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TIMELINE: The late-game drama with Calipari, Fletcher, and Clarke

At this exact moment 48 hours ago, Kentucky was leading North Carolina by four at half and finally had some momentum going its way. Two days later, it feels like the wheels are falling spectacularly off the wagon. Not only are the Cats 1-5 for the first time since the 1926-27 season, John Calipari announced this morning that he has asked freshman Cam’Ron Fletcher to step away from the program to “reflect and do some soul searching to get his priorities in order.” Not great, Bob.

We may never know what happened in the locker room after the North Carolina loss, but it must have been bad if not a single active player, including seniors Olivier Sarr and Davion Mintz, was willing to do the postgame Zoom. Keion Brooks gamely stepped to the plate, but even he hinted that things weren’t going well, telling reporters, “stuff is hard, especially with what’s going on in the world, it’s tough.” When Calipari appeared on the Zoom, he looked a million years old, a ghost in front of UK’s bright virtual background. Instead of sticking to his usual talking points, Cal was sullen and honest, expressing his disappointment in this team’s start.

In reviewing the tape, it seems the drama started with about two minutes left.

3:19 – Fletcher comes out of the game

Fletcher only played three minutes vs. UNC, just over one in the second half. He came out of the game after a foul on Terrence Clarke, with Davion Mintz taking his place in the lineup.

2:33 – Team clapping after Askew scores

Fletcher (just under the net) applauds Devin Askew’s bucket with the rest of the team.

2:01 – Fletcher crying on the sidelines

UK strength coach Rob Harris holds a towel to his face and consoles him.

1:13 – Fletcher still on sidelines

1:09: Clarke fouls out

Clarke walks to the bench and there does not appear to be any drama. From the angle, you can’t see if Fletcher is still on the sideline or not.

1:02 – Fletcher not on bench

1:01 – Clarke notices Fletcher missing, mouths, “Cam left?”

Lots going on in this clip. Not only is Clarke surprised and unhappy that Fletcher went to the locker room, Calipari did not like his reaction.

59.9 – Cal talks to Clarke, points to locker room

While Askew is shooting his free throw, Calipari speaks to Clarke and then points to the locker room while Lance Ware tries to intervene. Is Cal sending Clarke to the locker room or just saying that is where Fletcher is?

43.4 – Ware consoles Clarke on the sideline

Clarke stayed on the bench, with Ware patting him on the shoulder.

27.6 – Ware talking to Clarke on the bench

I think we can all read Clarke’s lips there.

13.1 – Cal’s reaction says it all

All Cal can do is shake his head after looking up at the scoreboard.

4:22 p.m. – End of game

Kentucky heads to the locker room.

4:43 p.m. – Keion Brooks appears on postgame Zoom

Brooks, who hasn’t played all season due to injury, is the one to address the media on the postgame Zoom. When asked why, he gave this response:

“Because I’m one of the leaders of our team. My guys didn’t feel like they were up to it. They didn’t want to do it so I’ll take it on. I’m not going to put them out here in this vulnerable situation where emotions are high and you know, you never know what could go on, so I went out here and I’m just defending my teammates.”

4:55 p.m. – Calipari appears on postgame Zoom

Calipari said he was proud of Brooks for stepping up to talk to the media, but disappointed in his team for their performance in the final ten minutes.

“Well, you’re talking about guys that are going through stuff that’s really, really hard for them: to take responsibility, to own their performance, to accept where they are on the team. There’s a lot of stuff and he (Brooks), I guess Eric (Lindsey) said he just said, ‘Look, I’m going to do the media.’ I was kind of proud of him that he would step up and face the music, and he didn’t even play. I’m just so disappointed, especially with the last 10 minutes of the game. I’m just so disappointed.”

He had this to say when asked about Fletcher’s emotions at the end of the game:

“Again, you’ve got to accept your position on this team. Whatever minutes you get, and Cam (Fletcher) was mad he didn’t play more. I’m like, ‘Guys in front of you are playing.’ Lance (Ware) played out of his mind. I thought Devin (Askew) played better. Cam came in and apologized after. They don’t understand that with four minutes to go in the game we had a chance to win the game and you cop an attitude. It’s the immaturity of that.”


11:53 a.m. – Fletcher apologizes on Twitter. 

Approximately 2:30 p.m. – Fletcher spotted (and heard) at Bluegrass Airport

A source tells Drew Franklin that Fletcher was at Bluegrass Airport yesterday afternoon. Before he boarded his flight to St. Louis, he was heard voicing his frustrations with the team on the phone.


11:35 a.m. – John Calipari announces he asked Fletcher to step away.

From @UKCoachCalipari:

We have asked Cam Fletcher to take some time and step away from the team. He needs to reflect and do some soul searching to get his priorities in order. Any attitude or actions that are detrimental to this team will not be tolerated – and that goes for everyone on the team.

We have a culture here that’s been built over the last 11 years AND IT WILL NOT CHANGE. Through good times and bad, this culture is meant to change individuals and change maturity levels. This hurts our team, but this is about Cam and his future.

I talked to Cam and his mother and they know I care about him and I love him, but they also understand that there are changes that need to be made. It’s his job to decide whether he can perform within this culture both on and off the court.


