Thad Matta evasive about Bob Knight’s advice

Thad Matta spoke at length about advice he got from Bob Knight to improve Ohio State’s defense on Sunday after the Buckeyes win over the Hooisers, but was oddly more tight-lipped about it Monday on the Big Ten teleconference.

Some necessary circumstantial information first. The vast majority of the Indiana press corps was not present for Matta’s post-game press conference on Sunday because Indiana coach Tom Crean held court at the same time in the IU coaches’ locker room. I personally wasn’t aware that Matta had solicited advice from Knight until well after the game when I read this story from Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

However, when I got on the Big Ten teleconference this morning, I had not yet read this story by Bob Baptist, which described the drill itself — which sounds pretty generic, four men defending five to improve defensive movement and rotation — in greater detail. So without knowing that, I asked Matta what the drill was and when Knight provided the advice.

His answer was interesting and complementary to Knight, but it didn’t really address either part of the question.

“I’ve spoken with Coach Knight quite a bit just over time,” Matta said. “We talked about more than defense and just coaching philosophies and different things. I grew up idolizing him as a coach. The one thing I’ve found about him is he’s a man that is truly passionate about the game of basketball and it being played the right way. It’s great to have him as an alum of the university. Just the fact that he’s been back a couple of times and got to spend some time with him there.”

So I asked again what the drill was and asked if it was something he’d been using all year.

“It is,” he said. “But we made a couple of changes to it, and I think it helped the drill.”

Baptist’s story suggests that the drill was implemented this week because OSU had allowed five straight teams to shoot 50 percent or better against them. That would also suggest that Matta and Knight talked this week. But Matta didn’t confirm that, so who knows. But whatever the truth is, it appears to add some spice to the rivalry.


  1. Someone want to explain what the heck is going on with kent benson, bobby knight, dakich and the others ganging up on IU basketball and more specifically Crean? All the while professing their love for PU, OSU, Matta, Painter?

  2. Name one arena of life where loyality is valued these days? We live in a world that thr primary object of adoraton is money! Nuf said!

  3. Parpp1,

    Can you provide specific examples benson, knight, or dakich “ganging up on IU basketball” and/or examples of them “professing their love for PU, OSU, Matta, [and] Painter”?


    OSU is Knight’s alma mater.
    IU fired Knight.
    Matta sought out Knight about a way to improve OSU’s defense in general, not how to beat IU.

    There are more important things to get worked up about.

  4. Don’t get too excited about this until Coach Crean asks RMK for some advice or suggestions and he refuses. Coach Knight wants teams to play the game the way he envisions it being played and I believe he would share imformation with anyone.

  5. Dustin, In his post game, on-camera interview with Bill Raftery, Coach Matta said that ironically he had just talked with Coach Knight a couple days ago and Knight suggested a couple drills for improving OSU’s defense. He said the players didn’t like the drills but they had improved the defense.

    I’m sure that what he told you about talking to Knight over time is true, but he did make a point of mentioning to Raftery that he talked to Knight just a couple days ago about the defensive drills and he called it ironic.

    Coach Knight is an OSU alum and a coach who loves teaching so I don’t find it strange that he would give Matta advice. Matta’s choice of when to mention that, though, does seem to be with purpose.

  6. Coach Bob Knight is the most overated coachs in the history of college basketball. The man coached at Indiana for 20 odd years and only won 3 national chapionships. I know that sounds crazy but think about it. The state of Indiana is BASKETBALL period. Ever watch the movie Tarheels? the movie wildcats? No because there is not one. Even with Creans awful start and all the sanctions I will be very disappointed if he has not won at least 3 titles in 20 years. Sorry but its the truth, you put any honest coach on the IU bench and they should suceed and win titles.

  7. I agree with Boomer.

    I’m not a big fan of Knight the bullying person (as opposed to Knight the brilliant coach), but I’m not bothered that Knight would help OSU (his alma mater) or Matta.

    As to Matta, it seems to me that Matta is either needlessly abrasive in raising it when and as he did, or clueless.

    I don’t know enough about Matta or his relationship with Cream to make a guess as to which.

  8. benson going on some puke basketball show, saying go boilers, wearing black and gold, sitting behind painter at games, yeah, i guess hes a strong IU alum and supporter

  9. parpp1, Mike K & Jason,

    Mark Montieth of 1070 The Fan Radio did an interesting interview recently with Kent. You can listen to the podcast at He talks about a lot of things including his interest in Purdue basketball. Just scroll down to the Feb 13 podcast — “One on One” with Mark Montieth – 2-13-11″ .

  10. First, Ohio state did not need Knight’s help to beat IU.
    Second, is anyone surprised that a rift might remain between IU and Knight and Knight’s most loyal player alums? Come on people, all will not be forgotten or forgiven for a long time. IU’s former President’s (may he rest in peace)mismanagement of Knight, his termination and the subsequent coaches he hired began the the process of turning a once great program into the debacle it now is. Anyone that helped build IU basketball to that level of success must still be bitter at how their once great program has been damaged.

  11. In response to podunker and others, I was a Knight supporter for years and still appreciate ALL that he did for IU. But, Knight caused his own termination after many “don’t do that again or else” warnings. He continued and IU finally got around to “or else.”

  12. Doug, how many coaches have won more national titles? 20? 30? LOL Don’t let your Knight bullying emotions rule Bob the Knight the coach emotions, sorry, dude, he’s one of the best, his won-loss record shows it, titles show it, period. And after reading your post again, I found it a bit delusional. I’m a Crean fan & a die hard IU bb fan in Lafayette, IN (LOL) but I would not go out on the limb that says Crean will win 3 in 20 years. Indiana “is not” the only state that puts out basketball talent & it would be stupid to think if the state of Indiana accidentally had the top 5 HS players in the country, why would they all choose one college? You also need a “good coach” to bring this talent together, I’m pretty certain they couldn’t do it w/o one. One can only look at Coach K’s record, he has 4 titles (1 more than Knight) & has coached how many years? Regardless of what state the talent is in, at least a cpl of the best players in the country each year go to Duke.

    You can research recruiting on any of the major sports websites to see the top 100 or 150 high school players in the country..

  13. Ohh and as for the movie? It’s hard to say what really prompted that movie. Sure, we have our history here, but I’m sure other states do to. I mean, shouldn’t there be a movie on John Wooden and the UCLA Bruins utter domination of college basketball for 12 years? 8 straight national titles, 10 in 12 years?

  14. (jason,) Kent Benson is dating a lady that works at Purdue University. I suppose he’s all grown up now so he’s kinda put all those childish ways behind us..things like PU sucks, PU players are a bunch of panzies, kinda stuff like that.

  15. Good point Chet, Larry look at the talent the state of Indiana has year in and year out. You don’t think that once a good honest coach gets in and gets his feet settled and starts bringing in two or three of these in state players that he shouldn’t win 3 in 20 some years??? Indiana has always had this talent its just that hypocrit knight chased alot of it away. I would be ashamed as a coach to have the in state players Indiana has and not win at leats three. If we didnt have knight them 20 years we would probably have a dynasty going right now. imagine what coach K would have done at IU over that same period.

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