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Original Issue


A new instructional videotape deserves attention because it features Bob Knight, Indiana's basketball coach. Those who buy it (Television Enterprise Network, $19.95) hoping to master the art of the chair-toss or jacket-tear will be disappointed. "A Knight of Basketball" is an unadorned nuts-and-bolts discussion of basketball, an attempt to "show you how to watch a game," as the coach himself announces at the outset. Assuming the viewer is already a fan familiar with basic terminology. Knight offers some interesting insights into a variety of subjects, from zone defenses to the fast break. There is no question that the average fan will indeed learn much—if he can stay awake.

Knight's valid observations notwithstanding, this video quickly becomes soporific as the same game footage, apparently drawn from a couple of IU games and an intrasquad scrimmage, is shown repeatedly from the same unimaginative camera position, backed up by a mystifying soundtrack that alternates between a lofty Olympic theme and a tacky synthesizer-dominated score seemingly lifted from a rerun of The Mod Squad. More money could have made all the difference. Snazzier graphics, coverage of at least several more games featuring current college stars, varied camera angles, slow-motion replays, etc., would undoubtedly have produced something closer to the footage that pro football's NFL Films so consistently turns out.

But Knight has an effective camera presence and handles his lines well. It's a shame he can't let loose and give a glimpse of his legendary intensity—perhaps bang his fist on the magnetic board he uses for his chalk-talks, or at the very least get miffed when an Indiana player goofs.

However, if you're a dedicated fan and you're willing to endure its deficiencies, this video will reward you with a valuable perspective on the game. If you're not so dedicated or if you can't tolerate boredom, you may as well wait for the book—it has to be better.