If Archie Miller needs advice, Bob Knight lives three miles away – here’s their conversation

With Bob Knight living a couple of miles from Assembly Hall, why shouldn’t Archie Miller pop over to talk basketball?

When Indiana got home Saturday night after getting drilled at Maryland, coach Archie Miller drove straight from the airport to Bob Knight’s house near College Mall to seek advice about his team.

After all, when the guy who led the Hoosiers to 11 Big 10 titles, five Final Fours, and three National Championships lives three miles from Miller’s office, why wouldn’t he make the drive to seek the counsel of one of the greatest minds in college basketball history.

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Here is the transcript of that brief conversation after the initial pleasantries:

Miller:  Coach, we lost to Maryland.  Couldn’t score like we needed to.

Knight:  Yeah, I saw it.  Let me ask you a question.  How many shooters do you have?

Miller:  Devonte Green, Al Durham, Rob Phinisee,…

Knight:  (Interrupting) Wait a minute.  Durham and Phinisee made two shots against Maryland, so don’t talk to me about Phinisee and Durham being shooters.  Shooters shoot.  And they make shots.  If you had shooters, they would score, and you wouldn’t get your ass beat by 30.

Miller:  We got beat by 16.

Knight:  Bullshit.  You were down 71-41 when Turgeon emptied the bench.  Should have been 40.  You think I’m not watching?  Don’t treat me like Russ Brown, Billy Reed, Robin Miller, and the rest of those media pains in the ass I had to deal with.

Miller:  Alright.  How do I fix it?

Knight:  Who’s your best offensive player?

Miller:  Trayce or Devonte.

Knight:  Green?  Jesus.  The Davis kid is the best you have.  What percentage of possessions are there in a game where he doesn’t get a touch?

Miller:  Probably half.

Knight:  What the hell kind of offense are you running where your best offensive player gets a touch half the time?  Run everything through that kid.  Green can shoot, but that’s a double edged sword for you.  When he makes, he believes they’re all going in, which they aren’t.  Seems like Green runs the offense he wants instead of the offense you want.  Get the ball to Davis, and if the defense doubles kick it to a kid for a three.  If you don’t have kids who can hit an open three, go get some.  You cannot allow Green to dictate terms offensively.

Miller:  There is some of that.

Knight:  There can’t be any of that.  Are they paying that kid four-million a year?  You’re the coach of this damn team, so coach ’em.  Players don’t do what you want?  Sit their asses next to you.  They don’t do what you want after that?  Make ’em someone else’s problem.

Miller:  It’s $3.2 million, coach, but I get the point.  If I sit Devonte, I have no one scoring from the outside.

Knight:  With him you got your ass run out of the gym at Maryland.  One in four games, he hits a bunch of shots.  You like winning one out of four games?  Can you coach or not?

Miller:  Yeah, I can coach.

Knight:  Then coach ’em, damn it.  It’s just crazy to me that coaches are willing to give over the direction of a team to 20-year-olds who don’t know their ass from third base.  Take charge of your team.  You know how many guys left when I coached ’em.  Dozens.  And we were just fine.  Addition by subtraction is a hell of a motivator.

Miller:  Times have changed.  Kids are different.

Knight:  That’s horseshit.  Go find tough kids ready to be coached.  Look at Butler.  I mean those goddamn kids play hard.  Look at McDermott.  He hits threes, rebounds, and defends.  He’s an Indiana kid that Indiana didn’t recruit.  How f***ing dumb is that?  Don’t just recruit Indiana.  Recruit the right kind of Indiana kid.  I look at your team, and the lack of toughness wears my ass out.

Miller:  Anything else?

Knight:  Yeah.  Your team has no aversion to making mistakes.  If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 10,000 times – victory favors the team making the fewer mistakes.  Stupid ass turnover?  Put somebody else in there.  If you get down to that Bieber walk-on kid, fine.  Put his ass in there.

Miller:  Bybee?

