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October 19, 2006

Bob Knight


PETER IRWIN: We will get started with Texas Tech University and Coach Knight. Coach Knight said he will go straight to questions. Coach, we will let you take the questions.

Q. Hey, Bob, good morning. Wanted to ask you, you talked a little bit about the other coaches have you coached against. I wonder with the fact that there are six new coaches in the league this year, do you think that's going to change the style or does that change your approach?
COACH KNIGHT: I think every coach brings with him something that's a little different than the previous coach. I think where I have been, when coaches have come in after me, they have done something a little different. When I have gone in after coaches, we all replace a coach at some point. And we are all replaced at some point in one way or another.
And so I think there are always changes. But basketball is a game that has some constant denominators in it. The quality of the defense, effectiveness of the offense. And so those things really never change. And I don't think it is any -- there are only so many things you can do with basketball. And whatever is done by a new coach is usually something that has been done by previous coaches, whether it is there or some place else. I don't think that's much of a change.

Q. Coach, how much are you going to have to rely on the new guys this year, do you think?
COACH KNIGHT: I think right now that we have a really good blend of players coming back that have played a lot and new guys that are really anxious to play. So hopefully that gives us an internal competitiveness that I think is really necessary. And I think for us to be in any way competitive in this league, we have got to get a lot of play from first-year players.

Q. Which of the junior college guys do you think will make the biggest impact for you this year?
COACH KNIGHT: We have only practiced five times. I have no idea. We have got some kids that we think can really help us, obviously. But in recruiting, you only recruit kids that you think can really help you. Sometimes only half of them do or none of them do or all of them do. So that changes from one year to the next.
At this point, I couldn't even begin to think who would come to the forefront among the new players that we have.

Q. Just a follow-up. The new 7-footer whose name I can't pronounce, is he over the knee injury? Is he back in play?
COACH KNIGHT: You mean the big guy? That's how I pronounce it. Esmir, he had some real back problems his last year in junior college and he is an absolutely great kid. He is a kid that comes back out after practice, it is a kid that -- you know, there are some kids that you want to work with for a long time, and every once in a while there is a kid you don't want to work with at all. This is one of those kids that you want to as a coach, do everything you can conceivably do to help this kid become a good player, not just because it helps your team, but it is something the kid wants so badly.

Q. Coach, how about Darryl Dora. What kind of improvement do you think he can make this year, how much drive he has?
COACH KNIGHT: I am not sure how much improvement he can make, but it better be considerable.

Q. Bob, you have coached against Bob Huggins. What kind of impact do you think he will have at Kansas State?
COACH KNIGHT: I really like Huggins as a coach because he is tough-minded and his teams play well defensively, and he isn't afraid to go out on a limb. If things aren't going well, he just tells kids, You got to play better.
I really like that in a coach. He is not sitting there thinking to himself, Well, this won't look good if I get up and get on this kid's ass or whatever, and I like that, because he is really working to make these kids the best players they can be. And I think he has shown that throughout the time he has been in coaching.
Wait a minute. I admire that in Huggins because I have kind of have always been reluctant to get up and raise hell with a kid during my career (laughter).
I thought that was a good line.

Q. Bob, Kansas State's almost sold out its games with the hiring of Huggins. Can you recall when you were hired at Texas Tech and what kind of excitement and enthusiasm there was around there at that time?
COACH KNIGHT: Keep one thing in mind now, Kansas State has always had pretty good crowds. And we had a really good increase in season ticket sales and attendance when we started. And I think that's a neat thing for the players, the coach, the school, to be enthusiastic about something like that.

Q. Are you concerned about the impact the national attention will have on your team or do you think they will embrace it?
COACH KNIGHT: I think whatever impact this thing brings about will be like a fly trying to bomb New York. I don't think it will have any effect whatsoever on our players.

Q. I wonder if you can talk about how Jarrius Jackson's role has evolved, the new guys that come in and how do you think he will be this season?
COACH KNIGHT: Let's limit it to Jackson because I think that we had to play Jackson too much last year. We really had a problem with another guard to play with J and we try a variety of different approaches to that. And consequently not being able to settle on somebody that could do what we wanted done at that other guard spot, it is almost impossible to rest Jackson. And I think it had a tremendous effect on his play as a defensive player.
A kid has to have rest the way the game is played, particularly today. And one of the things that we hope we have with what we have got this year is a couple of other guards that can give us a little bit of a rotation out there that enables Jackson to play without being tired. And I think there were some nights when right down to the end he is playing just as hard offensively as he was in the beginning of the ball game, but created some real problems for us on the defensive end.
And I have talked to him a lot about that over the course of the summer and into what we are doing now. And I think the key to him being a truly outstanding, all-around player will be his defensive play. He has been a very, very good offensive player all the time in the three years he has played for us. I want to see him be as complete a guard as there is anywhere in the country, and for that, as I said, he has got to be a much stronger defensive player than he has been.
The difference in our roster this year is such that it really enables him to play in such a way that it isn't like I have got to take a blow and chooses to do that on the defensive end, because that's the area that we have to improve most in. And the two guys we have coming back that have got to show the greatest improvement in that area to play are really Jackson and Zeno.
PETER IRWIN: Coach, they went easy on you this year.
COACH KNIGHT: They know I would never do anything but easy. They ask questions I don't want to answer, I just don't answer them.
PETER IRWIN: We wish you the best of luck for the season. Thank you very much, coach.
COACH KNIGHT: Peter, you are really a good guy to handle these things because you have an understanding of coaches and the press and you have just been good as long as I have been here. Always a pleasure to spend time.
PETER IRWIN: Thank you, coach.
COACH KNIGHT: Everybody lies a little bit.

End of FastScripts...

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