Bob Knight kicks three players off his new team; a fourth is granted his release


Saturday, March 31st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6



LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) _ It took Bob Knight just seven days to show he's in charge.

Three players were kicked off the Texas Tech basketball team Friday for ``some violation of team rules,'' school president David Schmidly said. A fourth player asked for and was granted his release.

Freshman reserve Brannon Hayes said he and two other players were dismissed from the team because of a misunderstanding during a meeting with Knight earlier this week. The others were identified as Jamal Brown, the Red Raiders' starting guard who averaged 10.6 points per game, and Rodney Bass, another freshman reserve.

Schmidly said he does not receive reports on problems with basketball players and was unaware of which rules or what type of violations occurred.

Bass told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal that the three had been late to practice.

``It was just a misunderstanding in the meeting between the three of us,'' Hayes told the Associated Press. ``All I know is I was just not wanted here next year. Personally, I think the decision was made before I even knew it.''

Brown, Bass and Hayes will keep their scholarships through next year.

The school granted a fourth player, Ronald Hobbs, his release Friday.

Hobbs, a backup guard who averaged 5.5 points per game, said his departure was planned weeks before former coach James Dickey was fired March 9 following the Red Raiders' 9-19 season.

The news caught other players off guard.

``I was surprised to hear that,'' Hobbs said. ``I thought I was by myself.''

Junior center Andy Ellis, who is Brown's roommate, said he didn't know about the dismissals. A number of players said they were having a hard time contacting the point guard Friday night.

``Evidently something happened that coach Knight didn't like or didn't want on the team,'' freshman guard Andre Emmett said, ``so coach Knight did what he had to do.''

If all four players' scholarships are released, Tech's roster shrinks to four scholarship players entering next season. The school can then sign five scholarship players, which leaves the school down four players from the NCAA-allowed 13.

Hayes said he isn't bitter about Knight's decision.

``It's a business,'' Hayes said. ``I'm pretty sure I will find my way. I have a desire to play basketball and that's all I need.''

Hayes said he is leaving the program more mature because of the lessons he learned from Dickey.

``I'm not talking down on coach Knight,'' Hayes said. ``I think coach Knight is a good coach and I'm a coachable player.''

It was former Dickey who recruited the freshman from Port Arthur. And Hayes, 18, who said he will now go elsewhere to live out his basketball dreams, would like to play for Dickey again.

``He is a man of class. He is a man of honor and he always came straight with me,'' Hayes said. ``I came to Tech a little boy and I'm leaving a man. I learned so much from James Dickey. I feel like I should pay him.''

``Jamal might be taking it pretty hard,'' Hayes said. ``Me and Rodney are disappointed in things, but we are young, very talented and have a desire to play basketball. I'm sure once this is out, some other schools will start calling. I guess I will just have to look forward to playing somewhere else.''