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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bob Knight Throws John Calipari Under the Bus

CBS's Seth Davis, responding to Knight, criticized the former Indiana mentor, in essence saying that he's one to talk, given some of his behavioral issues. In doing so, however, Davis looks a bit foolish, because it's almost as if he deliberately missed the issue. Sure, it's hard to argue that Knight's eruptions of the years are worth emulating. That said, Knight held his program to the highest ethical standards in terms of recruiting and graduating his players. That's not in dispute. Davis apparently equates ethics with temper, and that's his right, but I would argue that I'd rather have a coach who erupts (and don't most of them, even if not as publicly and frequently as Knight did) than one who leaves program under a cloud (which Calipari has done now twice). That Davis missed this point is a) troubling and b) calls into question why he said what he said. Did he say what he said because he thinks it to be true, did he say what he said because CBS expects Kentucky to have a high profile and wants that profile without taint (which means that Davis was flacking for Calipari, Kentucky and CBS) or does Calipari provide Davis with great access, so much so that Davis thought at the time Calipari needed a friend in the media? The second and third alternatives are not acceptable, and having watched Davis over the years I conclude -- at least for now -- that he legitimately believes what he said. I just think that he's wrong.

I've offered my views of Calipari before (here and here), and I tend to agree with Coach Knight (whom I've also criticized before for his temper and interactions with school officials and Indiana). By the way, if you link on my first linked post about Calipari, you'll find that John Feinstein, who spent a season with Knight and is far from a Knight apologist, previously took the same view as Knight.

Basketball is very important at Kentucky, which paid a king's ransom for Calipari.

The question is -- what's the true cost?

Whatever that cost is, Bob Knight, for one, thinks it's too high to pay.


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