In the latest example of his longstanding distaste for Kentucky basketball, Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight said last weekend that UK's five starters in the 2010 NCAA Tournament did not attend class that spring semester.
The statement seemed a product of Knight's well-known dislike of so-called one-and-done players who turn professional after one college season. But it was easy to see Knight was mistaken in UK's case since one starter, Patrick Patterson, was a junior en route to graduating in three years. Another, then-sophomore Darius Miller, just completed his junior season for Kentucky.
"Kentucky, year before last, started five players in the NCAA Tournament games that had not been to class that semester," Knight said, according to the YouTube video shot at the Honeywell Center in Wabash, Ind., on Saturday. "And that's that one-and-done philosophy that we have now."
A gasp can be heard from the audience when Knight mistakenly says Kentucky's five starters did not attend class, a reference to how one-and-done players are obligated only to stay eligible through the fall semester to play an entire season.
Kentucky did have four one-and-done players on the 2009-10 team. Freshmen John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton were part of an unprecedented five first-round picks from UK in the 2010 NBA Draft. The fifth was Patterson.
UK Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart issued a statement in response to Knight's comments.
"The University of Kentucky, our student-athletes and their families take great offense to the blatantly erroneous comments made by Bob Knight that 'Kentucky, year before last, started five players in the NCAA Tournament games that had not been to class that semester,'" Barnhart said. "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 (Academic Progress Rate) 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."
Patterson tweeted a response on Monday to Knight's comment. "Ha I'm not even gonna comment on such [expletive] (excuse my French)," he tweeted. "Think me graduating & teammates GPA's speak for themselves ... don't u?"
The YouTube posting of Knight's talk last weekend also included criticism of UK Coach John Calipari. When someone in the audience asked Knight if he thought Calipari was good for college basketball, he said, "I'm sure if I was a Kentucky fan, I would."
It's difficult to hear, but it appeared a follow-up question asked if Knight himself considered Calipari good for college basketball. The reply: "Well, I'm not a Kentucky fan."
Examples of Knight's dislike of Kentucky basketball include cuffing then coach Joe B. Hall on the head during a game in the 1970s; lecturing iconic radio play-by-play man Cawood Ledford about UK's rule violations in the 1980s; and calling C.M. Newton the "Director of Corrections" when he became Director of Athletics in 1989.