A truly gratifying experience occurs when the teacher witnesses the pupil succeed as the teacher.
36 years after Mike Woodson stepped on the floor for Indiana under head coach Bobby Knight, the two reunited at Madison Square Garden Training Center in a completely different capacity. This time, Knight was not instructing offensive and defensive philosophies. The legendary college coach delivered praise to the Knicks signal caller as part of the Mike Woodson Show, which will appear on MSG Networks this Friday at 7:00 PM.
“If I were to pick Mike as a coach in the NBA, I’m not sure what I would have thought but watching him and I think it’s very much to his credit because I don’t think many people in your league know the first thing about defense,” Knight asserted.
Of course, the three-time National Champion head coach would point to Woodson’s defensive mindset that has propelled New York to a strong 8-2 start to the season. This year, the Knicks are one of the stingiest teams in the league by only allowing 91.4 points per game, the third best mark in the NBA.
Knight is impressed, “I think Mike, and obviously where he’s been has done a really good job with this team defense. If you are going to coach and you can’t guard people, you might as well not even enter into it.”
From the day Woodson accepted the position for the Knicks, he vocalized the importance of a focused approach to the defensive side of the floor. Through 10 games, his team is responding as they’ve only surrendered 100 points three times and opposing squads have been held to an average of 43.6 percent from the floor.
It’s clear Knight owns a great deal of affection and respect for Woodson. The same goes for Woodson, who received a t-shirt from Knight when he won a 3-on-3 tournament as a youngster in Indiana. In a SportsCenter Conversation, Woodson smiled and said, “I thought it was the biggest thrill, at that time in my life in terms of me setting the stage for me to come to IU.”
The coaching similarities are evident between the men. Woodson is a tireless worker and constantly striving to squeeze every ounce of talent out of his players. The work ethic is nothing new as Knight recounts memories of his shooting guard, “This is the only story you need to know about him. He got hurt and he came back and he played the last six games of the Big 10 season and then six games, he ended up being the Most Valuable Player in the league and that’s how good he was.”
Tune to MSG Networks at 7 PM on Friday to watch more of Knight on The Mike Woodson Show. Visit MSG.com for more information.