Knight:  Yeah, whoever.  Bieber, Bybee.  Whoever the hell it is.  Kid doesn’t take care of the ball, it’s bye-bye! (Laughs)  Good to see you.  Hook me up with some tickets for the Purdue game, will you?  I have to pick up dinner at Chick-fil-A.  Good luck to you.  Remember this.  If you aren’t tough, you’re players will never be tough.  Soft players don’t win, and they aren’t any fun to coach.

Miller:  Thanks coach!

Knight:  Thanks, hell!  Give me 40 bucks to cover my dinner.  My wisdom isn’t free, kid.

Miller:  Forty for Chick-fil-A?

Knight:  You’re right.  Give me 60.  I’m a big tipper!

Of course this conversation never happened, but there are a lot of Indiana fans who would love it to.  And why shouldn’t they talk?  Knight lives a five minute drive away.


51 thoughts on “If Archie Miller needs advice, Bob Knight lives three miles away – here’s their conversation

  1. S Brown

    This is entirely too stupid! Miller does not give two hoots about Bob Knight because Archie’s ego is at stake. Arch would never surrender to Knight even if Knight had 3 Championships under his belt. IU had every opportunity to bring Knight back into the IU fold, and they totally rejected him. I hope that Knight never sets foot into Assembly Hall and the so-called “McCracken” Court ever again. Who is McCracken anyway? Oh, he was some dude that lived 70 years ago that no one seems to remember. There are two ancient banners that he evidently played some role in. However, Bobby Leonard played more of a role in at least one of those banners hanging in Assembly Hall.

    IU picked the path we are on. Now these administrators (and the corrupt Administrators of the past) will have to live with it. IU will never see the kind of teams that we saw during the 70’s – 80’s – 90’s again.

    1. Gregory Dowbak

      Mistakes IU administrators made:
      1) letting Bob Knight go
      2) letting Bob Knight go
      3) letting Bob Knight go

      1. Boiler Pete

        You clearly didn’t look at the last 8 years of his career. The college game had passed him by. No big 10 titles… nothing noteworthy in the NCAA tournament other than a loss to Pepperdine.

        Knight was like Wooden at UCLA or Summit at Tennessee. When the talent was less and it all amassed at a few schools, he did well. There is so much talent that Butler and ND have been as good if not better teams just within the state.

        I would say it’s time for all IU fans to move on with their lives but I know they simply can’t.

        1. Lanie925

          Well, IMO, he had a winning team the year he got fired. It played Maryland in the NCAA championship game and was the only IU team to ever lose a NCAA championship final game. I think if Knight had still been at the helm for that 2001 championship, they would not have lost. I am so ashamed of my alma mater.

          1. indymoon

            Knight was fired before the 2000-01 season and IU made the Championship game in the next season – 2001-2002.

        2. craig

          Final four 1992. That’s noteworthy…and there were 110 teams that didn’t make the final four. I agree though, on your point about IU will never have a type of coach like Knight. He’s one of a kind…didn’t IU have Chris Mack on their prospective coaches list?

    2. Ruth Heemsoth

      Enjoyed the article. Bobby Knight’s lack of impulse control was his Achilles heel and IU needed to remove him. Remember he pushed, kicked, smacked, and choked those IU basketball players. Abuse is not EVER right,. NOT EVER.

      1. Susan McClintick

        I disagree! Those boys were there to play basketball & many I were on basketball scholarships. Knight wasn’t hired to babysit or teach crochet. He was hired to win games & that he did! Every one of those players respected him and knew beyond a doubt what he expected of them. Good grief! I didn’t like being yelled at, smacked etc when I was a kid but I realize now that I probably deserved it at the time and I’m a better person for it. Too many kids today are lazy, soft & don’t have respect for anyone or anything! But I guarantee if Knight ever needed anything every one of those IU ball players (with the exception of Benson). would be there in a hot minute!

    1. Gregory Dowbak

      Mistakes IU administrators made:
      1) letting Bob Knight go
      2) letting Bob Knight go
      3) letting Bob Knight go

      A disabled bob knight is the best coach in America, hire him now!

  2. Robert Gallegos

    You betcha… Knight is C&C all the way down to his soles. An honest ask would get an honest answer… just be honest.

