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Pat Knight relies on teaching to rebuild Texas Tech

Saturday, January 24, 2009 | 4:45 p.m. CST; updated 1:12 a.m. CST, Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Columbia — Pat Knight is trying to stay patient with his young team in his first full season as head coach at Texas Tech.

Patience was never his father's strong suit.

Knight took over the program when his father, legendary coach Bob Knight, retired abruptly in the middle of last season. The Red Raiders finished 4-7 last season under Pat Knight, including an opening-round loss in the Big 12 tournament.

After a 97-86 loss to Missouri on Saturday, Texas Tech is 1-3 in conference play. Knight has been frustrated by his team's struggles, but he knows it is going to take some time to turn the team around.

For now, he's focused on teaching.

"There's no secret formula. You just got to keep teaching. I mean, that's what we get paid for," Knight said. "My dad talked to me last week, 'Hey don't get frustrated, just keep teaching them, teaching them and eventually it's going to work out.'"

Knight has used some interesting teaching techniques this season.

After his team missed several layups early in its Jan. 1 win over Stephen F. Austin, Knight brought a 12-year-old boy out of the stands during a timeout and asked him in front of the team if he could make a layup. The boy said he could.

Knight said he was tired of having college players miss layups that a 12-year-old could make.

To prepare for Missouri's pressure defense, Knight had his offense play five against seven in practice, using two managers on defense. Even with two extra players, Knight said he couldn't simulate Missouri's pressure.

After his team turned the ball over 29 times on Saturday, Knight plans to go back to basics. He said he will use a pair of "seventh grade" passing drills in practice.

"We'll bring each kid in individually and show him his turnovers," Knight said. "It's monotonous, but you hope eventually it'll click."

Knight's team turned the ball over five times in its first six possessions against Missouri. He spent much of the first half looking at the court in disbelief with his hands on his head.

But Knight credited his team for not quitting. He questioned his players' toughness after a loss last week to Texas, and he said there was improvement in that area.

Missouri coach Mike Anderson was impressed with the Red Raiders' resiliency too.

"Pat does a great job with his kids. He's been talking about competing, fighting and toughness," Anderson said. "I thought they fought tooth and nails."

Knight would eventually like his team to play a similar style to the Tigers.

"(Missouri) is probably my favorite team in the league," Knight said about the Tigers style of play. "They push it up the way I want to push it up. Those are the type of players we're starting to recruit."

He looks to Anderson as a model for how to turn a program around. The Tigers are 16-3 and in third place in the Big 12 at 4-1 in the conference.

"You got to look at the long picture. It's my first year," Knight said. "Mike Anderson, this is his third year and now he's got his guys playing the way he wants to play."

 


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