Somewhere in my father’s attic or basement, resting assumedly under my old Legos or a bevy of rusted tools, you will find one of a pair of box-framed pictures. They bear the likeness of a man I’m told is quite imposing in person, tall and broad. But in these pictures, he’s simply a tough face, frozen in action, stalking the sideline of an unrecognizable arena.
According to the Sharpie-written signature on the glossy front, the man is Bob Knight. Perhaps you know him?
This requires backstory: Growing up, I played church league basketball and indoor soccer, and I don’t believe there was a season in either during which I did not call my father “coach.” In basketball, in particular, he was very defense-first, which explains the reverence of Knight. And so it was that I came to know the man known as “the General,” from the man every son listens to most.
He was a tough coach, but a fair coach. He preached discipline, defense and respect — all the sorts of things a father teaches a son, or tries to. I’d like to think at least some of it took.
What didn’t take, in a manner of speaking, was what existed behind Knight, beyond him. I saw the man, and I saw his signature, and I tried to live his commandments, relayed to me through my father. But I had no idea where that sideline was. I wasn’t much more sure of where Indiana was, beyond the fact that my father’s late father was raised in Seymour. I hadn’t the foggiest idea Knight coached at Indiana, much less what had been accomplished there not through that man on my bedroom wall.
All I knew was Knight — his toughness, and his willingness, apparently, to answer a thankful letter with a pair of signed pictures and a short letter.
It’s odd to think that, to parts of the country where basketball wasn’t king, (college football rules) that’s what Indiana basketball was: simply a vehicle through which the public got to ingest more Bob Knight. The good, the bad and the ugly of the winningest coach in Division I history, that’s what so many people saw when they watched Indiana basketball. Not the Hoosiers, not the winning or the losing or the automatic All-Americans, but Bob Knight.
Today marks the 10-year anniversary of Bob Knight being relieved of his duties as head basketball coach at Indiana University. Time flies, right? A lot, obviously, has transpired in the time since Knight was fired.
Mike Davis rallied the program, albeit briefly, for a run to the national championship game in 2002. Davis then failed to sustain his early success, missed on several key in-state recruits and resigned near the conclusion of the 2006 season. He also allowed Bracey Wright to shoot many ill-advised jump shots. And to his credit, he recruited D.J. White.
Kelvin Sampson, arguably one of the worst hires for a major program in history, brought the program to its knees in less than two years via excessive use of the telephone. In the process, the 2007-2008 team, which was capable of a deep NCAA Tournament run, fell apart at the seams. Dan Dakich admirably attempted to fill-in, but ultimately, the damage had already been done.
And then IU hired Tom Crean, who inherited a cess pool of characters from Sampson and had to clean house. Crean is, in my opinion, ultimately going to bring Indiana back to national prominence. You can quote me.
As far as Knight goes, the Inside the Hall staff (all three of us) debated on how to approach this anniversary. But Knight’s reluctance to attend his Hall of Fame induction should signal the end, at least from our perspective, of any public attempt by the University to bring him back.
So with that, we’re going to open this thread and welcome your thoughts on the last ten years, positive Knight memories, negative Knight memories or anything else you’d like to discuss.
+ESPN updated its rankings for 2012 and several players with IU interest are in the top 60. Gary Harris is No. 16, Yogi Ferrell is No. 21, D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera is No. 28, Hanner Perea is No. 42 and Jeremy Hollowell is No. 52. Commit Peter Jurkin is rated No. 53.
+ Hollowell will visit Indiana on September 18 according to Kyle Neddenriep of The Indianapolis Star. The Lawrence Central forward recently sprained his ankle and will be on crutches for two weeks.
The 2010-2011 NBA season will be important for the career prospects of former IU forward D.J. White. After battling injuries during his first two seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder, White has appeared in a total of just 19 games and split time between the Thunder and the Tulsa 66ers, a D-League affiliate. He’s entering the final fully guaranteed year of his contract.
How has your rehab been going? Are you looking good for the start of the season?
“Recovery has been fine; just take it day by day. As of right now, I’m one hundred percent. Yes, I’m looking good for the season. I’ve been working out twice a day all summer in preparation and I’m looking forward to it.”
How have you avoided getting frustrated by your injuries?
“I just try to stay positive and not get down on myself. Things happen for a reason and it’s a part of basketball.”
When was the last time you were in Bloomington, and how often do you make it here?
“I was in Bloomington in July. I’ve been living in Indianapolis all summer and only made it down twice, so not as much as I wanted to.”
One of the challenges of a booming community is moderating comments. By default, if you make a comment as a guest, your comment must first be filtered through a moderator before it appears on the site. This is done primarily to prevent profanity and limit the trolls from infiltrating the site.
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