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Bob Knight’s emotional Indiana return has everything


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Bob Knight cherished the short stroll from the practice gym to Assembly Hall.

It ended his 20-year journey back to Hoosiers basketball.

Surrounded by dozens of former players and thousands of Indiana fans chanting “Bob-by, Bob-by,” the 79-year-old Knight finally returned to his home court Saturday to a rousing welcome.

“We love you, Bobby,” one fan shouted from the crowd.

Hoosiers fans spent years waiting and hoping they could give the once combustible coach the proper reward for everything he did in 29 seasons in Bloomington — three NCAA championships, a school-record 662 victories, 11 Big Ten titles and five Final Four appearances.

But the firing on Sept. 10, 2000 created a bitter split between Knight and the university. He declined opportunity after opportunity to reunite when his championship teams were honored. He even declined to come back for his induction into the school’s athletic Hall of Fame in 2009 because he didn’t want to detract from the other class members.

And then, suddenly, it was all over.

With the Hoosiers playing their biggest rival, Purdue, with longtime friend and rival Gene Keady in the arena and his 1980 Big Ten championship team being honored, Knight put aside his grudge and walked to midcourt with his son, Pat, and former players Quinn Buckner and Scott May.

“Thank you coach, thank you coach,” the fans chanted as Knight waved to the crowd and pretended to run practice drills.

He led the crowd in a chant of “de-fense” and when his former players gathered round, he hugged some of them. Among them was Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas, who led the Hoosiers to the 1981 national title. He even playfully messed around with television announcer Dick Vitale.

No, he wasn’t dressed in his trademark red sweater. Instead, he wore a red Indiana basketball warmup jacket.

And he wasn’t as loud or fiery as he was all those years ago. He needed help as he shuffled back to the court and he had to stop a couple of times on his way. He seemed to enjoy the moment every bit as much as those inside Assembly Hall.

It took years to mend the relationship.

Athletic director Fred Glass stayed in touch with Knight, hoping one day the icy relationship would thaw. Then last spring, Knight surprised everyone by showing up for an Indiana baseball game.

Bob Knight
Bob KnightGetty Images

He also moved back to Bloomington last year and there was speculation for weeks he might soon return to Assembly Hall.

Knight made public appearances around the city and state, making speeches, signing autographs and attending games and practices.

Some thought he would come back to watch his alma mater, Ohio State, when the Buckeyes visited Assembly Hall on Jan. 11. Instead, he went to Marian, an NAIA school in Indianapolis, where one of his former players, Steve Downing, is the athletic director.

Knight hadn’t been back to Assembly Hall since he was fired after a student accused Knight of grabbing him in the hallway of Assembly Hall. The university had initiated a zero-tolerance policy for Knight earlier that year following an investigation that he choked a former player, the late Neil Reed.

Knight finished his career at Texas Tech, retiring in 2008 with a then-record 902 victories.


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SMU coach Travis Mays told us to ‘commit suicide’: players


Southern Methodist University women’s basketball coach Travis Mays is in hot water after eight players cited an abusive culture instilled by the four year-head coach, whom the players allege told them to kill themselves if they weren’t going to compete during a practice in the 2017-18 season, according to the Dallas Morning News.

The report also said that Mays, who started his first head coaching gig with SMU in 2016, was “needlessly cutting players from the roster, threatening to speak negatively to future employers and taking issue with a player not running due to injury.”

While there were different recollections of Mays’ exact wording when he said his players should kill themselves, SMU athletic director Rick Hart confirmed to the Morning News that these conversations did take place.

A blog post published in late January by former player Klara Bradshaw offered her first-hand account.

“If y’all don’t want to get it together, if y’all don’t get together and get connected, you might as well go and commit suicide,” Bradshaw wrote of Mays’ message to his players following a practice that he wasn’t happy with.

Bradshaw, who was a senior at the time, recalled how she immediately burst into tears because it had been just two years since her father had committed suicide.

The team and coaching staff apparently were aware of her father’s suicide.

