What A.J. Guyton would say to IU’s basketball team

A.J. Guyton, the superb combo-guard who was a 2000 Co-Big Ten MVP and First-Team All-American at Indiana for Bob Knight, returns Friday to Bloomington for his induction into the Indiana University Athletic Hall of Fame.

Guyton remains a Knight fan and, in September, issued a heartfelt Facebook post inviting his coach back for the induction ceremony.

Since Guyton and teammates underwent some turmoil toward the tail end of Knight’s tenure in Bloomington, he was asked Wednesday what he might tell the current Hoosier team, itself currently embroiled in different but daunting off-court difficulties.

Guyton’s response on that topic follows, in full:

“I’d probably talk a bit about appreciating and embracing the moment, the precious moments they’re living now. They’re in college. They won’t get these days back.

“I’ll never forget when Pat Knight told us, my junior year, that for a lot of us it’d be  be the last team you ever play on. That really hit home to me. You don’t realize it till you get older. It’s hard to process when you’re younger.

“Those kids, what they’re going through right now, they don’t understand it —  how important it is to uphold the Indiana tradition, beyond just enjoying it, and to prepare to win.

“It’s relevant to them today, whether they understand that or not. A lot of kids don’t understand or appreciate the history of the game or the history of the school they attend. They say, ‘It’s me, and this is the first time this has happened.’ But it isn’t about them, and hundreds of players have been through it before.

“The one-and-done thing these days is part of it. It affects it, in terms of not having leadership in place on the team. Right now, Cody Zeller would be an Indiana senior. He’d be a leader, the guy they all look up to.

“Prior Indiana teams, certainly when I played, always had seasoned four-year guys who knew what was what, on and off the court. They knew the difference between right and wrong. They knew how to prepare. And you’d learn all that from the upperclassmen. Now the guys counted on for leadership are sophomores or freshmen, guys who just got there themselves.

“That puts a lot more pressure on the coaching staff to bridge that leadership gap. The players have to take ownership. If you know big-time college coaching, the coaches have a lot more on their plate, a lot more things to do than to be able to follow kids around all night.

“I’d talk to them about the dangers of social media, especially when you’re trying to get a program back on track. They didn’t have the best season last year. Now they’re really under the microscope. And if you do things that are going to keep you from succeeding, keep you from winning, it’s going to get worse.

“I’d try to give them good tips on how to get through it, and how to make things work. We had transfers, distractions, all that stuff. But you have to focus on your individual responsibilities and never forget who you’re representing. It isn’t just yourself or your family, but a whole community of people who care. And you don’t want to jeopardize that.

“Doing things the right way matters. People are always going to complain about the wins and losses, if the team struggles a bit, but if you continue to represent the right way, people will still revere and respect you.”

40 comments

  1. maybe crean could bring guyton in to talk to the team. always one of my favorite iu players. other former players have been weighing in including cody zeller.

    in my opinion, zeller forfeited his right to have any say about any indiana team, now or in the future. if he cared that much about indiana basketball and bringing it back to glory, he would be here now. instead he sold out. good for him. he got paid. i get that. but he could have been the greatest hoosier of them all. he should just shut up and cash his paychecks because that’s what he’s about.

    that being said, i really was a big fan. if he left early because crean is a lousy coach or otherwise moronic, that i can understand. still, he missed the big picture of what his place in indiana history could have been. he traded that for some coin, thus he’s just another guy who passed through.

  2. he brought us a national championship. still….can never be considered the greatest or favorite hoosier of all time. but better than zeller.

  3. coachv,

    It’s pretty obvious that you have a very narrow mindset. While you say CZ bailed on them, the vast majority of people realize that he a) completely sold out to the IU program by committing when they were awful and B) stayed a year longer than 95 percent of players in his position do. He has actually put in hard work for the program. He laid his future on the line by coming to IU in the first place. Since you declare that he has no right to comment or associate with the program, I’m curious as to what gives you the right to? What have you sacrificed to make it a better program? Were you a walk on who did all the grunt work? Were you a manager who put long hours in doing the laundry? Were you even on the student athletic board to help prepare the Hall for the games? Did you even go to IU? Did you graduate? CZ has.

  4. Not real familiar with Mr. Guyton. Was out of state for many years, knee deep in work and family. Remember one game, from that time frame. At Kentucky. IU ahead by 18-20 points and with 3-4 minutes to go, the local station switched to another game. Unfortunately son learned a new word.

    Guyton sounds like someone IU and Coach Knight should be proud of.

