE points down the stretch that got us into the first OT — put back of his first shot that tied the game up. Then he hit a HUGE 3 pointer at the start of the 2nd OT. He gets too many bad calls like the “blocking” foul against Ado. As far as the Hump is concerned, did you go there when UK played, cause I have and that place is TOUGH— only UK and Ole Miss garner that kind of atmosphere. The greater point was that COVID has shielded these young players in traditionally rough road environments with the limited fan capacity— that has worked for them. That was why Coach Cal wanted to keep the U of L game — he knew it would be a tame environment for his young team…

  11. catsfan1995
    11:48 am January 3, 2021 Permalink

    Drew is such a cal hater lol Cal sneezes the wrong way and Drew has subtle remarks about it

  12. jaws2
    12:00 pm January 3, 2021 Permalink

    Biggest difference was under 1:30 in the game. Cal, to his discredit, NEVER calls TO in that situation. ‘Let the kids play it out’. Bruiser knew those kids needed some direction and gave it to them; TWICE. Stubbornness can be a real detriment to success, and I’m not sure Cal is capable of changing. These kids work hard and deserve better from a guy making his kind of jack. I’m not a get rid of Cal fan, but he needs to adjust his game for this team to be successful here on out. He’ll destroy Allen’s career by holding him back.

  13. makeitstop
    12:31 pm January 3, 2021 Permalink

    Good points, Drew. I’ve been questioning why we even have Bruiser when Cal seemingly does all of the in game coaching… not his best skill. And no one was going to replace KP easily. But this is Bruiser’s best opportunity to carve out a role. SOMEONE has to have the trust of the kids, and frankly I don’t care who that is. It could be the ghost of Harry Lancaster speaking to them through the baskets at Memorial Coliseum for all I care. If Bruiser knows how to coach a zone, or a trapping press, it would be a nice addition. Cal can go back to speaking like a fortune cookie, and recruiting and CEO’ing and let someone coach these boys up.

  14. trumpetguy
    3:15 pm January 3, 2021 Permalink

    Texted a friend of mine in last minute of game plus both OTs. Took a set of stones by Bruiser to stick with personnel who were getting it done, not relying on # of stars or reputation. I too don’t believe Cal would have rode those guys out! Big win, and perhaps more importantly, an eye opening game concerning personnel. Coaches at all levels, in all sports, hate to make tough personnel decisions, but Bruiser to his credit did what needed to be done. Separate note: LOVED the enthusiasm and support shown by CamRon Fletcher. Been a tough couple weeks, but IMO, this kid has the makings of a player and one who wants to be a CAT!

  15. CatBlue in LR
    8:03 pm January 3, 2021 Permalink

    What I fear right now now is a massive overreaction that may mask persistent concerns. Before Cal left, we still had long offensive droughts (which Allen’s hot hand fixed, I get that), and pretty blah field-goal defense. And, again we missed way too many free throws. Good work on the boards, but the same old deficiencies in other areas. And, who’d we beat, again? The unbeaten, nationally 7th-ranked, clearly best team in the conference? No, that would be Tennessee. Well were they the 2nd best SEC team? 3rd best? I can think of at least six teams, not counting us, better right now than Miss. State. So, Curb Your Enthusiasm just a little.

    • Megan
      3:03 am January 4, 2021 Permalink

      Another basketball fan obsessed with missed free throws. So what’s a good percentage, 75 percent? We had 8 attempts. If we make 75 percent from the line, that’s 6 points. What did we end up with? 3 points. You’re complaining about 3 measly points! What exactly is your definition of “way too many”? How about focusing on something meaningful, like our half-court woes, shooting under 40 percent from inside the arc, shooting far too many jump shots, 18 damn turnovers?

      The problem isn’t how many free throws we missed. It’s how many we took! If we took only 4 free throws over the course of a game and made all of them, would we be happy? Hell no. Understand how the game is played. Even a bad percentage from the line is better than a good percentage from 2-point range. You want to get to the line as much as possible, and we failed miserably. Can’t keep doing it. The offense is struggling enough without having to make up for the lack of easy scoring opportunities. (Did I curb my enthusiasm there or what?)

  16. theweeze
    10:06 am January 4, 2021 Permalink

    It was nice watching coaches coach instead of screaming and stomping their feet at the players. Cal doing that the entire game is nauseating! Seeing Flint and the other coaches actually coaching and praising the players like coaches are supposed to was great to see. I too was amazed that Boston and Jackson were on the bench at the end but glad to see it as Boston has been kinda meh so far. I think Cal has tried to run the offense through this kid and it just doesn’t work. As for Sarr, since he has missed those last game winning shots he has played timid and unsure of himself. Having Sarr and Mintz as our only upperclassmen that are playing really hurts us. We really need to have some guys stick around for a couple seasons or more to give us that experience factor we had in Cals first five years here. Hopefully Fletcher, Ware and a few others stick around for a couple of years. Lord knows that all of them should.