College Basketball: Knight joins ESPN
Bob Knight isn’t the type to admit to stage fright. Anyway, he insists he’s spent the last four decades practicing the skills he’ll need for his new job.
The Hall of Fame coach, who joined ESPN as a guest studio analyst during last season’s NCAA tournament, is expanding his role to include game commentary.
Asked during a conference call Wednesday whether he’s nervous about trying to react quickly on the air, Knight cut off the questioner.
“I just spent 42 years figuring out instantly what the (heck) was going on out there,” he said. “What I’m trying to do during the course of a broadcast of a game is going to be exactly what I tried to do when I was coaching: What is happening? Why is it happening? We don’t like that happening ó how can we change it?”
Knight was already lobbying ESPN executives for the chance to call games during his stint in the studio last spring. He’ll work a Thursday night game with Brent Musberger each week starting Jan. 15, and will call some nonconference matchups on other days with Dan Shulman.
His first game will be a 2K Sports Classic semifinal next Thursday. Knight will also appear as an analyst on College GameDay, SportsCenter and ESPN Radio.
Fellow ESPN analyst Jay Bilas, who has observed Knight running practices and watched game tape with him, vouched for his ability to quickly and concisely explain a concept.
“He can point out things that after he points it out, you wonder how you missed it and why you didn’t see it because when he’d explain it, it seemed so simple,” Bilas said.
Knight, who won three national titles at Indiana, resigned as coach of Texas Tech on Feb. 4.
Just don’t try to tell him he’s now a member of the media, a group with which he often had a contentious relationship. He’s just “a coach that’s talking about basketball,” Knight said.
Knight mentioned Curt Gowdy as an announcer he admired, but said he wasn’t trying to pattern himself after any other commentators.
“I hope I’m not particularly like anybody,” he said. “I hope I’m like me. I hope what I do would be something that would be unique to the way I think about the game, the way I look at the game.”