Bobby Knight has never had a problem communicating. Whether he’s talking to his players, members of the media or referees, the opinions of Indiana’s men’s basketball coach are usually heard, and most of the time, respected.
That proved true following the Hoosiers’ 75-72 loss to Minnesota at Williams Arena. Knight, who has won three national championships at Indiana since 1971, praised the No. 2 Gophers and said they are the best Big Ten team he has seen the last four years.
He didn’t stop short to say they were one of the best teams in the country.
“Minnesota really has got a good team,” he said. “I’ve got a really good friend that I fish with in the summer — he’s a big Kansas fan — and he asked me back in December if there was any team in the country that I thought could definitely beat Kansas. I told him I thought Minnesota could because they’re strong and they’ve got good depth.”
Knight would not, however, say anybody but Iowa guard Andre Woolridge should be Big Ten Player of the Year. Gophers guard Bobby Jackson is considered to be a strong candidate to win that honor.
“I would say Woolridge is the MVP in the Big Ten because he took a team that lost four or five players and brought them to a point where they’re pretty damn competitive and pretty good,” he said. “I think, perhaps, Woolridge did more for his team than any player in the conference.”
The Hawkeyes are 19-9 and 10-6 in the Big Ten despite losing four key players from last year’s team and senior Jess Settles missing the season because of injuries.
Knight said if he could steal a player off Minnesota’s roster, he’d take center John Thomas over Jackson.
When asked why he would take Thomas, Knight told a Minneapolis reporter, “because I know more about basketball than you do.”
When the reporter asked to be educated, Knight replied, “I don’t have time.”
“I just said I think Minnesota is the best team that I’ve seen in the Big Ten in four years,” he said. “Why don’t you just be happy with that? You Minnesota people. I’ve got to go.”
As he left the interview room he told the assembled media, “There are some brilliant facilities in this country who couldn’t educate you people.”
Ouch. Now that hurts.
Just grab ’em in the biscuits
The dance Gophers senior John Thomas did with Goldy Gopher near center court after the game drew a lot of attention from the 14,625 fans at Williams Arena.
Those moves, which seemed to be a slight variance of the Humpty Dance (it’s supposed to look like a fit or a convulsion), had most who saw it smiling by the time he finished.
The senior enjoyed celebrating the Big Ten title in front of his home crowd. Thomas, regarded as one of the team’s jokesters, showed his less than serious side.
“I think I have Goldy by a few steps,” he said. “To dance with the trophy is a dream. It’ll be suspended in my mind.”
Teammate Bobby Jackson had no idea Thomas had those moves.
“I didn’t know he could dance like that,” he said. “Hopefully he’ll keep it up and dance at tournament time.”