    Coach V. agree, but Cody and Vic are a big part of IU history. I can’t really blame them, but yes, I think they could have become almost legendary. Now Vonley, to me, it’s like he was never here and had little if any impact on IU history.

  5. i did graduate from iu and that is what led me to become a coach. if i had the talent of zeller i would have stayed all four years and finished what i started.

  6. 15 Miles North:

    I think they’ve generally done them on Friday nights before a Saturday home football game, because they then introduce the inductees to the Memorial Stadium crowd. I think that’s been the regular routine over the years. A.J. told me he was staying through the football game Saturday, so I presume the introductions to the football crowd will ensue.

  7. coachv
    Easy to say when you, like the other 99% of us did not have that talent. Completely different story when the situation is a reality. But to my original point, Zeller (who did the before mentioned for IU), will have more of a right than any of us ever will because not only is he an IU graduate, but he did sacrifice for 2 years and was the centerpiece of the team that laid the foundation for many Hoosier teams to come.

  8. Why is putting on the candy stripes now a sacrifice? Playing under those five banners should bring goosebumps every night/afternoon you step onto McCracken. Staring up to every seat in the house full and frenzied is a privilege found at very few universities…That euphoria will never die…It will outlive every coach and every passing memory of our most fondly thought of heroes of our fondest storied day.

    Zeller? He’s was one year outside a banner…Teamed up with Vonleh would have been an unstoppable force…His game was not ready for the NBA…It may never be fully ready for the NBA. The Bloomington campus on the night of an NCAA title after 30 years in waiting…? I get goosebumps just dreaming of being a player under that moonlight…And what a tribute the best and most loving basketball fans in the country…Too bad.

  9. Perhaps my favorite IU player moment was AJ spending 10-15 minutes with my 10-year-old son meticulously demonstrating to him how to shoot free throws.

    He rarely missed one after that.

  10. I haven’t been to many games in the last few years, but I did attend one when Maurice Creek was sidelined from his knee injuries…I hung around long after the game was over…A few families with their kids were just hanging around taking in Assembly Hall in its eerie peacefulness and silent mystique….I was watching Don Fischer finishing up his postgame routines….Suddenly, Mo Creek came out of the locker room and just started talking with a young boy(probably 10-12 years old…About the same age as Chet’s son when he met Guyton)….Mo was on his crutches…His NBA days were ripped away…Yet, he was so kind and giving to that young boy…Didn’t appear to be a bitter bone in Mo’s body…And the young boy was simply overjoyed that he got to meet a great player that will grow into his lifetime hero…You could tell Mo was decent through and through….I just took it all in and realized how powerful Assembly Hall can still be without the deafening cheers and the cameras….and the weight of, often. unreasonable expectations. Boys will be boys…But when I watched Mo that night, he grew instantly into a man before my eyes…He grabbed my heart and I found myself a child again…

    And to Crean’s credit…Mo Creek was his very first Hoosier recruit. Exceptional young man.

  11. Did I just say “to Crean’s credit”….? Corona Extra must have went straight to my head….I’m growing into quite the lightweight.

    Mark it down, sports fans. Thursday, November 6, 2014 – 4:35 AM EST. The day the Scoop stood still….

  12. Can’t have everybody hate me….I want to cheer on my favorite basketball team this year…I want us to forgive these kids for their digressions…And I’m having this feeling that only hits me once in a blue moon….Maybe it’s the Corona…Anyway, I’m having this feeling that this Hoosier team is going to go deep….beyond the Sweet 16. Don’t ask me how it’s going to happen without a dominant inside game, but I’m just having that damn feeling.

  13. I’m not a wear a players jersey kind of guy… I think you grow out of that when you graduate HS. I have a few pieces of IU clothing, a Rangers cap, a Celtics T, and a Patriots T, but I certainly am not traipsing around with “Brady” on my back…

    That being said, I always choose the number 25 for any of my various men’s league jerseys because of my everlasting respect for Mr. Guyton.

  14. Obviously a coach should be able to get a read on a player that he is recruiting and in building a relationship over time regarding that player’s character. Whenever I get to know someone I can tell pretty quickly what type of character that person has, for the most part by their general attitude and actions,. I’m saying that Coach Crean may have been very excited about the talent and potential of certain recruits and overlooked some red flags. When 6 of the 13 players on your team have been involved in illegal activity in the past 12 months this is a theory worthy of consideration.

