Knight Talks Baseball Playoffs At Basketball Media Day


Thursday, October 18th 2007, 8:59 am
By: News On 6


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Only Texas Tech coach Bobby Knight could turn the Big 12 basketball media day into a discussion about the baseball playoffs.

Knight, who is the winningest college coach with 890 victories, grew up in Ohio and is a close friend of St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa.

``The Cardinals are out of it, we've got to root for the (Cleveland) Indians,'' Knight began his session Wednesday. ``(Indians manager) Eric Wedge is my next best friend. Anybody got any questions about the American League Championship Series?''

Knight spent most of his 15 minutes fielding questions about baseball, and deflected the only question about his Red Raiders basketball team.

How important is it for the Indians to win Game 5 on Thursday at Cleveland and not go back to Fenway Park?

``I think it would be damn important,'' Knight said.

If La Russa leaves the Cardinals, would he consider taking the Kansas City Royals managerial job, which is open?

``I think it will depend on what he thinks would be the best situation for him to have a team that can defend, which might leave the Royals out,'' Knight said.

The Royals have finished last in their division the past four years, while La Russa managed the Cardinals to the 2006 World Series title and to the playoffs in six of the past eight years.

If the Indians advance to the World Series, can they defeat the Colorado Rockies?

``If I knew whether the Indians could beat the Rockies or not, George Bush would be asking me how the hell do you get out of Iraq right now if I was that smart,'' Knight replied.

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YOUNGEST RECRUIT:

While NCAA rules prohibit coaches from announcing recruits before they sign, Baylor coach Scott Drew happily announced a 2025 signee.

Drew's wife, Kelly, went into labor Wednesday and was taken to a Waco, Texas, hospital. The Baylor delegation left early so the coach could return home for the birth. The Drews, who have a daughter, Mackenzie, were expecting their first son.

``We'll sign him today,'' Drew promised.

The Bears return all five starters from last season's team that finished 15-16, but were picked ninth in the coaches' preseason poll.

``If you're picked low, it can give you motivation,'' Drew said. ``We feel this year we have the chance and potential to be a very good team. We need to make sure we take care of things on the court.''

The Bears will be a guard-oriented team with Curtis Jerrells, who was named to the preseason All-Big 12 first team; Henry Dugat, who shot a team-leading 40.6 percent in 3-pointers; Aaron Bruce, a three-year starter; sophomore Tweety Carter and highly touted freshman LaceDarius Dunn, a two-time Louisiana high school player of the year.

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NEW BOSS FOR DOC:

Nebraska athletic director Steve Pederson hired Doc Sadler in August 2006 to coach the Cornhuskers. On Monday, Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman fired Pederson and the next day named Hall of Fame football coach Tom Osborne the interim athletic director.

It is an uneasy time in Nebraska.

``In college athletics, I don't think any of us need to be very comfortable,'' Sadler said. ``There is always change. Obviously, Chancellor Perlman thought that was what the university needed at this time and made that change. Tom is definitely the face of Nebraska.''

Sadler said he has not talked to Osborne since taking the job, but has talked to Pederson a couple of times.

``Steve is a very upbeat person,'' Sadler said. ``He's concerned about his family and how they'll handle things, but Steve will be fine.''

So is Sadler uncomfortable about the guy who hired him being fired?

``I don't think so,'' Sadler said. ``They have, obviously, hired somebody that knows the lay of the land pretty good up there. I think he can help it. There is probably not anybody who cares more about it than Tom, so that can be nothing but a positive.''

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STAYING IN THE STATE:

Jeff Bzdelik, the new Colorado coach, spent the previous two years as coach at Air Force Academy and was head coach of the Denver Nuggets from 2002-04.

``I haven't really bounced around,'' Bzdelik said. ``I've stayed in the same house, just changed direction on I-25. I love the state of Colorado. I didn't want to move my family and this opportunity presented itself and I'm still in the same home. My son's a freshman at CU, and my daughter is still in her same high school. My wife loves where we live and I do, too. Hopefully, I can stay there for a long time, but of course to do that you need to win games.''

Bzdelik replaces Ricardo Patton, who was Colorado's coach for the past 12 seasons. Colorado returns four starters, including senior Richard Roby, who averaged 17.3 points last season, from a team that finished last in the conference with a 3-13 record.

``I have both eyes open,'' Bzdelik said. ``I understand we're looking up at the league.''