Bob Knight apologizes for making comment on Kentucky personal

ESPN official says network does not share viewpoint

April 20, 2011 

Kansas St Texas Tech Basketball

"My overall point is that 'one and dones' are not healthy for college basketball. I should not have made it personal to Kentucky and its players and I apologize." -- Bob Knight, ESPN analyst, in a 2011 statement.

ZACH LONG — ASSOCIATED PRESS

ESPN analyst Bob Knight apologized Tuesday for his statements over the weekend about the academic record of the University of Kentucky basketball team.

Knight's apology was posted late Tuesday afternoon in an article on ESPN.com and was also mentioned during the network's SportsCenter show.

"My overall point is that 'one and dones' are not healthy for college basketball," Knight said. "I should not have made it personal to Kentucky and its players and I apologize."

At a speaking engagement in Indiana on Saturday, the Hall of Fame coach blasted Kentucky Coach John Calipari's habit of recruiting players who spend just a year on campus before bolting for the NBA.

During his remarks, Knight claimed several players on Kentucky's 2009-10 roster did not attend class during the spring semester.

"Kentucky the year before last started five players in the NCAA Tournament games that had not been to class that semester," Knight said. "That's that one-and-done philosophy."

The Wildcats went 35-3 that season, falling to West Virginia in the NCAA's East Regional finals. Kentucky started three freshmen — John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe — in the game as well as sophomore forward Darius Miller and junior forward Patrick Patterson.

Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart responded on Monday evening, saying the school took "great offense" to Knight's "blatantly erroneous" accusations.

"Academic performance has always been a priority at UK," Barnhart said in a statement. "It's unfortunate that, although every starter from the 2010 season finished the spring semester in good academic standing, these myths exist."

Wall, Cousins, Bledsoe, Patterson and freshman center Daniel Orton all left school after the season and became first-round NBA Draft selections.

Patterson graduated last May while Miller returned for his junior season and was eligible to play all year.

Norby Williamson, executive vice president of ESPN production, welcomed Knight's apology.

"Bob Knight's comments do not reflect the opinions of and are not endorsed by ESPN," Williamson said in a statement. "We have communicated to him our disappointment and welcome his apology."

Calipari had no comment, though several players defended themselves.

Patterson posted on his Twitter account that "Think me graduating & teammates GPA's speak for themselves ... don't u?"

Cousins followed suit, saying via Twitter, "All respect Coach Knight but I went to my spring classes at UK and finished out strong good gpa even after declaring for draft."

This isn't the first time Knight has aired his distaste for Calipari, claiming in the fall of 2009 that Calipari was a sign of a lack of integrity in college athletics.

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