CatsIllustrated - Jon Rothstein explains the appeal of Bruiser Flint
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Jon Rothstein explains the appeal of Bruiser Flint

USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports was first to report that Bruiser Flint is expected to be hired as Kenny Payne's replacement on Kentucky's coaching staff.

The long-time college basketball reporter and analyst spoke with Cats Illustrated shortly afterwards.

Based on John Calipari's history with Flint, Rothstein isn't surprised by the choice.

"John Calipari and Bruiser Flint are best friends and confidants," Rothstein said. "In the past before Bruiser was at Indiana, when he was at Drexel, he would come and watch John's teams and give him feedback.

"Bruiser was an integral part of the staff at UMass that helped Calipari get to the Final Four. That staff also included John Robic and interestingly enough one of their recruits was Tony Barbee. In a lot of ways this rendition of Kentucky's staff began there."

Defense is always a big part of Calipari's emphasis as a head coach and Rothstein believes doubling down on that could have been part of the calculation.

"Bruiser is an elite defensive coach," Rothstein said. "John Calipari's always been an elite defensive coach and I think Tony Barbee has also had a major hand in helping Kentucky's defense over the last couple of years. I would expect with all of those guys together Kentucky's going to have all hands on deck in terms of coaching defensive basketball."

Beyond coaching defense, Rothstein pointed to Flint's credentials from a long resume in the basketball coaching world.

"He obviously has that gravitas attached to his name. He's got the best people skills of anybody, anywhere in college basketball," Rothstein said. "When you combine all those things with the power of Kentucky's brand, and that he's with a Hall of Famer in Calipari, he's going to make a big impact. Just with his personality and the way he is with people, that's going to happen," he said.