Reflections from Thursday's Big 12 Men's Basketball Media Day in Dallas:
First, the obvious: Media Day should be held in Kansas City, not football-crazed Texas -- a state whose residents could care less about college basketball this time of year.
Taking advantage of the fact Bob Knight was in a rare good mood, Dallas/Fort Worth-area reporters and broadcasters peppered the Texas Tech coach with questions about one of Knight's good buddies -- Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells.
"I try to call Bill when he's in a good mood," Knight said of Parcells, whose Cowboys fell, 16-0, to Tampa Bay Sunday. "So, I'm going to call him tomorrow. Guys like us, there is an optimum time to call. I think five days is enough time for him, he'll be able to talk a bit."
When is a good time to call Bob Knight?
"Uh, probably tomorrow," Knight told a writer with football on the mind. "Then I can tell you if it's a good time to call Parcells, too."
Knight's quips about Parcells and Cowboy owner Jerry Jones dominated Dallas-area radio and TV accounts of Media Day and made some of the papers, too.¢
More on Knight: Earlier in the week, Knight said he would rather listen to "Saddam Hussein speak on civil rights" than discuss ethics in college basketball at last month's emergency ethics meeting in Chicago.
He was asked what he meant by that remark by a radio reporter at Media Day.
"I spoke to a first-grade class yesterday, and one of the first-grader's said: 'That was a great point you made about Saddam Hussein,'" Knight said. "You don't have to be a mental giant to figure out why I'd rather do that than listen to the rhetoric at the other place. The people I've talked to thought it was a waste of time."
Knight said the NCAA would show it is serious about improving its relationship with basketball coaches as soon as it rids itself of the 5-and-8 rule that limits the number of scholarships a school can award in a single year or over a two-year period.
Texas Tech is considering legal action to challenge the rule.
"If the NCAA wants to cooperate with coaches, they need to get rid of that rule now," Knight said. "Not one coach is in favor of it."¢
Self accommodates all: New KU coach Bill Self Thursday showed why he is regarded as one of the most media-friendly coaches in the country. Self accommodated everybody and didn't hide from any questions.
He was asked if KU had changed much since he worked for Larry Brown during the 1985-86 season.
"The thing that has changed most is it is a bigger job now than then. It is a credit to coach Williams and his staff. As good (a job) as it was then, it's better now," he said.
"The fan interest is higher on a daily basis. It is off the chart. It amazes me on a daily basis how so many people are interested in how long your shorts are, how big is the Jayhawk (on the court), what color uniforms you will wear. I think that is good. I don't think it's bad. I don't think anything flies under the radar now."
He was asked what surprised him the most.
"Having a beat writer on your doorstep every day," he said with a grin. "All the interest on the Internet. These are good things."
If Self has one concern it is the fact some of his jokes are taken too seriously. It should be remembered he is a person who does not stress about too many things, in sharp contrast to his predecessor, Roy Williams, who had a lot of beefs his last few years at KU.
"I say a lot of things in jest or sarcastically and people who don't know me write about it on the Internet," Self said.¢
Good question, Wayne: One reporter, who was out of questions after talking to KU's Wayne Simien, Aaron Miles and Keith Langford for 30 minutes, asked Simien what question he would ask himself if he was a media member:
"I wouldn't ask myself anything because I get tired of answering questions," Simien said. "I'd say, 'I feel sorry for that guy. He's been answering questions for two years, answering questions about his shoulder for two years, and I'm just gonna leave him alone because I'm a nice guy.'"¢
The new Barry: Somebody must have told Nebraska coach Barry Collier he needed to lighten up around the media.
Known as a nice guy but one of the duller coaches in the league, Collier had a couple of decent one-liners at Media Day.
"When we lost Jake last year, it was like the wheel was still going but the hamster was dead," Collier said of losing Jake Muhleisen to a season-ending injury early in Big 12 play.
On his attitude heading into the season: "I'm the type of guy that goes fishing with a camera. I always think we're going to catch the big one."¢
All business in Ames: New Iowa State coach Wayne Morgan impressed the media with a professional, polished demeanor at the podium, though he wasn't nearly as entertaining as Larry Eustachy, who last year had the media in stitches talking about his antics driving a recreational vehicle to all games.
Eustachy, who had a fear of flying, was fired last offseason after admitting to drinking with Missouri students after a party in Columbia, Mo., last year.
Asked about forward Jackson Vroman, who is still suspended after being arrested on a drunken driving charge, Morgan said: "He's still indefinitely suspended, that's his status. At some point, we'll make a determination of it and there will be full disclosure about what's going on with Jackson."
Of his team, he said: "I hope our potential carries us past what a lot of people expect."¢
Coach is in shape: Baylor coach Scott Drew, 32, has impressed his players with his youthful outlook. Drew sometimes runs sprints with the players at practice.
"I've never had a coach run sprints and beat some of the players," BU senior Terrance Thomas said. "He's very dedicated. Some people knock him for being young, but he knows what he's doing. He pushes us to the limit."
Drew takes over a program decimated by scandal that forced out former coach Dave Bliss. Last offseason, Bears player Patrick Dennehy died of gunshot wounds. Teammate Carlton Dotson is accused of the crime.
"Some of the circumstances in the Baylor situation had nothing to do with basketball," Texas Tech's Knight said.
"You can't look at Baylor as a basketball issue," OU coach Kelvin Sampson said. "Some kid picks up a gun and kills somebody, that's a societal issue."