It was ineloquent.
It was not nuanced.
Knight, who won three national championships during a completely different era of college sports with Indiana, does not like the one-and-done rule.
But he does like using shocking language that he thinks will make a point.
"On top of it all, the NBA does a tremendous, gigantic disservice to college basketball," Knight told Mike & Mike Tuesday morning. "It's as though they've raped college basketball in my opinion."
Knight's comparison is offensive, absurd and imprecise. Bob Knight should have been banned from using the word rape 30 years ago. We probably should discard his rant because he would even imagine saying something so hurtful.
But to the idea of one-and-dones. There is something unfulfilling about knowing the best players in the country this year — Kansas' Andrew Wiggins and Duke's Jabari Parker — are unlikely to ever play in the NCAA tournament again, to gallantly take to the floor next year to avenge first-weekend losses and restore their reputations. Or that Indiana freshman Noah Vonleh won't ever get the chance after his team failed to even make the tournament.
But all three are good enough to earn guaranteed millions in the NBA, where they are assured the best environment for honing their basketball skills. In college, they are playing and practicing against inferior competition and are limited in the number of hours of coaching they may receive each week. They're forced to complete coursework toward a degree they may or may not want, and one that — given their prodigious talent and short window to earn money playing basketball — makes little sense to complete when they are in their early 20s.
Knight goes on to say he prefers the system used in baseball.
"Major League Baseball has the best idea of all," he said. "Three years before they'll take a kid out of college, then they have a minor league system that they put the kids in. I'm sure that if the NBA followed the same thing, there would be a lot of kids in a minor league system that still were not good enough to play in the major NBA."
Knight doesn't mention the fact that Major League baseball teams draft players directly out of high school, and a great number of them skip the college game altogether. That system, if applied to the NBA, would be closer to fair. It would give Parker, Wiggins and Vonleh a choice. As it stands now, they are funneled into the college game because the NBA Development League is lousy at, you know, developing players. (Another Indiana guy, Mark Cuban, who also sounds crazy some of the time but usually actually makes good points, has a great plan for fixing this problem.)
But of course it is not the NBA fighting such a set up. Not really. The NCAA has so much to gain from continuing to sell the tournament as a showcase for the top young talent in the country. The tournament funds the NCAA: in 2013, the broadcast deal with Turner accounted for $681 million of $913 million in revenue for the non-profit.
Having the top 10 or 15 or 20 or 25 kids playing elsewhere threatens to diminish that return.
Knight points out that no NBA team should want to draft an immature 19-year-old and fling him into the high-profile, lucrative world of top-level professional basketball. Of course that is true.
But no NBA GM would keep his job if he decided to pass on developing pure talent in favor of drafting more mature players. It can't work that way in basketball. The margins are smaller. There are only five guys on the court and a few who come off the bench. Intangibles get you only so far.
Talent and size and athleticism often get you further. See Wichita State vs. Kentucky.
The fact that Kentucky's team next year is likely to be substantially different from this year's team does take away from the narrative.
We just can't have it both ways. Either we give top players another route to the NBA or we accept that their trips to the NCAA tournament aren't about school pride or fighting for their teammates or hoisting some trophy.
They're the obstacles we've put in front of our mercenaries.
(Tip of the hat to Sporting News for pointing this out, and for taking Knight to task.)