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Knight, after criticism, to call Kentucky games
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On October 14, 2012 @ 7:59 pm In All,Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Michael Hiestand, USA TODAY Sports
Here’s how you try to be edgy even when you’re the establishment.
College basketball’s best-known TV analyst last season chose not to mention by name the team cruising to the national championship. ESPN’s Bob Knight referred to Kentucky only as that “team from the SEC.”
Which created an opportunity for the provocative move ESPN will formally announce Monday:
Knight will be reassigned to call SEC games — alongside play-by-play announcer Rece Davis on Thursday nights — including Kentucky action. But Knight won’t be at games in which things might get a little too edgy.
ESPN spokesman Mike Humes on Sunday said that Knight will work Kentucky games — but not ones on the Wildcats’ home court.
Knight was unavailable for comment Sunday but said in an ESPN statement that “the SEC has a lot of good matchups, good play and good coaching. I’m looking forward to watching and describing these games.”
Although that comment couldn’t have been more diplomatic if it had been vetted by the U.S. State Department, ESPN is showing that TV assignments can create their own subplots. While Knight last spring eventually went back to using the K word, the animosity wasn’t just a passing whim — especially when it comes to Kentucky coach John Calipari and the subject of Wildcat players leaving early for the pros.
In 2009, Knight cited Calipari as not being a good influence in college basketball. And last year he apologized to Calipari after erroneously claiming several Wildcat players hadn’t attended spring semester classes the previous year. But in that apology, Knight said his “overall point is that ‘one-and-dones’ are not healthy for college basketball.”
Fran Fraschilla will replace Knight to call Big 12 games with Brent Musburger on the marquee prime-time Big East/Big 12 doubleheaders that ESPN hypes as Big Monday basketball. Fraschilla, who has only worked a couple games with Musburger, says he’s “thrilled” to be teamed with the veteran.
“Although he won’t like this, I grew up listening to him as a kid. … He’s the ultimate set-up man,” Fraschilla said of Musburger.
On how Calipari and Big Blue Nation might react to Knight calling the Wildcats … [For more on Bob Knight, after criticism, to call Kentucky games, click here.]
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