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Bob Knight Knocks John Calipari

By December 18, 2009

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Bob Knight took some shots at Kentucky coach John Calipari while giving a speech at a fundraiser on Thursday, saying:

We've gotten into this situation where integrity is really lacking and that's why I'm glad I'm not coaching. You see we've got a coach at Kentucky who put two schools on probation and he's still coaching. I really don't understand that.

Calipari has taken two schools -- Massachusetts in 1996 and Memphis in 2007 -- to the Final Four. Both visits were stricken from the official record books due to significant NCAA violations involving star players. UMass center Marcus Camby admitted to accepting gifts from a potential NBA agent. At Memphis, it is alleged that star guard Derrick Rose had someone else take his SAT, and that Rose received other improper benefits. The Memphis case is still pending an appeal.

In both cases, Calipari left for a new job before the investigations were in full swing; he left UMass for the New Jersey Nets and Memphis for his current gig at UK. He was never personally implicated in either scandal -- but has had trouble shaking the "first rat off a sinking ship" label, given his well-timed departures.

Coach Knight might not be an ideal candidate for "moral compass of college basketball." During his tenures at Army, Texas Tech and , in particular, Indiana, Knight's hot temper and chair-throwing antics generated almost as many controversies as wins. And that's no small feat; he has the most wins in men's Division I college basketball history.

On the other hand, he was always known as a stickler for the rules; none of his teams were ever cited for violations by the NCAA, and he graduated a very high percentage of his players throughout his career.

Getting back to Knight's statement... that he doesn't understand why Calipari is coaching... well, let's go back to sentence one of paragraph three. Cal has taken two schools to the Final Four. In today's NCAA, what else matters?


April 8, 2010 at 12:33 pm
(1) Matt says:

And a multitude of freshmen leave from Kentucky to enter the draft… are they that good, or getting off a sinking ship? Guess we’ll find out.

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