2:01 p.m. – Kentucky beats Louisville


Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

44 Comments for TIMELINE: The late-game drama with Calipari, Fletcher, and Clarke

  1. Blueballz
    3:05 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

    Swaggy Cal

    • Cletis75
      4:26 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

      What I was thinking. He hasn’t changed the way he coaches. He has always put the guys out there that give their best. He has put 5 stars on the bench for 4 stars. He gives players goals to reach throughout the season. If you are not reaching those goals, you aren’t going to play. If you show maturity and meet those expectations you do play. SGA was one of the lowest ranked recruits in his team class, but he met the goals placed on him and became the leader of the team. There’s a method to the madness. Look at Jorts. He couldn’t hang onto a pass for 3 years. At camp Cal his last year, he found his game. Boom! Introduces himself to the world against Louisville in a game a lot of people were worried about. He became the difference in an early exit, if we made the tournament, to being key in a final 4 run.

    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      12:29 pm December 22, 2020 Permalink

      I disagree somewhat Cletis. I think he has a MUCH shorter leash for guys who come in known as 3 point shooters and not as athletic. Granted, if you’re a 3 point shooter but can’t defend, and you’re not making shots, you’re not adding to the team. The thing is, he yanks those guys when a lot of the 5 star uber-athletic guys also aren’t adding to the team.

      Shay was just flat out outplaying Quade. I don’t think that’s comparable to what has gone on with Baker & Juzang. Baker had actually turned into a decent defender (Cal said so himself), but Cal yanked him for committing 1 dumb foul in the elite 8 game and didn’t put him back in. According to 1 comment the other day, Cal yelled “I CAN’T PLAY YOU!” when he sat him down. That was stupid IMO. We needed more shooting in that game (just like practically every tourney game we’ve lost…outside shooting has been a problem). Sit him for a while, maybe even the rest of the 1st half, but put him back in during the 2nd half.

  2. lexslamman
    3:08 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

    Really stretching for clicks by reporting the exact same stuff five different times. It’s like you don’t respect your audience.

    • ukkatzfan
      3:21 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

      This article looks like a complete overview of what has been seen since last few minutes of the game. “Stretching for clicks”, how dare a website do that. Hoping others don’t fall for it like me and you fell for it. Lex’s lame man ?

  3. 2andToodleLoo
    3:16 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

    I’m still waiting for someone to ask Cal directly why Keion Brooks isn’t playing. Or maybe he’s been asked and no one is reporting it. Hell – Brooks did the postgame – did anyone ask him directly why he’s not playing? Seems like a Tipton question perhaps.

    • Brutal Hustler
      3:23 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

      He has answered it and it has been reported multiple times. Keion is still not ready to return from his injury. He’s answered that multiple times. Maybe he’s still too hurt, maybe he’s not in game shape since he missed all of the shortened preseason, bottom line is he isn’t ready yet

    • itsfootballtimeinthebluegrass
      1:08 am December 22, 2020 Permalink

      No one knows what the injury is. Did you miss that? Lol

  4. 206Bones
    3:23 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

    Maybe is taking a cue from Biden

    • makeitstop
      6:29 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

      Maybe we could play the games outside and people who still like us could drive around in circles and honk?

  5. DC Cat
    3:32 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

    What exactly did Clarke mouth? I guess I’m bad at lip-reading…

    • Bluehender
      4:06 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

      It kinda looked like bull doo doo…

    • 4everUKBlue
      4:26 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

      I caught the bull part but missed the doo doo part….

    • Bluehender
      4:28 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

      Mighta been $hit..

    • ClutchCargo
      4:50 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink


  6. DoubleB65
    3:37 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

    What a train wreck. However, it’s been coming for years. Cal recruited these kids. He has no one to blame but himself.

  7. theweeze
    3:39 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

    Allen must be a horrible player if he is sitting the bench in all of this madness. Askew is a little over his head, should have stayed and finished HS and gotten bigger and stronger. Boston jackin up shots and not playing D. I think Clarke is trying but can’t do everything. Not sure what happened to Sarr and Jackson “MIA”. Toppin can’t make a bucket. Mintz is snake bit. Ware is a project. So if Allen can’t get playing time with all of this mess then he must be one awful player.

    • makeitstop
      6:28 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

      honestly I was thinking the same thing and you know he is, too. Like “really, you think I can’t improve on THAT?’

    • itsfootballtimeinthebluegrass
      1:10 am December 22, 2020 Permalink

      None of that proves Allen is an awful player.

  8. jaws2
    4:01 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

    I don’t play enough….waaaaaaaaaaa. Really. Grow a pair man! Suck it up and fight! What the hell has happened to the pampered kids these days? I’ll take my ball and go home! You can say everything negative you want about Cal at UK and I’ve got a few myself.BUT, if there’s one thing he’s proven over and over, he’s the best in the business at getting ‘kids’ to grow up, work hard, become teammates, and get to the league. If you’re capable of dealing with all else that it takes here, then you’re at the right spot. He’s never hidden the fact that it’s not for everyone. This may just be another case. I hope not because I believe this kid can mature here, become a man, and be successful.

