Delaware State didn't make many waves Tuesday night. The Hornets traveled to Texas Tech for a typical guarantee game, were handled easily by the Red Raiders in a 79-60 loss, and were back on the airplane, on to the next one.
Only Tuesday night, Delaware State got a visit from, and a compliment paid by, one of the greatest coaches in the history of college basketball.
According to Ballin' Is A Habit's Rob Dauster, ESPN analyst and former Texas Tech and Indiana coach Bob Knight was present in Lubbock Tuesday night. He was there, of course, to watch his son Pat Knight coach his Raiders, but after the game Knight stopped by the Hornets' locker room to praise DSU for its unselfish style of play. From Dauster:
"I finished my postgame and came down and he was still in our locker room diagramming plays and talking gameplan," Delaware State play-by-play announcer Scott Klatzkin texted me after the game. "He loves the game, that's for sure. He praised the team for their effort and said he's never talked with an opposing team before."
That sort of visit from a reigning hoops dignitary would probably be cool for any program, though you'd imagine the upstart Hornets, a tiny MEAC program currently fighting through a 4-8 start to the 2010-11 season, being especially thrilled. And so they were; DSU's athletic media relations team even included Knight's visit in the postgame recap press release.
Presumably, the Hornets were playing their typically grinding style -- DSU is the second-slowest team in the nation -- by executing the motion offense and man-to-man defense, and head-faking like they've never head-faked before. After all, if there's a blueprint for having Coach Knight praise your team, that's probably it.