Jon Teitel continues our season preview series by chatting with Drexel coach James “Bruiser” Flint about going 35-1 for Coach John Calipari at UMass.
You return five of your top-six scorers from last year: how big a factor do you think your team’s experience will be this season? Experience is always a factor at the mid-major level: usually the more experienced teams are the better teams.
Your non-conference road schedule includes trips to UCLA, Davidson, St. Joe’s, and Southern Miss: which of these four games do you feel will present your biggest test? They are all big tests for us: we do not look at any game differently.
What are your expectations for the upcoming season? As always, we expect to compete for a CAA championship: that is why we play the games.
You played basketball at St. Joe’s and led the Atlantic 10 with 6.1 assists-per-game as a senior. What is the key to being a good PG? The PG should be an extension of the coach and know what the coach knows because he is the coach on the floor.
In the 1991 NIT as an assistant under Coach John Calipari at UMass, Tony Barbee made a 25-footer at the end of regulation en route to a two-point win over Siena (which Calipari called “maybe the shot of the century for UMass”). Where does that rank among the most clutch shots you have ever seen? It was a big shot for the program at the time.
In 1996 you went 35-1 before losing to eventual champion Kentucky in the Final 4. How close did you come to having a perfect regular season? Not that close: in the one game we lost, we lost big.
In 2001 you became head coach at Drexel: why did you take the job? It was a good opportunity for me to come home.
In the 2006 CAA tourney the refs screwed up the number of fouls leading to a one-and-one situation with 15 seconds left and then did not call a foul after Bashir Mason collided with Henry Olawoye at the buzzer in a three point loss to Delaware. Where does that rank among the most frustrating losses of your career? It was a tough loss but you have a lot of those: every loss is a tough loss.
In 2007 you won a silver medal as an assistant coach for team USA at the FIBA U-19 World Championship in Serbia. Which of your players impressed you the most (Michael Beasley/Stephen Curry/DeAndre Jordan/other)? Jonny Flynn and Seth Curry were the two guys who impressed me most.
In the 2011 CAA tourney you had a two-point loss to VCU and in the 2012 CAA tourney you had a three point loss to VCU, how big of a rivalry do you have with Shaka Smart and the Rams? We do not have any rivalry with VCU anymore now that they are not in our league.