Todd Jadlow sounds like a lot of Bob Knight’s former basketball players, in that he has a lot of good things to say about him.
“I’m a Knight guy. I’m proud to have played for him and love him like a father,” he told longtime Indianapolis sports journalist Bob Kravitz.
“I still have a lot of respect for him and look at him as a father figure,” he told ESPN’s Andy Katz.
But Jadlow, who played for Knight at Indiana from 1985 to 1989, isn’t letting the respect he maintains for Knight excuse away the physical and emotional abuse he and other Hoosiers suffered during their playing days. In a new book, “Jadlow: On the Rebound,” he paints a picture of the coach as a bully who crossed the line from discipline to outright harm a number of times.
Among Jadlow’s allegations, as recounted by Kravitz:
— Knight punched Jadlow in the back of his head with a closed fist during a practice before an NCAA tournament game in 1989.
— Knight cracked a clipboard over Jadlow’s head in a sideline huddle during a game against Louisville in 1988.
— An enraged Knight dug his hands so hard into Jadlow’s sides after a game that he left bruises, which Jadlow photographed.
— Knight regularly grabbed his players by the testicles.
— Knight would regularly question Hoosiers big man Daryl Thomas’s toughness by calling him profane names and once ordered a team manager to tape pictures of female genitalia up in Thomas’s room. He also regularly threw tampons at him.
— Knight tore up the team plane after the Hoosiers were upset by Cleveland State in the first round of the 1986 NCAA tournament.
Knight, who was fired by Indiana in 2000 after video emerged of him choking a player during a practice, did not cooperate with Jadlow in writing the book and did not respond to Kravitz’s request for comment. But Steve Alford, Jadlow’s teammate at Indiana who’s now the coach at UCLA, denied the allegations in a text message to Katz.
“None of that ever happened while I was at IU — NONE,” he wrote.
Jadlow says the main reason he wrote his book wasn’t to bash Knight but to recount his spiral into drug and alcohol addiction — he once was arrested for DUI four times in six months, including twice on the same day, and spent a year in prison — and his eventual recovery and reconciliation with his five children. He says he knows that Knight’s supporters will attack him as an addict and a criminal who’s just looking to make a quick buck with some salacious allegations.
“I didn’t go into it to demean Coach Knight or put him down. I was just telling stories when I was at IU. It’s not like I had a vendetta,” he told Katz. “I didn’t do this to tarnish him. I went through my own struggles, but these things happened at Indiana. I will let people who read this book and consider if it’s abuse or torment by today’s standards. If things went on today like they did, then you would be in jail.”