Former IU guard Wilkerson says Knight’s return would be “absolutely huge”
Sherron Wilkerson started 25 games in two seasons at Indiana under Bob Knight and recently accepted the head coaching position at Herron in Indianapolis.
Inside the Hall caught up with the McDonald’s All-American and Mr. Basketball and talked to him about the possibility of Knight returning to IU and his new job as a head coach at the charter school.
On what it would mean to Indiana fans and former players if Bob Knight returned for his induction to the IU Athletics Hall of Fame:
“I think that it would be absolutely huge. Throughout the years, anytime that you mentioned Indiana basketball or just Indiana University period, I think that the average fan immediately thought about Coach Knight. Being that he’s been away from the university, been away from the state, I think that people still embrace the thought and embrace the idea of him coming back and being a part, not necessarily from a coaching standpoint, but just being around the fans and being there. He’s meant so much to the university and to the state of Indiana.”
“I think that more people would support the idea of him coming back than I think that he realizes. It would be a very, very exciting kickoff to start off this year’s basketball season because Coach Crean has done an excellent job of getting good guys to come in. Not only good basketball players, but good people. I think that was one of the things that Coach Knight really stressed in his thirty years of coaching there and I think that he would definitely appreciate that.”
On his relationship with Coach Knight:
“I didn’t want to reach out to him until I handled my business. One of the main things is that I didn’t want to be one of the few players that played for him and didn’t graduate. Once I finished my career playing in Europe I immediately came home and enrolled back in school and I finished my degree.”
“Once I finished my degree, I sent him a letter. When I sent him the letter I basically was just letting him know what I’d been doing and wanted to thank him and let him know that I had graduated. More importantly, I wanted him to know that I had become the man that he was trying to teach me to be. He responded and that was the icing on the cake of my redemption. I made a mistake, I’ve paid my debt, I’ve rectified it and now it’s time to pass along to the kids that are traveling on the road I traveled and let them know how you should try to conduct yourself off the floor. That’s the biggest battle is off the floor.”
On the opportunity to become a head coach at Herron:
“It’s a great opportunity. I’ve been blessed in the fact that I’m a guy who had it and lost it. Hopefully with this opportunity, it’s the last of the beginning step of getting it back.”
“When I initially retired from playing in Europe, I came home and started coaching third and fourth graders. I started coaching older kids and I had three incidents where I was really hard on a couple of my guys. I had to basically tell them that the reason I was so hard on them was that I loved them. And I told them that and all three of them cried on me. So that let me know that this is what I needed to be doing.”
“AAU is a great venue, it’s a great opportunity to reach kids, but typically you only get the kids two to three days a week. I just felt that if I could put myself in a situation where I had complete access to a kid, the impact, hopefully, would be even that much more on a higher level. That’s what made me decide to start chasing this endeavor. I’ve been lucky. I’ve had guys like Matt Denison, Coach (Mike) Broughton, guys that have stuck their neck out on the line for me and it’s really put me in a good position.”
(Photo Credit: Indianapolis Star)