College Basketball: Knight's tirade sounded like his father
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — In Lamar’s first game since coach Pat Knight’s blistering comments about his team, Mike James scored 30 points to lead the Cardinals to a 72-49 victory over Sam Houston State on Saturday.
Lamar (18-11, 9-5 Southland Conference) shot 63.3 percent.
James and two other seniors, part of a six-player class that Knight called “the worst group of seniors … that I’ve ever been associated with” after a loss against Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday, sparked Lamar.
“Boy, they showed up tonight,” Knight said. “I’ll be the first to admit that I put them in a terrible position on purpose. I decided to do something pretty drastic, but I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t have tough kids. I’m so proud of these seniors.”
Knight tore into his players earlier in the week after his team lost 62-52 to Stephen F. Austin. The younger and usually more subdued Knight pulled no punches in an extended rant that prompted comparisons to Bob Knight, his dad and a legendary coach known for his fiery temper.
Of his seniors, he said, “Their mentality is awful. Their attitude is awful. It’s been their (custom) for the last three years.”
Knight is in his first year at Lamar. He said he’s at the school to “clean things up” and that next year things will be different when the current seniors are gone.
“These guys are stealing money by being on scholarship with their approach to things,” he said. “When I played, if you acted the way some of these guys did, 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 at Indiana,’ and that’s what we need,” Knight said while not specifying who did that when he was playing for the Hoosiers under his father.
After he calls his seniors “the worst,” he goes down the box score and reads off several players’ statistics and said that they have an “attitude problem.”
After that, he got much more personal.
“We’ve had problems with these guys off the court, on the court, classroom, drugs …,” Knight said. “If you act this way in the real world, you’re going to be homeless, without a job.”
Knight’s rant begins when senior Mike James is at the podium beginning to answer a question. The coach stalks up to the podium while telling James to leave.
“All right, let’s go, I’m next,” Knight said. “Because you don’t have a clue what it takes to win.”
Knight was upset in the way Lamar lost its last two games.
“You just can’t do all that BS and then expect to be a good team and win games,” he said. “And if people have a problem with me being so harsh about it, I don’t care. I’ve come here to clean something up, and that’s the bottom line. We’ve got to get a better personality on this team, a better mindset, and that’s where recruiting comes into place.”