  3. Thanks

    Kent, you took the words right out of my mouth. Well, most of them. 🙂 You sure zeroed in on my thought while watching the game. Game time management also needs to be addressed. There doesn’t seem to be any urgency when things are going south. The coaches better find some guys that can hit threes and free throws soon or they may as well hang it up for the rest of this year.

    1. JenBRN

      I thought it was Coach there for a minute. I could here those same words coming out of his mouth from his brilliant coaching mind.

  4. Tom

    Outstanding! This should be on every player’s locker at Assembly Hall. It should be playing over the sound system in Cook Hall during practice! They need to wake up and play as COACHED!

  5. Frefereick w stegemillet

    My opinion they r lazy have no get up and go id put the first five on the bench and try another bunch cant b any worse you cant treat them like the babies they are. They are better than they show make em prove it the ciach is a wimp he had to b tougher than he is get some back bone

    1. Frederick w stegemiller

      I think the coach needs to get some backbone set their butts on the bench if they dont want to listen to u. They are lazy u have other players give them. Chance

    2. robert gillman

      saw the Branch team play in 1950 to 1953–good players–excellent coaching–saw Knights teams play–good players, excellent coaching–Miller’s team, good players, coaching ??? will watch the Northwestern game this coming Sat–I U must win that game—if not, Miller will be gone

      Bob Gillman, 1953

  6. Marvin McKay

    Loved it, and it so true. If players don’t play, sit their asses on the bench, and find someone who can……

  7. MIke Hardwick

    Sadly Kent, you’re right on the money with the assessment and provided the perfect scenario for conveying what Archie needs to be thinking about for the second half of what will be a long season if he doesn’t assert some control quickly.

  8. JenBRN

    My thoughts exactly. Those boys need to grow a set and get tough. They’ve shown they have the capability to play, so let’s keep on with it. Players that can’t be coached need to sit their asses on the bench on transfer out.

  9. Chris

    This is spot on. I am surprised that Big Al wasn’t mentioned in this dialogue. A bit more respect for Coach Archie was lost when he allowed Al to start the next game after the crap he pulled against Arkansas. He should have been disciplined harder. Instead… character was put aside in hopes of a W… which didn’t happen.

    1. Doug

      Agreed. Green was a one man wrecking ball against Arkansas. A seat on the bench can send distinct message like, “Hey, maybe I shouldn’t throw a third straight behind the back pass that has a slim hope of reaching its target.”

  10. Wayne akers

    This is the best thing I’ve seen all year. Maybe not bob, its the truth green is the worst player on I.U. that I’ve ever seen. He wants to play pro and he should never see the bench. Any idiot can run down the court and shoot a ball at the rim. But he makes more mistakes than the whole team.. I wouldn’t let green be on the practice sqaud. Trace should touch the ball all the time.

  11. Jerry Lockhart

    I remember Branch McCracken, I remember Bob Knight as an opponent from Ohio State, I remember Bob Knight the coach, … Arch Miller is of the same cloth, he just doesn’t yet know it. By the end of this season he will.
    Whoever wrote the make believe dialogue said many things right. As I watched the Maryland game, I thought all those thoughts about the players.
    Incidentally, Butler–same day: their Senior shooter couldn’t hit the side of an Indiana barn the first half, but his coach never pulled him, just let him keep shooting. He got his 20th point with about 2 minutes to go and they won a game which had not looked possible.
    Bob Knight and the writer here do know how to win.

  12. Crizz

    Give it up Indiana fans. You’re glory days are so far in the past you might as well be the University of San Francisco. Time to adjust your expectations. Try beating Wisconsin and go from there. Second rate team at a second rate sports university, get used to it.