  9. Realme
    4:05 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

    I respect the hell out of you Tyler, but this is overly dramatic. You can’t necessarily read any of their minds by watching them, and 99% of that is completely normal behavior in those circumstances. It would be nice if y’all could give them some breathing room instead of acting like we all witnessed a crime.

    • Realme
      4:07 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

      *a real crime, not a crime against basketball. 👿

    • VirginiaCat
      4:47 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

      It’s increasingly clear that KennyPayne functioned as a buffer between Cal and the players. Without Payne, the players are pretty much on their own to deal with Cal’s inconsistencies, judgment errors, and lack of self awareness. This will damage recruiting and only increase the downward spiral. I appreciate what Cal was able to accomplish early on, but he has failed to earn his salary since 2015. He appears to have lost the team as well as most of the fan base. Cal has run the ship aground and he needs to leave for the good of the program. There are a ton of coaches out there who take the raw talent at Cal’s disposal and do a lot better than 1-5.

    • ClutchCargo
      4:56 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

      VirginiaCat, it occurred to me today that we may be missing the “good cop” to Cal’s “bad cop.” He’s always had that since he’s been here. Maybe Bruiser Flint hasn’t been around long enough to earn the players’ trust and be that guy like Antigua and Payne were.

    • ukkatzfan
      12:36 am December 22, 2020 Permalink

      Cc, looks like that would be where Jai Lucas would come into play good cop

    • millertim
      4:58 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

      YES, Virginia Cat, I couldn’t agree more!! Every year Cal would rant and yell at players only to have Coach Payne intervene to explain calmly what Cal can’t express w/o shouting!!

  10. lexslamman
    4:16 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

    I think Fletcher is gone, and he’s probably not the only one. I actually don’t care if any of these players play another second of basketball in a Kentucky uniform – it might be better if they all got out of dodge.

  11. danielscott52
    4:21 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

    Lmao so we’re reporting what someone said they heard and told Drew now lol.

  12. blueblood80
    4:26 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

    Well done Mrs. Tyler Thompson! Excellent work.

  13. yoshukai
    4:37 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

    I’d like to know who overheard Fletchers private phone call at the airport and reported it . That’s really no one’s business.

    • danielscott52
      5:10 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

      Yeah and pretty crappy on Drew’s part to share it

    • makeitstop
      6:34 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

      Drew is a reporter, he got an actual source (not a fake whistleblower), so he could do real reporting, not just rehashing stories found elsewhere. And when you have a loud conversation in a public place, you have ZERO expectation of privacy and should probably expect someone will recognize you in Lexington. (Their images are worth money, you know.) Jack Kemp once said “never say anything you’re not willing to read on the front page of the WaPo tomorrow morning.” I never forgot it.

  14. secrick
    4:47 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

    Go Cats, Yeah i know that’s boring .

  15. millertim
    4:55 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

    Thank you Coach Cal for returning UK to national prominence!! Where we came from was as bad as the end of Sutton’s term and you restored UK’s honor of winning at an 82% rate— simply great. Your first 6 years may be one of the best runs in modern college basketball, and again, as a HUGE fan of UK, I’m eternally grateful! However, your last 5 years have been a mixed bag of success with this latest team being the final result of, hopefully, the END of the “one and done” era at UK. Sure we should always recruit top tier players, but not exclusively as we’ve done the past 11 years. Starting every year with a new roster made up primarily of high school stars is maddening in a college environment where the physical and mental growth of 18 year olds and 22 year olds is exponentially great. There will occassionally be exceptions— AD, KAT, MKG, Herro— but they are too rare to build future championship rosters from… Again, thanks so much for your service at UK!!!

  16. dave1964
    5:50 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

    just another trash season.

  17. kampus korner
    7:21 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

    Is this frame by frame video the “Zapruder film” of the John Calipari era?

  18. Rixter
    8:05 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

    Three thoughts:
    1. Brooks and Cal post-game remind me of the Princess Leia Hologram from the original Star Wars 🙂
    2. This footage is reminiscent of the Zapruder film, and equally as historic.
    3. Y’all remember that one time long ago when Ashton Hagans ‘stepped away’ from the team? What? That was only 7 games ago? Hmmm.. is this becoming a trend?

  19. Looother
    8:11 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

    Thanks for the informative post, Mrs TT…

  20. Ryan Lemonds Toupee
    9:45 pm December 21, 2020 Permalink

    Cam wasn’t headed home to St. Louis Sunday. He was on my Delta flight 4911 to Atlanta. Wearing full UK gear and sulking the entire trip.

  21. Urincatland
    4:10 am December 22, 2020 Permalink

    I don’t see how any player can play for Cal for him screaming at them from the top of his lungs. He acts like a mad man over on the sidelines which actually is embarrassing.

  22. JT55
    6:42 am December 22, 2020 Permalink

    Not sure we will even make the NIT

  23. Rick_S
    10:48 am December 22, 2020 Permalink

    Brooks is a shitty leader,,I see Ware trying to be a leader and the assistants are all trash..why the hell is Rob Harris talking to the players..that should be an assistants job