Maybe Pat Knight knows what he’s doing.
After eviscerating his team in a press conference following a 62-52 loss to Sam Houston State on Thursday night, Knight’s Lamar Cardinals went out and smoked Stephen F. Austin on Saturday, winning 72-49 and silencing critics (ahem … me) of the way he handled his team.
“I had a couple moms thank me,” Knight told Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports. “I didn’t get personal, I just told the facts. I don’t take anything back. It’s just the truth. … If this wouldn’t have worked out, we’d have to go to the fireplace and sing ‘Kumbaya’ I guess. We’d have to do something milder.”
This wasn’t a knee-jerk reaction or an emotional response from Knight, who is a much different person and basketball coach than his father. This was a calculated effort to light a fire under his team. He didn’t call them out simply to embarrass them — although being humiliated in a video that goes viral is a good way to convince a college kid to change his behavior — as much as he did to try and get across the point that he’s not the only one thinking they are blowing an incredible opportunity to do something with their lives.
“I screwed up at [Texas] Tech,” Knight said. “I took too much B.S. I can’t take anymore B.S.”
And Knight was dealing with a lot of, as he put is, B.S.:
Every player had at least one F on his report card when Knight took over.
“Most of them had two or more,” he said. “Two kids flunked out.”
In January, senior guard Charlie Harper was arrested for marijuana possession and was suspended three games. Two guards were benched for discipline reasons. Four players missed breakfast on the road at George Mason Feb. 18. And even after that, Knight said players were still missing weight workouts in the morning.
I probably would have snapped, too.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.
When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.
LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.
Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).
All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.
The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.
Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.
As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.