  15. Isiah Thomas was the best player I ever saw play here at Indiana University, and I started watching in 1976 (I am told the 1975-1976 was better than the undefeated NCAA Champions but I was not here then. Masterful coaching by Bob Knight in the 1981 season led to the greatest, most one-sided NCAA tournament run I can remember, capped by the Maryland game where Landon Turner showcased his amazing talent (thanks to the passing of Isiah Thomas). Cody Zeller was a great player and made the right decision to go pro. If only Cody had chosen N.C. we would not have to be dealing with CTC now.

  16. i find nothing wrong with any of the behavior of our players, with the exception of hanner’s dui. 90% of college kids drink and smoke pot. big deal. why are we holding players to a different standard. kids are smoking and drinking on every team in the country. sometimes you get caught.

    “we are indiana! we do it right!” what a crock. most schools do it right. probably more so. indiana is not special. we are the same as other schools. what makes us special is a rabid fan base perhaps. we put up with a bully, a-hole coach for decades because he won games. we had the sampson era. how many other schools had that? get over your pious selves and stop being such hypocrites.

    troy williams’ poor mother had enough and evidently unleashed a tirade against iu fans for castigating her son. who can blame her? he is not a villian, thug or crminal. by all accounts he is a stand up guy. when you caught your child drinking or smoking did you throw him out of the house. if your son had a beer in college should the university have expelled him? why not? he represents the school. should all students be drug tested? you holier than thou fans should be careful what you wish for.

    marijuana will be legal in 20% of the country is two years. it will eventually be legal in the entire country so get used to it. if the kids are studying hard, going to class, getting good grades, practicing and training hard what is the problem. as long as they aren’t waking and baking and taking the court stoned like jemarcus ellis, let them unwind and have a little fun. it’s part of growing up. we all did it.

    marijuana is a gateway drug? to what. being the greatest running back in the country? to being president of the united states? yeah…such a dangerous drug.

    i for one want to tell all the players and their families that i support them. they are good kids. i am proud they wear the indiana jersey.

  17. ““The one-and-done thing these days is part of it. It affects it, in terms of not having leadership in place on the team. Right now, Cody Zeller would be an Indiana senior. He’d be a leader, the guy they all look up to.” Thank you, AJ. My thoughts exactly (as expressed several days ago).

  18. coachv, the reason one goes to college is to prepare to be successful in life. Getting a degree is supposed to help an individual be more successful in “the real world.” Cody Zeller came to Indiana. He has his degree. He is successful and earning a very nice living that should allow him to take care of his future family and remain prosperous for the remainder of his life. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, and I would never ask or expect any young adult to put their financial future at risk just so that I could enjoy watching them play for IU for another year or two. That seems very selfish to me. Cody Zeller and VO are GREAT HOOSIER ALUMNI, regardless of how many semesters they remained on campus. They made a much larger contribution to IU and IU Athletics than the vast majority of students or student athletes ever have or ever will. And I suspect that their contributions to IU are not finished by a long shot.

  19. We all know if Zeller doesn’t come CTC is done! There are $4 million reasons he left plus CTC was killing his game by not playing through him for two years which was going to effect his draft position big time and he wasn’t getting any better. CTC did the same thing to Vonleh and did not make the point guards play through him either. All these issues are coaching issues! Crean got lucky with Dipo he refused to lose. There is zero chemistry between the coach and the players. That is why he offers every Nationally ranked 5 star players because of coaching skills even though they never will commit here he hopes to luck out and snag one. If it were not for Kenny Johnson we never would have gotten Vonleh. Johnson saw what was going on and bailed and every kid he was working with is going to L’VILLE . Pitino is not stupid, He doubled Johnson’s salary and Crean never knew what hit him! Crean has proven to be a self centered lost in his own world kind of guy who thinks he is doing a great job! He recruited these kids but the job just begins there. He spends zero time trying to getting know them as people. What do you think the 2015 recruits must be thinking? I am just sick that we are starting all over again! It’s all on him no matter how he spins it. WE ARE INDIANA AND REFUSE TO ACCEPT ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE BEST. The Marquette fans are still laughing! We just want to compete and have someone who can coach the last five minutes of a game and know what is going on as well as build a family within the team.

