If you're near a TV around 8:40 (ET) this morning, it might be worth dialing up ESPN to witness Bobby Knight's unofficial debut as a basketball commentator. Knight will join Mike & Mike (there's a sentence I never thought I'd type) for a little NCAA hoops discussion. It's all a prelude to Knight's official debut as an analyst tonight between the two late games in the Big East Conference tournament.
The irony of all this aside, I'm very interested to know which Bobby Knight we're going to get here. Because this has the potential to be very interesting indeed. Despite all of his bluster and reputation for candor, Knight was never actually critical of opposing players or coaches; at least in public. Unless they were Dale Brown or Jim Boeheim. So my guess is that what we're going to see from Knight on ESPN is a lot of polite criticism, endless telestrator breakdowns, and a few war stories. And that would be a shame.
Because what we could get from him would be rants on how no one plays good defense anymore, how the game has been ruined by the shot clock and the three-point line, how coaches have become television personalities instead of teachers, and how all five UCLA starters travel every time they touch the ball.
San Francisco Bay Area residents may remember Brad Duggan, who coached City College of San Francisco for several years (Indiana center Dean Garrett played there) and had a brief broadcasting career with KTVU-TV. Duggan was a hard-nosed, old-school coach in the Knight mold, and was never afraid to embarrass a player or coach on the air for lack of fundamentals. If a team played horseshit defense or a coach didn't know what he was doing, Duggan wasn't afraid to point it out — he was the anti-Dickie V, I guess one could say — and it was glorious to watch. I can only imagine what he would say about Eddie Sutton at USF.
That's the kind of Knight that would have me glued to the TV, but alas, I don't think that's what we're going to get. We're probably going to see a kinder, gentler Bobby Knight ... old and dottering, perhaps even in danger of taking a tumble al la John Wooden. Why, when you see him with Greenberg and Golic this morning, he may even be petting a kitten. I hope he proves me wrong, but I think he's just going to be a big pussy.
UPDATE: Mike & Mike segment just ended. So far, I'm right.