Bob Knight Visits Pacers

Wednesday, November 8th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Bob Knight was back in coaching, at least for one day.

Following through on a preseason pledge, new Pacers coach Isiah Thomas brought in his former coach at Indiana for a 30-minute tutorial on offense.

``I just wanted him to share his thoughts ... moving without the ball, reading screens, reading cutters,'' said Thomas, who led Knight's Hoosiers to the 1981 NCAA championship.

Knight was fired in September for violating a ``zero-tolerance'' behavior policy by grabbing an Indiana freshman who greeted him by his first name.

The Pacers appeared to listen intently as Knight moved players into various positions on the court and quietly instructed them.

Asked if he had learned anything during Tuesday's session with Knight, Sam Perkins smiled and said, ``You think I'm going to say `No'? C'mon now.''

Perkins, at 39 the oldest player in the NBA, was on the 1984 U.S. Olympic team coached by Knight.

``Of course I learned something. I think the younger guys were kind of in awe of him, and trying to listen to him at the same time,'' Perkins said. ``Everybody did pick up on something. Even if they didn't, his presence made a big difference.''

Jalen Rose, whose Michigan teams played against the Hoosiers, said he never thought he would be coached by Knight.

``He said some enlightening things that I think will help our team,'' Rose said. ``Basically, they were the same things Isiah talks about — thinking when you've got the ball, thinking about the next play, slowing yourself down, not playing at the speed of the defense and playing at your own speed.''

Reggie Miller added, ``We got a good lesson today. You're never too old to learn.''

Knight joked with a few of the players and told Rose and Terry Mills they would have become better players had they gone to Indiana instead of Michigan. And after working with guard Travis Best on passing to teammates as they cut off of screens, Knight offered a gentle warning.

``We've spent a lot of time on this, now don't screw it up,'' Knight said.

Knight left the Conseco Fieldhouse practice court by a side door. Later, he had lunch with team president Donnie Walsh and the coaching staff.

``I thought it was very positive,'' Walsh said. ``It's appropriate because Bobby Knight brought a lot of older coaches back when he coached. Now that he has free time, it's appropriate that a guy he coached would bring him back to help players.''