Visibly riled over a dismal loss, Lamar University Head Basketball Coach Pat Knight never minced words in a post-game press conference that has now gone viral.
After dropping a critical conference game Wednesday to Stephen F. Austin in a 62-52 loss, the first-year head coach lashed out, placing blame on his senior players.
Knight’s heated entrance to the presser set the tone for what would become a more-than 8 minute rant, ushering a player from the interview. “Alright, let’s go. I’m next because you don’t have a clue of what it takes to win. Let’s go. Git.”
Video of the tantrum and transcripts of the interview are being picked up by national media outlets and bloggers across the country.
The LU Cardinals and the SFA Lumberjacks entered the game tied for third place in the Southland Conference regular season standings. With a win, Lamar would clinch a higher seed in the conference tournament.
Knight’s frustration, he said, was not about “Xs and Os.”
“We’ve got the worst group of seniors right now that I’ve ever been associated with. Their mentality is awful. Their attitude is awful. It’s been their M.O. for the last three years.”
Choosing not to confine a critique of his players’ poor performance to the locker room, the coach called the loss “a disgrace.”
Knight said his six seniors played without heart and emotion. “We have a bunch of tin men out there right now. They’ve got no heart.”
After the critical face-off in front of a home crowd, Knight said his team has posted similar performances all season and wouldn’t be surprised if his team loses their remaining games.
“I feel sorry for the fans. I feel sorry for this school. I mean these kids are stealing money by being on scholarship with their approach to things.”
He said his current roster presents dilemmas he’s faced with players before his tenure at Lamar.
“We’ve had problems with these guys off the court, on the court, classroom, drugs, being late for stuff. All that stuff correlates together if you’re going to win games. You just can’t do all that B.S. and then expect to be a good team and win games. And if people have a problem with me being so harsh about it, I don’t care. I came here to clean something up.”
Knight says he’s never been around a team with so many problems.
“Usually you have one or two guys that are a problem. We have an infestation of guys that are hard to coach.”
Even with the loss against the Lumberjacks, LU maintains an overall winning record of 17-11.
Lamar senior guard Mike James led the Cardinals with 15 points, but was just 6-of-22 from the floor in the game.
“I think we just missed shots we normally make,” James told LamarCardinals.com. “Sometimes that happens. I was missing shots I normally make. I just don’t know. It was the worst game I’ve ever played individually. Twenty eight percent shooting as a team is horrible,” James said.
Moving forward, Knight explained his recruiting will focus on a better personality and mindset for his team. He said 8 new players were joining the team next year and would have a different attitude. Knight later referenced his collegiate career as an athlete under this coaching of his legendary father, Bob Knight.
“When I played, if you acted like the way some of these guys did, you got shoved in a locker with a forearm up against your neck and told, ‘You don’t do that. That’s not how we do things here at Indiana.’ And that’s what we need.”
After jumping out to an early 5-4 lead, Lamar missed their next 18 field goal attempts and handed the first half to SFA. Poor shooting performance is something Knight says he’s seen all season.
“These guys have got to learn. They’ve got to grow up. They don’t need to be coddled. They don’t need to be babysat. That’s a problem with society. That’s why we have problems out there, because people don’t make kids accountable.”
Knight came to Lamar in April 2011 after 10 seasons on the staff of Texas Tech University, including the last three as head coach. The approach of the Lamar seniors is something he isn’t used to.
“And I don’t think they get it. If you act this way in the real world, you’re going to be homeless, without a job.”
In a separate post-game interview, SFA Head Basketball Coach Danny Kaspar referred to Lamar players as “a good and talented basketball team.”
Now in fourth place, LU will next face Sam Houston State at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
“This team is going to be remembered for what they do in the next three weeks. This is going to be the team that everybody’s glad these kids are gone. Or hey, they got us jump started in the right direction,” Knight said.
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the views of KTRE/KLTV-TV or Raycom Media. They are solely the opinion of the author. All content © Copyright 2012 Lane Luckie