Flint United kicks off 2022 season with one victory and one loss

FLINT, Michigan — The world of professional basketball returned to the city last week when Flint United took to its home court inside the Dort Event Center for a two-game opening weekend.

On the evening of Friday, March 4, Flint United was met with fanfare as hundreds of fans and a celebrity guest, boxing champion Claressa Shields, showed their support for their hometown team. Expectations were high for the team which, after a rocky inaugural season, promised to up its game.

These efforts to improve, including hiring a new coach, seemed to have paid off as later that evening, Flint United walked away with a hard-earned victory over the Kokomo Bobcats. The game ended with a final score of 102-98.

The star of the night, Roger Hood, number 15, managed to score 28 points. Not far behind him were Luther Page, number 32, with 17 points, and Malik Ellison, number 7, with 17 points as well. 

Though the match made for a bombastic return to the season, the mood quickly changed when two days later on Sunday, March 6, Flint United lost 89-107 to Toledo Glass City BC. 

United, despite being ahead for most of the game, at one point amassing a 13-point lead, started to falter in the third quarter. By the fourth quarter, against the best efforts of players like Luther, who led his team with 26 points, United was falling further and further behind. 

Kevin Mays, founder and owner of Flint United, called the events of the weekend “bittersweet” explaining how in these first few games, he was just eager to see how the team, which signed a handful of new players during the off-season, would play together. 

“It’s good to get the ball rolling, it’s good to get things started. These guys are learning together, learning to play together, and even learning from each other. We’ve got a good formation, we saw a lot of good things early in the weekend and early in our second game, they just gotta learn how to finish, how to close,” Mays said. 

Flint United Head Coach Keno Davis talks strategy with his team during a time-out in the game’s second quarter.
Head Coach Keno Davis, who came onto the team in late 2021 after the season ended, only had about four practices before taking to the court for the real deal. Though he wasn’t exactly sure what he’d be working with this season, after seeing the team’s performance over the course of two games, Davis said he was pleased with what he saw. 

“Just having been four practices in, it’s tough to step on the court and actually be near the type of team that you know you can be later in the season, so to be able to come out and play that hard, especially with a crowd like the one we had on our opener and get that victory, I was really pleased,” Davis said. 

Davis added to his list of first-time observations that many of United’s players are hungry for wins.

“The character and attitude of our players is a big plus. I thought they played extremely hard. When you have that as a coach, when you have a team that cares and plays really hard, you can’t help but improve as you go through the season,” Davis said. 

Flint United will return to the Dort Event Center for its next home game on Sunday, April 10 at 3 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here. 

Read more articles by Santiago Ochoa.

Santiago Ochoa is a freelance reporter and communications student at UM-Flint. He is the project editor for On The Ground community reporting series and currently serves as The Michigan Times' Editor-in-Chief. Santiago has worked with publications and organizations like The New York Times, the Interamerican Press Association and Flint Beat. You can reach him @santi8a98 on Twitter and Instagram and email him at [email protected]