hard every day and trying to improve so my parents won't have to bother with
me," he says. "It's tiring, really tiring, but I'm not going to quit
until I'm totally independent. That's really important."
71-64 victory over underdog Miami is an example of how the Hoosiers intend to
defend their championship, Knight's players would do well to look at Turner,
who has been designated as team captain, and use him as a model. The Indiana
effort was so uninspired that Knight cut his postgame press conference to 30
seconds—"I'm just sorry Miami didn't win, because they deserved it more
than we did," he said—and didn't open the locker room for an hour.
He was concerned,
mainly, about the absence of the crisp execution and all-out hustle that
usually characterize his teams. Both the players and the crowd of 13,400 seemed
in a trance, as if they couldn't cope with what had been taken from them since
last season—Center Ray Tolbert (graduation), Guard Isiah Thomas (early entry
into the NBA) and Turner. After leading by as many as 12 points in the second
half, Indiana found itself on top by only three with Miami in possession and
only 28 seconds to go. Remarkably, under the circumstances, fans were leaving,
as if certain that Indiana was going to pull it out, which, of course, it
misses Turner a great deal, partly for his enormous talent but most of all,
says Knight, for the positive influence he would have exerted on this season's
five freshmen. Turner would have been asked to help make better players of the
youngsters, as Tolbert had lent a hand in molding Turner. Now, without Turner,
that duty falls to veterans Randy Wittman, Ted Kitchel and Jim Thomas. So far,
in Knight's opinion, they haven't done the job.
Turner no doubt
is finding it difficult to believe that he may never again feel the power and
glory of playing basketball. The previous week, at an exhibition game against
the Olympic champion Yugoslavian national team, Turner had become upset that
Knight didn't give him anything to do.
he said reprovingly, "you should've called my name and I would've gotten
you, Landon," said Knight softly, "for the next game."