On Wednesday, it was reported that the global basketball community lost a great coach, as we learned about the death of legendary Head Coach Bob Knight (1940 -2023). This passing was a major loss to the basketball community worldwide, as Bob Knight was recognized as one of the elite coaches in the history of the sport. While scouting and coaching players over the past (28) years, I have had some amazing experiences in the sport of basketball, as I have been able to meet the best in the sport at all levels over time. There are many players and coaches over the years that I have developed relationships with. As I heard of Coach Knight's passing, it brought me back to the relationship I had over the years with the legendary Coach Knight.
I grew up watching Bob Knight as the amazing Head Coach of the University of Indiana for many years. When I was in middle school and high school, Knight was leading the Hoosiers to National Championships, behind the terrific play of such college superstars as Isaiah Thomas and Steve Alford. Knight was widely recognized as a fearless coach with a enigmatic personality and aggressive coaching style. He was seen kicking and throwing chairs on the basketball court.
While i have met hundreds of college coaches over the years, I have never met anyone like Coach Knight. But not because of the obvious reasons - his antics as a college coach and the brash manner in which he communicates. Instead, because of the humility and peacefulness he showed you are around him.
I first met Coach Knight when he became the Head Coach at Texas Tech in the early 2000's. He was recruiting two of my former players that I was coaching with the Arizona Magic club program - Devon Evertsen-Green and Maurice Shaw. Knight had a strong interest in both then senior prospects and made scholarship offers to both top performers. While we were playing games at the Las Vegas Big Time in Las Vegas, Nevada in the summer of 2003, Knight attended the game, and then we held a nice conversation outside the gymnasium about the two prospects (pictured).
Later that evening, while myself and the team were at dinner, Coach Knight hunted me down at my hotel and left me several messages at the hotel's front desk. When I returned to the hotel, I was advised that a "Bob Knight" had left me several messages. I had always known Coach Bob Knight in the basketball world as "Bobby Knight" - the mean and intimidating Head Coach. But this was Bob Knight.
After I called Coach Knight back and we set up a meeting to discuss the two basketball prospects, all I could think of was how nice Coach Knight was to talk to, and he was absolutely nothing like what I had saw on television for so many years. We would go on to have a nice personal relationship for many years after that, until he eventually retired from coaching.
Rest in peace Coach Knight.