Bob Knight is a brash and brazen kind of guy — he was as a coach and is as a color commentator. Love him or hate him, that’s just who he is as a person. As a color guy, he is fantastic in this regard. There is no holding back and he tells everything just like it is, which is what one hopes for in a color commentator.
For the aforementioned reasons, Knight’s praise of Jim Crews and the St. Louis basketball program holds serious merit.
St. Louis is 22-2 and is undefeated in Atlantic 10. They are on track for what may be the best season in program history. For the success the Billikens are experiencing, they are doing so without playing the most aesthetically pleasing brand of basketball. In fact, it is almost remarkable that St. Louis currently stands at 22-2, considering they rank 156th in offensive efficiency, according to kenpom.com.
They don’t win the game on the offensive end, but rather the defensive. Senior guard Jordair Jett is a menace on that end — actually, he resembles a bull with his style of play.
Bob Knight told Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “They have offense with movement. They don’t rely on the 3-point shot. They do a lot of screening. They just don’t come down and take a shot. Look at the number of free throws they shoot (534) compared to the other team (450). They’re not an easy team to play. They understand the value of defense.”
Knight is no stranger to Crews. Crews played for The General at Indiana and then was an assistant under him for eight seasons. As a player, he was a member of the 1975-76 team that went 32-0.
The two also have ties to West Point. Knight coached there from 1965-71, and Crews was at Army from 2002-09, prior to his current job at St. Louis.
Suffice to say, the two know each other well.
“Jimmy’s a very good coach. He understands the game very well,” Knight said. “Coaches are coaches but not all coaches are teachers of basketball. He is…His appreciation for what his responsibilities were was excellent,” Knight recalled. “There wasn’t anything about Jim Crews as a player that hasn’t translated into an asset as a coach.”
Crews and St. Louis face their most challenging test in the Atlantic 10 thus far as they play host to Virginia Commonwealth tomorrow — a game Knight will be providing the color for on ESPN.