November 14, 2006
Tuesday afternoon was supposed to feature a nice lunch with my broadcasting partners on tonight's Butler-Indiana game -- Dan Shulman and Doris Burke. There was going to be a journey to shootarounds to see the teams work out. Instead we were interrupted by phone call after phone call. Why?
Simply go down to Lubbock, Texas. There was an incident involving Texas Tech Red Raiders coach Robert Montgomery Knight and one of his players, sophomore Michael Prince. You have probably seen it run on SportsCenter many times already as it was on repeatedly. Knight put his hand on Prince's chin right near the huddle.
Many have taken it in a controversial way. Obviously the name Robert Montgomery Knight creates a story.
I had a chance to speak to Bob today and he said he would handle the situation the exact same way if it were to occur again. He has the complete support of the mother, father and player.
First of all, let's be clear that there was no way he was trying to hurt the young man. He was trying to get his attention. Knight wanted the young man to look at him, eye to eye.
According to the coach, Prince's mom has repeatedly said that she wants her son to look people in the eye. During the timeout, Knight claimed he told the player to, "look at me Mike. We need you in tough times and we are going to need you during the year."
Prince has made a bad pass and committed a foul just before. It was not like he was going to sit him down. He wanted the player to react in a positive manner.
I also spoke to the father, Mike Prince, who I had the good fortune of trying to recruit to the University of Detroit. He ultimately went to Western Kentucky and played for another disciplinarian, Gene Keady. In fact, Mr. Prince said he had no problem with the way Knight handled it. He supported it, saying he wanted his son to be attentive at all times.
Discipline is missing in today's society.
The bottom line is the mother, father and player are all OK with what happened. It is over and done with, so we should move forward.
There are so many other things we should be talking about in the world of sports. Michigan and Ohio State will battle on the gridiron. Rutgers is making a run for an unblemished season.
Let's talk about the start of the college hoops season! Vermont upset Boston College. Idaho State took Marquette to overtime. Virginia stunned Arizona. There are a lot of great things happening.
A planned lunch and a good time with buddies had to be put aside because of a story that really wasn't much of one.
Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.