At a critical juncture in his tenure in Bloomington, IU head coach Archie Miller will need to move fast to replace outgoing assistant coach Bruiser Flint.
As Flint moves on to Kentucky to reunite with good friend John Calipari, Miller is left with an opening for the second summer in a row. IU hired Mike Roberts in August, 2019.
The first order of business for the fourth year head coach and his remaining staff will be to ensure that they do not lose ground with key recruiting targets.
Specifically, Flint was leading the charge for Indiana on two priority class of 2021 shooting guards, Aminu Mohammed and Blake Wesley.
Flint had been out to visit the Missouri based Mohammed on multiple occasions prior to the pandemic.
More recently, Mohammed and his guardian Shawn Harmon have been impressed with head coach Archie Miller on virtual visits and Zoom meetings.
“He’s a really good communicator,” Harmon said of Miller to The Daily Hoosier recently.
Harmon doesn’t expect Flint’s departure to meaningfully impact the way that he and Mohammed view Indiana.
“Still feel the same about Indiana, being a great school, great platform and great opportunity for Aminu if he chooses to attend IU,” Harmon told The Daily Hoosier after the news of Flint’s departure broke. “Our relationship with Coach Miller is good.”
Flint has had a more prominent and leading role in Wesley’s recruitment.
With rumors of Flint leaving Indiana circling over the weekend, The Daily Hoosier asked Wesley how such a development might impact his view of IU.
While Flint and Wesley spoke and texted regularly over the last few months, the South Bend, Ind. product was clear on how Flint leaving effected his thinking about Indiana.
“No impact,” Wesley said at the Battle of the Brands in Noblesville, Ind. on Saturday. “If he (Flint) goes to Kentucky and wants to recruit me, I am still going to consider Indiana.”
Wesley has multiple factors that influence his impression of IU, including of particular significance, several friends on the current roster.
The 6-foot-5 Wesley also told The Daily Hoosier over the weekend that he is nearing a commitment. It could be the case that he is far enough along with his decision making process that the news of Flint’s departure will have minimal significance.
While Flint wasn’t the lead recruiter on some of IU’s more prominent successful recruits under Miller, he did help bring Rob Phinisee, Jordan Geronimo, Jake Forrester and Damezi Anderson to Bloomington.
Flint also brought IU relationships to east coast high schools and AAU programs, especially in the Philadelphia area.
“Everybody knows him,” Philadelphia based former 2021 IU recruiting target Jordan Longino recently told The Daily Hoosier about Flint’s reputation in the Philadelphia basketball community.
While IU often gained traction with east coast recruiting targets like Longino, it was not as if a Philadelphia to Bloomington pipeline was established. To be fair, that in no doubt has been influenced by Indiana’s heavy emphasis on recruiting the top in-state talent first.
Whatever the case, it is time for Miller to move on, and do so quickly.
According to sources we do not believe that Miller already has a replacement for Flint lined up.
But with the start of practice looming and a season possibly beginning in less than three months, Miller is almost certain to move fast to find a replacement.
While he attempts to retain relationships with players like Mohammed and Wesley in the interim, Miller will also need to determine what attributes he should emphasize to best round out his staff.
A coaching staff that can relate to the players and resemble the roster from an ethnic and demographic standpoint is prudent in any era, but especially at a time when social justice is at the forefront of the discourse in America.
In that regard it would seem likely that Miller would prioritize a relatively young African American coach with strong recruiting connections.
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