Knight is back to old ways -- and getting away with it
Posted: Wednesday November 15, 2006 3:32PM; Updated: Wednesday November 15, 2006 4:46PM
Bob Knight hit Michael Prince below the chin on Monday, but the coach and Texas Tech insist Knight did nothing wrong.
Phil Taylor will periodically answer questions from SI.com users in his mailbag.
We have been down this road before with Bob Knight, and you know the drill. You will hear that he is a bundle of dynamite with a short fuse, a great coach headed for a bad end, Woody Hayes-style. On the other side you will hear that he graduates his players and recruits by the book, and that it's a shame the media pounces on his slightest misstep. Take whichever side you choose, believe Bob Knight is the devil or the misunderstood saint, but do not believe it when you hear that Knight has lost control again.
Knight, the Texas Tech coach with a long rap sheet, didn't lose control when he slapped, smacked or nudged (depending on your point of view) one of his players, forward Michael Prince, below the chin during a game against Gardner-Webb on Monday night. In fact, he almost never loses control. That's the saddest part of his whole sad, calculating, bullying persona. Knight knows exactly what he's doing.
Oh, sometimes he miscalculates, as he did when he put his hands on the Indiana student who had the temerity to address by him last his name ("What's up, Knight?") several years ago, when he was coach of the Hoosiers. Knight overestimated how much pull he had at the university, thinking he was powerful enough to keep up his acts of physical intimidation forever. He was wrong, and the Indiana administration finally grabbed him by his sweater and tossed him out on his ear.
So he wisely took his act to Texas Tech, a school without nearly the basketball tradition of Indiana, with awestruck fans and key members of the administration who would be grateful that he graced them with his presence and would overlook the fact that he doesn't take his teams deep into the postseason nearly as often as he used to. Knight also has his old crony Gerald Myers as athletic director, his boss in name only. Myers is actually Knight's stooge, willing to insult our intelligence in order to defend him whenever necessary. If you don't believe that, check out the statement Myers put out on Tuesday following Knight's incident with Prince.
"Coach Knight did not slap Michael," Myers said in the statement. Right, when Knight struck Prince, he was just wiping a drop of perspiration from his face. Myers must think that we're both stupid and blind when he asserts that Knight merely "lifted Michael's chin up." Knight gave Prince a whack in the face -- not a haymaker by any means, but not a love tap, either. It was more of a blow than any coach should ever deliver to any player.