Another drill finds three men under a basket. A manager tosses a ball against the backboard and the trio goes up for the rebound. The one who grabs the ball has to go back up for a shot.
"It's an old Ohio State drill," Knight explains. "A lot of hacking and fouling. Havlicek put seven stitches in my eyebrow during one of those things. They sewed me up on the training table and I finished the practice. You didn't get a lot of sympathy there either. Pain is a state of mind." A grin breaks out. "My wife is always telling me she's tired of hearing that." (When Bobby takes sick, Nancy consoles him with, "Pain is just a state of mind. Get up." It leaves him less than happy.)
The first year the optimists hoped for a 12-12 season. Knight gave them 17-8, including nine of 10 victories in Indiana's last Big Ten games, and a third-place finish in the conference. Whatever howls there had been from the alumni had long since dissipated. And Knight had drawn hardly a technical and had yet to smash his first chair. There were a few grumbles, but mostly from Bill Musselman, the Minnesota coach, who was upset because Knight beat him and then refused to shake his hand. "I was thirsty," says Knight, "so I left the game 10 seconds early." Knight has always maintained close ties with Fred Taylor, and it is doubtful that he will ever forgive Musselman or Minnesota for what the Gophers did to Ohio State's Luke Witte last season. But he says there is no feud and that he wants no part of one. What he does want is another victory over the Gophers when the two teams meet this Saturday.
At season's end last spring, Knight went recruiting and returned with an outstanding group of youngsters, including Quinn Buckner, the football-basketball All-America from Phoenix, Ill. This past fall the 6'2", 198-pound Buckner was Indiana's starting safety. The season ended on Saturday; on Monday Buckner was hard at work for Knight.
"That's the beautiful thing here," says Green. "Quinn was a high school All-America, a real star, but he is treated no differently than a guy who was just a state all-star, like me. Nobody is better than anyone else."
"Yeah, right," says Downing. "Coach screams at everybody."
Because Buckner was a day late reporting for practice, Knight put him on the second team. He did not stay there long—four days to be exact. He was tearing up the starters and Knight decided Buckner, or maybe the rest of them, had been punished enough. The freshman moved up to the first team. Indiana opened its season with five seniors, five sophomores and seven freshmen, and won 13 of its first 15 games before the loss—by a point—to Ohio State. Knight took the first two losses—to South Carolina and Texas at El Paso—with the grace of a man who has just learned that his bride has been going out with the French army. His expressions of displeasure were volcanic. In the UTEP game, he drew three technicals in almost as many seconds and automatically was ejected. He left peaceably enough—and under escort of a Pinkerton guard.
"What are you going to do?" Knight asked his assistant coach, Dave Bliss, on his way out.
"I don't know," said Bliss. "But they are going to shoot about 100 technical foul shots and that will give me 20 minutes to think of something."
What Bliss did not do was draw a technical. "Can you believe what would happen to me?" he asks. "I almost got one once. I threw a towel on the floor and the official came over and warned if I did it again I'd get a T. Bobby looked up sweetly and said, 'He was just killing bugs. You can't believe how many are walking in front of our bench.' Nowadays I get rid of all rolled-up programs and towels before the game starts."