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Knight Claims UK Starters Skipped Class Last Spring

Bobby — now Bob — Knight is at it again.  He’s once again hurling verbal hand grenades at Kentucky and John Calipari, this time in connection to the use of one-and-done players. 

Knight said over the weekend that the Cats’ five starters in the 2010 NCAA Tournament did not attend class during that spring semester.

The exact quote:

“Kentucky, year before last, started five players in the NCAA Tournament that had not been to class that semester,” Knight said.  “And that’s that one-and-done philosophy that we have now.”

And here’s the video:

Here’s the most obvious problem with Knight’s assertion: Kentucky didn’t have five one-and-done starters last year.  Patrick Patterson was a junior (who graduated in three years).  Darius Miller was a sophomore.


Naturally, UK athletic director Mitch Barnhart took offense to Knight’s claim in a strongly-worded press release that called out the former Indiana and Texas Tech coach by name.

“The University of Kentucky, our student-athletes and their families take great offense to the blatantly erroneous comments made by Bob Knight,” the statement read.  “Academic performance has always been a priority at UK and it’s unfortunate that, although every starter from the 2010 season finished the spring semester in good academic standing, these myths exist.  Our men’s basketball team’s APR score reflects our attention to academic progress and our student-athletes take great pride in representing the University of Kentucky on and off the floor.”

The ex-Cat Patterson responded as well, via Twitter:

“Ha I’m not even gonna comment on such b***s*** (excuse my French).  Think me graduating & teammates GPA’s speak for themselves… don’t u?”

DeMarcus Cousins — who was a UK one-and-doner last year — also tweeted a response:

“All respect Coach Knight but I went to my spring classes at UK and finished out strong good gpa even after declaring for draft.  Hope you correct your statement!”

Knight’s comments have certainly started a firestorm, which is no surprise when you consider his history.  But Dick Weiss of The New York Daily News believes the ex-coach’s comments drag his current employer into the mix, too:

The ball is in ESPN’s court.  If Knight’s comments are irresponsible and hateful, they can either hold him accountable or sweep it under the rug.  It’s their integrity that’s on the line here.

Eric Crawford of The Louisville Courier-Journal doesn’t expect the Worldwide Leader in Sports to do much of anything:

… It’s a mess that ESPN needs to clean up.  I don’t expect it will.  When Knight made previous public statements about UK coach John Calipari in a public setting, ESPN did nothing to set the record straight.  And my prediction here is that ESPN will say Knight was appearing on his own at a private event and not representing ESPN.

Personally, I’d love to hear Dick Vitale’s take on all of this.  For a man who usually keeps one lip attached to the rumps of Knight and Calipari at all times, taking sides on this one would amount to his own personal “Sophie’s Choice.”

Knight’s comments come on the heels of news that UConn one-and-done national champ Kemba Walker claims to have read just one book in his entire life.  So the issue Knight’s discussing is real — one-and-doners don’t fit the mold of true student-athletes.  That issue bears discussion.

(CORRECTION – Walker is a junior who is leaving to play pro ball, not a one-and-doner.  Unlike Knight, I have no problem admitting a mistake.  Doh!  My apologies for the brainfreeze.)

But to make wild statements about a coach and program you don’t like just to make a point?  Sorry, you can’t do that when you’re also expected to be a fact-based ESPN analyst.

Or at least you shouldn’t be able to do that.


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