  20. How many championships has Marquette won since CTC is no longer there dragging them down with his horrible coaching

  21. Not sure if shoving guys off a roster(Etherington, Creek, Abell, Roth) helps with lack of leadership issues….It sorta breeds a mentality of the candy stripes not being all that special…I know that Geoff and others will claim that these guys left on their own accord, but they saw the writing on the walls that no longer included their pictures….The coach starts salivating over new talent and pictures come down off the roster walls for young men that would have been honored to play out their full eligibility with Indiana…I sense that they always knew if something of more raw talent pops in front of Crean’s radar they will be second-class Hoosiers…Maybe it finally came back to bite someone in the ‘scholly crunch”/oversign ass….It’s easy to say “these oversigns have a way of working themselves out.” But somewhere along the line, I think we blur the lines and we dilute the candy stripes into the distinct contrasts and distinct types of talent that brought those banners to Assembly…It wasn’t just young men with NBA talent…It was great role players and guys that had ice in their veins…It’s not always the young men that are getting all the world’s attention on NBA draft night that become the key pieces to solidifying chemistry or become the unwavering, undaunted spirit of leadership. Mo Creek @ GW….Etherington @ Butler…Remy Abell @ Xavier….We witnessed Roth never being contacted to explore his last year of eligibility, but yet we have a current transfer on our roster enrolled in graduate school..To many Hoosiers that are “voluntarily” walking away from the candy stripes and finishing out their college careers elsewhere(or are in the process) …And then we witnessed the Luke Fischer transfer…A very talented Hollowell playing as if he appeared to look like a young man not totally buying in…And then I read a post on Hoosier Morning of Ron Patterson having quite impressive game at Syracuse…Will we soon be reading of Hollowell’s heart restored with focus and full hunger for the game again?

    So, Mr. Guyton…. Maybe many of these young men that could grow into 4-year leaders(or even 3-year leaders) play on McCracken battling against more than the opponent in the other jersey….? They are constantly battling against are morbid drool that puts pure NBA athleticism first…Athletes Bill of Rights..? I’ve got some land for sale in Florida to go along with your speeches…. It’s not as simple as the already labeled top-talents desiring to stay in Bloomington long enough to become upperclassman….Certain guy just don’t want to be part of a certain type of value system now spreading painting over your lofty ideals about the “right way” to wear the candy stripes….Nobody cares about leaders…We care about high draft picks…Nobody cares about specialized talent and guys that make your talent honest in a hard practice …Young men don’t inhale the old days because the old days are gone….So, I guess Cody Zeller just walking away is not all that much different than Austin Etherington or Remy Abell being gently shown the exit doors out of Assembly…

    It’s hard to tell young men to live by rules when they feel more like a commodity than a true part of a grandeur purpose….Yup, we push them out with their degrees in three years because they need to exit into the adult world of the NBA….We push them out to Butler or Xavier….because Jonny Marlin told them of the bigger sacrifice….“Jesus sacrificed too, you know…?…Now hand me your candy stripes…Farewell…May the Hoosier Resurrection always be carried in our brotherly blood. Amen. Hasta la vista….Take care…Remy, good job against VCU when Jordy was on meltdown….Good job Austin…Good job on bringing Cody into my lap and living room to see my crosses on the wall…Hey, have a nice time being a Bulldog…blah…blah…blah. Maurice..? It’s Tom…Put your mom on the phone and we can make this a 3-way call…How’s the GW fan base treating you..? Knees feel better this year…? Oh, that’s right…You popped those damn cracklin’ knee caps on McCracken..? Was it on McCracken? We can talk about the knees later…Not to interrupt you, but have you seen any sites while in DC..?….Lot of sites to see in DC… Have you been to the National Archives…? Go there and take a look at the original copy of the Bill of Rights…..Cool stuff..God Bless.

  22. i clearly stated i was a big fan of zeller. of course my attitude about him is selfish. i also have frequently said he wasn’t getting better because crean is a lousy coach and if that it why he left, i get that. but the money was always going to be there. he was already going to be a multi-millionaire.

    if there was some way he could put up with crean (along with victor). decades fly by while the once great indiana program slides forever into mediocrity. how many more decades will pass before indiana wins the title? this was our opportunity. everything was there with vonleh coming in. everything but the coach.

    others have done it. duncan stayed 4 years at wake. the montrezl (was he named by snoop dog?) kid stayed at louisville. many have stayed on for donovan at florida. just wish cody had the same passion to see the dream come true that many of us share. we may never have that chance again.

  23. oops.

    They are constantly battling against [our] morbid drool that puts pure NBA athleticism first……

    Gotta go to the store and load up on more Corona….

  24. It’s not just about the money, it’s about realizing a life-long dream. Zeller has wanted to play in the NBA his entire life. If he stays at IU and blows out a knee, the opportunity to realize that dream disappears. It’s just unreasonable for anyone to expect a young man to pass up the opportunity to secure his financial future and realize his life’s dream so that he can play another season of college basketball, where only his coaches and administrators derive any real benefit from his labors. He risks everything for virtually nothing in return. Zeller was too smart to take that risk.

