By Gary Parrish
Stephen F. Austin won at Lamar earlier this week.
The final score was 62-52.
"It was just a bad game," said Lamar senior Mike James, at which point his coach chimed in.
"OK, let's go," Pat Knight said while basically shooing James from the press conference. "You don't have a clue what it takes to win."
And it only got better from there.
"I'm unhappy with these seniors," Knight said. "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. ... To come into a game like this with no emotion, just flat, is terrible. It's unheard of. And I'm not gonna protect them."
And so he didn't.
"We've had problems with these guys on the court, off the court, classroom, drugs, being late for stuff. ... You can't do all that BS and then just expect to be a good team and win games," Knight added. "And if people have a problem with me being harsh about it, I don't care. I came here to clean something up."
Let me be the first to say I don't have a problem with Knight being harsh about it.
I love it.
I mean, I absolutely love it.
I talk to coaches all the time and lots of them hate their teams. They scout like hell, put in good stuff, then watch their idiot players act like idiots and screw things up. It's maddening. But so few ever publicly hold their players accountable. Tom Izzo will do it. Bob Huggins, too. But Pat Knight just took it to a new level, and if he's spent his entire first year at Lamar struggling to get the attention of the players he inherited I'm guessing he finally has their attention now.
So good for him.
I wish more coaches would follow his lead.
This is not the NBA, after all, where coaches are paid to deal with egotistical professionals. This is college basketball. And if we're gonna spend time talking about the so-called father-son relationship that exists between a college coach and a college player, what's wrong with a college coach holding his college players accountable the same way a father might hold his sons accountable?
Nothing, I say.
Pat Knight just made it clear to his players that he's finished covering for them.
I mess up, it's on me.
You mess up, it's on you.
There's a lesson there to be learned.
And I bet his problematic seniors have finally learned it.
"These kids are stealing money being on scholarship with their approach," Knight said. "They need to grow up."