Coach Bob Knight sounds off on Calipari, Kentucky and the integrity of college basketball today

Legendary Coach Bob Knight was in the state of Indiana Saturday, April 16th. Seaking at the Honeywell Center in Wabash, Knight discussed a variety of topics.

First he was asked about whether he thought John Calipari was good for college basketball, Coach Knight replied, “Well, I’m sure if I was a Kentucky fan I would. But I’m not a Kentucky fan.”

The majority of the conversation was about his time as a head college basketball coach and the improvements that need to be made moving forward.

On graduating players
“I thought that it was really important, that you as a parent of a kid that was playing for us, to eventually know that your son had a degree. I thought that was the most important thing that I owed to the family of any kid that we recruited. In the end, I don’t think anybody even came close to what our record was in that regard.”

On Kentucky’s one and done players
“We have a situation in college basketball that really bothers me beyond anything that’s ever bothered me in my career. That’s this idea—Kentucky, year before last, started five players in the NCAA tournament game that had not been to class that semester. And that’s that one and done philosophy that we have now.”

His proposal to treat college basketball players like baseball talents
“College basketball will never get back to the integrity that it had until the NCAA is able to adopt to basketball the same thing that governs college baseball today and that is this. A kid either signs out of high school with a professional team or he goes to college. If he goes to college, he has to stay three years.”

On his coaching career
“The thing that I felt best about was the part of (Frank) Sinatra’s song where he sang, ‘I did it my way.’ That’s what I tried to do at the three schools that I coached. Not because it was the best way, but I just thought I knew more about it than anybody else did. And so for those years, I did it my way.”

Bob Knight will always attract a big audience no matter where he talks. The pride of Indiana still loves and embraces Coach Knight, who was the head coach of Indiana for 29 years.

Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart didn’t like the cheap-shot from Coach Knight and issued the follow statement Monday:

“The University of Kentucky, our student-athletes and their families take great offense to the blatantly erroneous comments made by Bob Knight that ‘Kentucky, year before last, started five players in the NCAA Tournament games that had not been to class that semester.

Academic performance has always been a priority at UK and it’s unfortunate that, although every starter from the 2010 season finished the spring semester in good academic standing, these myths exist. Our men’s basketball team’s (Academic Progress Rate) score reflects our attention to academic progress and our student-athletes take great pride in representing the University of Kentucky on and off the floor.”

DeMarcus Cousins responded to Knight’s comments via twitter, saying “All respect Coach Knight but I went to my spring classes at UK and finished out strong good gpa even after declaring for draft. Hope you correct your statement!”

As did teammate Patrick Patterson on twitter as well. “Ha I’m not even gonna comment on such bullshit (excuse my French) think me graduating & teammates GPA’s speak for themselves.. don’t u?”

Follow Scott on twitter @ScottAgness.

Below is a video except of his speech via JOEDCTALK.

12 Responses to Coach Bob Knight sounds off on Calipari, Kentucky and the integrity of college basketball today
  1. Everett Hearst
    April 18, 2011 | 9:41 pm

    Please understand that I like many things about coach Knight and I respect his opinion on the NBA’s rule about player’s spending one year in college. I would love to see it change. However, coach Knight needs to check his facts regarding the the young men “that had not been to class that semester”. That is patently false. It is true that one of those five decided to spend time preparing for the draft and did not complete the spring coursework. He has since apologized. One player completed his degree during that semester and three continued to attend class and received credit for their attendance. Being Bob Knight does not make one above the standard of fact checking. He doesn’t need to be a “fan” of a school or coach but do not slander college kids by providing false information. You should be above that coach.

  2. Jay Stevens
    April 18, 2011 | 10:09 pm

    I’m thrilled to finally see someone speak out. How the NCAA is still letting Calipari coach is beyond me.

    • Trmurphy12000
      April 19, 2011 | 2:56 am

      You jealous jackass, Bob Knight is a stinking hypocrite and Miles Brand farted on him and sent him packing. Some one finally stood up to this foolish SOB.

      • Jay Stevens
        April 19, 2011 | 3:02 am

        Jealous of what.
        Bob Knight = 3 National Championships. John Calipari = 2 Final Fours vacated and another possibly in the near future.
        Yeah, jealous.

  3. Fightingillini74
    April 18, 2011 | 10:21 pm

    With Knight, you have to take what he says with a grain of salt. I credit him for never having a NCAA violation and graduating all his players. That was one of the best things he ever did that often gets lost in discussion. While he did make a few “poor decisions,” A man with 902 Division 1 games deserves his right to an opinion.
    As a pure college basketball fan, I too am disgusted with how Calipari/Kentucky and other programs choose to handle their program. The players just use UK to get to the NBA, rather than to get a degree and play for the name on the front of the jersey.

  4. Truth
    April 18, 2011 | 11:44 pm

    Bobby Kinght just outright lied, slandering good young men in the process. What is so admirable about that. He just continues his abusive actions. ESPN should fire him immediately.

  5. IndyCatFan
    April 18, 2011 | 11:45 pm

    Maybe the ex-coach should worry about himself and not degrade other programs with false accusations. What a joke!

  6. #GetGary
    April 19, 2011 | 12:20 am

    I love Bobby Knight…he’s the man! I sure wish he would return to the coaching ranks; I know he has an itch to get back in the biz. College basketball loves a guy like RMK.

  7. Fix It Up
    April 19, 2011 | 12:47 am

    Regardless of the Kentucky comments, the one and done situation is a topic that needs to be addressed. Too many players aren’t committing themselves to the University all year long. Part of it is on the slaps at the NBA who added the year requirement rule. I agree with Knight–basketball should follow college basketball.
    Who’s to stop a player from making millions if he can out of high school. However if he signs his name to the university, he must play at least three years. That would improve the game of college basketball and make teams more consistent.

  8. Anonymous
    April 19, 2011 | 3:31 am

    From the numerous comments below, I take it a lot of Kentucky fans are taking this accusations personal? You are defending your coach, as expected. What I am wondering is if you all look beyond the words he says and understand the big picture with the problem in college basketball today?
    Sure, some of his words expressed were foolish, fitted towards the audience. But I do hold a high respect for the knowledge and passion he has for the sport.

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