  13. Brian R

    First of all I totally enjoyed this fake conversation. I am a 1975 IU grad and a fanatic IU BB fan.
    The same people that are screaming for guys to take more 3-pointers would be the first to throw shade if Green , Phinisee and Durham jacked up 40 attempts and made 10. I can hear it now. “Why aren’t we going inside? We have guys who can’t consistently hit a high volume of 3s but we keep jacking them up.”
    We do need to get Trayce more touches but he’s no secret now. Good teams are focusing the defensive strategy on him and saying “let’s see these other guys beat us. “
    I understand Phinisee still isn’t 100%. I’m trying to understand what’s happened to De’ron Davis. And Jerome Hunter. Damezi Anderson appears to be a decent spot-up or 3-point shooter but not consistently and he’s a liability when handling the ball. Race Thompson has been disappointing against teams like Wisconsin and Maryland. Our “deep team” doesn’t look so deep.
    It seems other teams can get open 3s against us but we rarely have open shots. And guys frequently pass the ball if they get space instead of shooting. Is it a mental/confidence issue already?
    We absolutely can’t regress in turnovers and free throw shooting.
    We have a lot of issues at the start of the B1G and that’s scary.

    1. Doug

      Race Thompson and Jerome Hunter shouldn’t even be in the rotation. Hunter hit two threes in the very first game of the season and from then on thought he was a marksman. He hasn’t hit one since as far as I know, and that’s all he does is shoot threes. That Archie Miller doesn’t recognize this is very disconcerting.

  14. jeff hutchison

    IU is my favorite team to watch. I live in Georgia and I am very pleased to have Tom Crean as The Georgia Coach. I believe in two years Miller will make everyone in Indiana proud to have him as The IU coach. As he gets The Players he wants in his system. Forget the five star one and done s . Build your team with proven winners. Indiana state champion players, Junior college winners. Illinios mr basketball runner up

  15. Bill Holliday

    Arm chair coaching at its best. Knight was an encyclopedia when it came to coaching. No one worked a clock like he could at the end of a close game. The problem today isn’t coaching. It’s the heart of the kids they get. Truth be known that was knight’s down fall. Kid’s with no heart, no guts, no fortitude to pick it up when the games on the line. Coaches can call plays call time outs but those kids have to execute. If you have NBA on your mind, then leave. That isn’t basketball. That’s entertainment bought and paid for. Miller needs to just coach instead of listening to the naysayers.

  16. G. Sowders

    High school Coaches today aren’t tough and the AAU coaches play candy ass basketball for the parents and fan favorites ! I played High Scool basketball for a coach like Knight and even he played the players that were soft and he tried to please the PTA! !0 coaches in 9 years and never a Sectional win. Shooters win ball games! Look where the Indiana high school good players are recruited to. Archie was at the Southport basketball Forum in December and all he did was pose for photos! Yep! There would be at least a few more National Title Banners hanging in Assembly Hall if there had been someone in charge that had managed him! If a player is yanked from a game for a mistake trying to play to win ! That;s a coaching mistake !!!!


  17. Steve Matthias

    Funny. BK is going to attend the game this weekend. Ohio State was his college, students are still on vacation and his attendance won’t be a distraction, and BK wants to come back to Bloomington so they can name the court “Knight Court” at the next game against Purdue.
    Now u have 2 good stories. 😃

  18. Jim beal

    Hire former Butler player Matt Howard as assistant coach and have him work with the forwards and make them learn how to be tough like he was. He wasn’t a great player but he was tough. Without him butler would not have made it to the final four. The IU players are not tough at all.

  19. Jeff D.

    Kent—-this is E-P-I-C!!!
    Great piece. I was laughing my ARSH-off because (you know) this is EXACTLY how that conversation would go.

    Nice Job!!

  20. Steve Gaynor

    I think Miller isn’t tough enough on players and to have a good 3 or shooter you have to shoot shoot shoot b4 n after practice. Steve Alfords talent didn’t come from not shooting n practicing how to cut off a block or screen to get open, these players stand around with their hands out to throw them the ball, get a motion offense where there is nobody standing. IDK I also think that Miller wasn’t the man for the job.

  21. Steve Gaynor

    IU needs more toughness from Coach Miller and these gaurds need to practice 3pt shooting before n after practice, 3pt shooters just don’t come naturally without a lot of shooting practice.


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