It's not easy being the son of a legend, and then trying to follow in said legend's footsteps into the exact same vocation of choice. Pat Knight knows this. His father, Bobby Knight, garnered 902 career wins as a head coach. He also had dozens of epic postgame rants.
The younger Knight is now the head coach at Lamar University after a three-year stint as the lead man at Texas Tech. He has 67 career wins, and to my knowledge, no legendary postgame tirades as of yet (if you can't name them, then they're not legendary).
Well, last night, he closed the gap on his old man with respect to one of those two categories. And it wasn't the wins.
On the surface, it would appear that Knight is having a fine season at Lamar, with a 17-11 overall record and a four-game improvement over last season. However, lately, things have not been going as well. The Cardinals have lost three of four, including a home loss to Stephen F. Austin on Thursday night that sent Knight into this little tizzy (As usual, on video this good, I'll break it down chronologically below):
0:05 -- Senior guard Mike James is interrupted by Knight basically telling him to get off the stage, and that he "doesn't have a clue as to what it takes to win." This was the press conference equivalent of the manager coming out to ask for the ball from a pitcher, only the manager is about to stay out on the mound, grab a microphone and tell the crowd what a dipshit the pitcher is. Observe...
0:08 -- "We've got the worst group of seniors right now that I've ever been associated with. Their mentality is awful. Their attitude is awful. It has been their M.O. for the last three years." Knight was just getting started.
0:55 -- "We did not have one senior show up. All you got to do is look at the numbers." Uh oh, statistical evidence. This is never good. This is like when I tried to convince my parents that I was working hard during a down semester in college, and they pulled out a copy of my credit card statement and phone bills, which was the equivalent of the "stat sheet" for a beer-guzzling, couch potato college student back in 1990. Nowadays, all you need is your kid's browser history on their computer.
1:00 -- "Miles 2 for 11, Lamb 3 for 9, James 6 for 22 and two of those were gimmes at the end... All I'm hearing is my parents saying, "Belmont Beverage $156.12, Domino's $24.12, Coach's Sports Bar $83.15..."
1:28 -- "We've had problems with them off the court, on the court, classroom, drugs, being late for stuff. All that stuff correlates together if you're going to win games. You just can't do all that B.S. and expect to win games. And if people have a problem with me being harsh about it, I don't care. I came here to clean something up." Yikes! Okay, that's where the comparison ends. My parents never had to address drugs with me. Everything else Knight rants about, yes. But never drugs. Replace "drugs" with "pizza" and then the analogy's integrity is restored.
1:55 -- "It wouldn't surprise me if we lost the rest of them. If they show up like they did tonight, we won't win another game." So the team is a bunch of head-case druggies who play selfishly, and their coach is basically saying they're gonna lose the rest of their games? Is there anywhere I can get some wagering action on Lamar basketball games? 4:05 -- "We have a bunch of tin men out there right now. They've got no heart." Well, Pat Knight, maybe they have no heart because if they have no heart then no one can break it! Did you ever think of that, you big meanie?! Kenny Chesney knows...
4:40 --"When I played, if you acted like the way some of these guys do, you got shoved in a locker with a forearm up against your neck and told you don't do that. That's not how we do things here at Indiana." Now, while I've agreed with Knight up to this point, I'm not sure that jamming someone inside a locker is the solution. And I know that Indiana eventually saw it that way, too. Pat, there's a reason you wound up coaching at Texas Tech. Because your old man was exiled there after IU fired him for things like "forearms up against the neck."
6:00 -- "If you act this way in the real world, you're gonna be homeless." It's official. Pat Knight is my new favorite basketball coach. He's now officially on a roll, speaking out for every college head coach that ever inherited an entitled jackass or 12 on their roster when they got to a new school. Preach on, young Knight!
The rest of the video gets a bit repetitive, so no need to break it down further. We know the gist -- Pat Knight has a group of seniors recruited by a previous regime that are not bringing the effort nor the leadership he is seeking.
My guess is Pat Knight will get killed on sports talk radio for calling out his players. I'll be the first to admit that I know nothing about this Lamar team, but I will say that the lack of knowledge means that I have no idea how pervasive the problems Knight alludes to may be nor what he's tried so far to increase accountability. Bringing up drugs publicly leads me to believe the problems are pretty bad.
So if this is the latest, final, desperate attempt to get through to a bunch of kids who are on the verge of losing at the game of life in the next few years, I've got no problem with it.
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Those kids should just be glad they're being coached by the Knight that doesn't like to grab players around the neck.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.