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Archive for Saturday, October 21, 2006

Knight unusually pleasant at Media Day

October 21, 2006

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Usually, the coach of the top team in the league gets the most attention at Big 12 Men's Basketball Media Day.

That was not the case Thursday in Oklahoma City, however.

While Bill Self, coach of preseason favorite Kansas University, entertained about 10 media members at his personal interview table, more than double that number surrounded Texas Tech's Bob Knight.

The scribes were not about to waste an opportunity to talk to the often-irritable Hall of Fame coach, who, this day, was in a rare good mood.

One reporter, early in Knight's charming 45-minute banter with the press, noticed the coach was wearing a light green sweater over a yellow dress shirt, instead of Texas Tech red.

Was he purposely wearing colors of the University of Oregon, a team that beat Oklahoma in football this season thanks to errors by the officiating crew?

"If I had thought of that, I would have worn a big duck emblem on the front of the sweater," Knight said, sheepishly.

Remember, Knight phoned the Oklahoma City Daily Oklahoman newspaper a few weeks ago to express his delight after the Oregon-OU grid contest, one that had Oklahoma fans furious at the Sooners being robbed of a big road victory.

It reminded Knight of 2003 when his Red Raiders were denied victory at Oklahoma because of admitted errors by the Sooner clock operator.

After that particular hoops loss, Knight had challenged OU coach Kelvin Sampson to forfeit the game over to the visitors. Sampson declined.

Often at odds with the media, Knight, who needs 11 victories to pass Dean Smith as college basketball's winningest coach, answered all questions gracefully Thursday - even one asked about his favorite and least favorite seasons.

"I think if I were to pick a season (to remember) it would be the year we went undefeated," Knight said of 1976, when his Indiana Hoosiers went 32-0. "If nobody has been able to do it in 30 years, it must have been difficult to do."

One of his least memorable seasons was last year when the Raiders went 15-17.

"I did a poor job of assessing the talent we had available and what we lost," Knight said. "I should have used different people to begin with and should have played a couple guys less and others more.

Knight, who berated the NCAA's interview moderator at a 1995 NCAA Tournament podium, concluded his pleasant Media Day experience by telling Big 12 moderator Peter Irwin publicly: "You are really a good guy to handle these things because you have an understanding of coaches and the press, and you have just been good as long as I have been here. Always a pleasure to spend time with you.

"Everybody lies a little bit," Knight added with a grin as he left the premises.

¢ Recruiting: Kyle Singler, a 6-foot-9 senior forward from South Medford (Ore.) High, may choose a school by the end of next week. Singler is down to KU, Duke and Arizona.

"He's probably thought about his decision a lot but hasn't shared it with anyone. I think it will be toward the end of next week," South Medford High coach Dennis Murphy told the Duke Chronicle.

The Chicago Tribune reported that Derrick Rose, 6-4 from Chicago, favors Indiana over Memphis, KU, UCLA and DePaul. The paper said he wanted to play college ball with Eric Gordon, a guard from Indianapolis, who has reneged on a commitment to Illinois and now is committed to Indiana.

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