  25. A few random comments….

    Liked the article but how ironic/funny that AJ referred to Pat “party boy” Knight as someone to help set them straight.

    Many of us feel Cody was not fully utilized but when you look at the stats he was the highest scoring big man in the BT, as a soph and on a team with many scorers, and then became a multi-millionaire draft pick. If that is being tragically handled sign me up.

    We need to continue to go after some 5 stars but the way things are these days that also leads to turnover. One of the posters mentions RMK’s coaching job in ’81 being, which I agree, masterful but let’s not forget that 3 of his 5 starters were McDonalds All Americans and that does not even include Wittman (long NBA career), Jim Thomas or Kitchel.
    Ie…..having talent helps.

  26. Times have changed. Great Alaskan shootout I think it was called. Got a pot problem,your off the team, it wasnt legal then and in Indiana it isnt now. Rules are rules, coach Knight stuck to them. Got a booze problem, go to another school, you might run me over leaving your game. Im sorry, but if im caught doing these things im gone from my job. Making money for Indiana U is their job (so they can pay the coach all that money that he still has coming). If you want to party it up pay your own way through school, take your own tests, do your own homework and stay the hell off the basketball court. There are plenty of young men that could take your place and do it right. Creen and Crimson should be handing black and whites. Told my IU friends to watch what this guy does to the program,hes just getting going.

  27. KF
    I was at IU when that took place, saw players in that era smoke pot with my own eyes and MANY students at the time knew that all the smokers were not thrown off the team.
    Players respected Knight but it was a different era and some things were kept quiet.
    And yes, some of the boys back then knew their way around a bar.
    The only name I will mention is Wittman because in interviews he himself mentioned drinking with other players and he was a common site at Cubans bar, Motlleys ( to be clear saw him at bars but not smoking).
    The narrative that this did not happen “back in the day” is not the way it was.

  28. PS
    Just google “why was JIm Roberson kicked off IU basketball team” and you will see old newspaper articles that mention Roberson, Baker and Cox were thrown off the team after the Alaskan shoot out while Turner (McDonalds All American), Tolbert (McDonalds AllAmerican), Mike Woodsen, Isenbarger, Kirchner and were put on probation.
    Students joked at parties that players could not hit the bong unless they were really good as the teams top two scorers were put on “indefinite” probation ( but did not miss a second of playing time) rather than being booted.
    The whole issue died down quickly because this was before ESPN and 24 hour news.
    If that happened in today’s era…..

  29. DC, the difference: Roberson, Baker and Cox were actually smoking the stuff; the others were disciplined because they knew about it and did not turn the others in. That simple. Knight’s logic: loyalty to your buddy vs loyalty to your team.

  30. Many of the posters here just do not want to admit how much the landscape of college sports has changed over the last twenty years. A tough guy coach like BK wouldn’t make it in this era because the fans, media, players, and parents want to see all that feel good, huggy, high-five posing instead of players who buy into a system and grind it out like it was in the past. Additionally, too many IU fans hold on to the belief that somehow IU basketball is supposed to be elite, when in fact that is something which must be earned every game, every year. I think TC has worked very hard to cleanse the Hall of layers of selfishness and stupidity that accumulated over many years. Fans and alumni both turned a blind eye to BK’s boorishness, MD’s not being ready for the demands of a major program, and KS’s deception – – not to overlook the complicity of rock-headed athletic directors like Greenspan and the careless decisions made by school presidents during this time. In the end, the university brought the house down on itself, thus I applaud TC for what he is trying to do, even though he will likely not be the guy who raises a championship banner. His test right now is to demonstrate that he can get a collection of decently talented players to execute on both ends of the court, play a brand of ball that fans can recognize as being fundamentally sound, and to not be afraid to send anyone packing who isn’t willing to follow suit. If he can’t accomplish these modest goals then I have no doubt he will be replaced, and to suggest that he is responsible for what has happened over the last year does not take into account all the contributing factors which led us to this point.

  31. TTG
    Nice recap of the official “story” that all of the other 5 simply did not turn in the guilty.
    I stand by my comment that we students actually joked about who was kicked off and who was not because we knew the official story was a load of #%{%. . Also, I saw at least one (no, I am not going to say how many or who) of those 5 “bystanders” smoke with my own eyes.
    Believe it or not.

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