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Archive for Tuesday, July 17, 2001

Ex-Jayhawk Pritchard shopping resume

With future of ABA2000 in doubt, KC Knights coach ‘entertaining other coaching offers’

July 17, 2001

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Kevin Pritchard is looking for work.

The 33-year-old former Kansas University point guard enjoyed coaching the ABA2000 Kansas City Knights last season, but the team and entire league might be out of business soon.

"I would like to say I was very lucky to have this job. I worked my tail off," Pritchard said Monday in telling the Journal-World he had not resigned officially, but would begin entertaining other coaching offers. "I'd like to see professional basketball in Kansas City work. We led the league in attendance last season. We had almost 3,000 there per game the first year. We were not far from profitability. Kansas City is a great basketball city, and the people there deserve a championship team."

He led the Knights to a 24-16 record despite sending a minor-league-record seven players to the NBA.

In a perfect world, Pritchard said, he'd remain Knights coach for many years. But the team may not be around even next year.

Reportedly a couple of investors in Kansas City might be willing to buy the Knights if the ABA survives, which many believe it won't.

Another option is for the Knights to enter a new Continental Basketball Assn. There are rumors former KU assistant athletics director Gary Hunter will re-start that minor league, which fizzed under Isiah Thomas' leadership.

Pritchard, who would not address a report that he was no longer being paid by the Knights because of cost concerns, said he'd like to coach on the pro level, but would never rule out a college job.

"I'd like to be in professional basketball, in the NBA or a developmental league," Pritchard said. "I like it because I played in the NBA, and I got a taste of coaching at the professional level and enjoyed it. I love the pros.

"Those (pro) jobs are highly coveted. It's difficult to get in. But with our staff helping develop and send seven guys to the NBA, I think it shows I have an eye for talent, No. 1, and, No. 2, can put players in a position where they can succeed.

"As far as college, I've already gained experience in recruiting. I recruited players for the Knights. I had to talk to agents and players and convince them that Kansas City was the right fit."

Pritchard would even be open to coaching NBA summer league teams if an opportunity presented itself.

"I've got the bug," Pritchard said. "People told me as soon as Kevin Pritchard coached one game he'd be hooked for life. I am fortunate because I've had coaches in my life who I wouldn't trade for any in the universe. Coach (John) Phillips, who is at Tulsa, coached me in high school. Coach (Larry) Brown and (Roy) Williams coached me at KU. Those three guys gave me knowledge I have and want to pass on.

"Coach Williams is my mentor. He embraced me as a coach from day one and was great for me. I called him many times this past season and said, 'What the heck do I do here.' He always gave me great advice."

Williams said Monday he would do everything he could to help Pritchard land a pro job. He is convinced his former point guard will be an outstanding head coach.

"This year, I saw Kevin Pritchard do a tremendous job," KU coach Williams said. "For the last several years when he considered getting into coaching, I always thought he'd do a great job. This year he made great strides. He was thrown in a situation where he did everything from drafting a team to ordering uniforms, to putting a product on the court during a season in which the roster changed because of his great success in sending players to the NBA.

"This experience was sensational for Kevin. I truly believe he has a tremendous future in the coaching profession."

Pritchard will carry memories of his Knights' experience with him wherever he goes.

"I am thankful to have been given the opportunity to start an organization where players want to play and people want to watch them," Pritchard said. "We had solid people up and down the roster, quality players on our team. We had one of the best records in the league, led the league in attendance and I worked with the best staff of any coach in the league. I learned a coach is part teacher and part psychologist. I wouldn't trade the experience for anything in the world and hopefully I'll be at this a long time."

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