Mays reportedly asked Bradshaw, in front of the entire team, why she started crying before a team trainer took her away from the gathering so she could collect herself.

The Morning News reported that Mays later apologized to Bradshaw via text message.

“Excuse the poor judgment of words,” he wrote, according to the Morning News. “Sorry to upset you. That wasn’t my intention.”

klara bradshaw travis mays smu abuse suicide
Klara Bradshaw playing for SMU in 2017.Getty Images

Another former player, McKenzie Adams, spoke out in solidarity with Bradshaw after the blog post was published. On Twitter, Adams described her senior season at SMU to be “one of the most mentally traumatic experiences ever.”

A spokesperson representing Mays declined to comment to the Morning News, however, he did address the incident after SMU’s most recent home game.

“It’s one of those things where sometimes you can push,” Mays said as part of the statement. “And it’s our job to push people outside of their comfort zones. And sometimes you can say things, whether it’s using the wrong verbiage or at the wrong time when you don’t need to express some of that.”

Hart, who has been SMU’s AD since 2012, admitted that several players met with him to report Mays’ behavior during the 2017-18 season, per the Morning News.

“Any time we get feedback, we follow up on it, we discuss it, we share it,” Hart told the Morning News. “We try to figure out what’s going on, what we need to do differently — whether it’s communication or process or structural.”


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Georgia Southern’s Shai Werts arrested in weird cocaine-bird poop case


A school quarterback claims a white substance on his automobile which examined optimistic for cocaine is definitely chicken poop. Shai Werts, a junior at Georgia Southern, was arrested on July 31 after being pulled over for driving 80 mph and having a white powder on the hood of his Dodge Charger take a look at optimistic for cocaine,…


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Michigan State won’t allow Sparty mascot in parades


Due to safety concerns, Michigan State University officials have ruled beloved mascot Sparty the Spartan will no longer be permitted to participate in parades.

“Participating in parades increases the risk of heat stroke and health related concerns regardless of temperature and duration,” MSU spokesperson Emily Guerrant confirmed to the Lansing State Journal. “It is our responsibility to ensure the safety of Sparty and his team.”

Guerrant says the policy is “still in development,” and came about due to concerns students “pushed themselves too hard” in hot weather.

Students who don the current Sparty suit, an oversized foam-rubber Spartan in body armor, are required to include a copy of a health record or physical examination report, as well as proof of health insurance when trying out to play the mascot.

However, Sparty spirit isn’t completely lost for Michigan State fans, as there are still a few exceptions to the parade rule. He is still expected to participate in MSU’s annual homecoming parade in East Lansing this fall, and should the Spartans win a national championship, Sparty would almost have to have a presence.

“If [the basketball team] did that and we had a parade right away in April, I think there would be a strong chance of seeing Sparty,” Guerrant said.

Until that happens, though, Sparty should still be a fixture at football games, including a few road contests.


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Tom Izzo makes Final Four pick easier


No. 2 Michigan State vs No. 3 Texas Tech (approx. 8:49 PM, CBS)

Two of the best coaches in college basketball will be pitted against each other as Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans take on Chris Beard’s Texas Tech Red Raiders on Saturday in the NCAA Final Four.

Each squad leads the country in a different significant category. Texas Tech gives up the fewest points per possession of any team in America, while the Spartans have the most assists per possession on offense.

Each also does a good job of being able to protect the interior with each ranking team in the top seven of Division I teams in total blocked shots. Where Michigan State finds its advantage is on the glass, though, as the team is sixth in the country in total rebound rate while Texas Tech is 118th.

Both teams have a tendency to turn it over a bit too much. The Red Raiders are 156th in turnovers per offensive play while Michigan State is 145th.

Izzo is the only head coach or player who has been in the Final Four before, and that experience along with his balanced unit on the floor should lead to the Spartans covering and playing for a national championship Monday.

The pick: Take Michigan State -2¹/₂.

Greg Peterson handicaps college basketball in VSiN’s Point Spread Weekly. Sign up for a one-week free trial at VSiN.com/free.


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