Before we get to commentary it is a very sad story when anyone passes away at a young age like this and it is heartbreaking for his family and friends. Our thoughts go out to them. But the fact remains that Neil is a large figure in the last chapters of Coach Knight’s career at IU and it is fair for us to have a discourse about him and his legacy.
When I went to IU, our basketball team was highlighted by 3 players, Luke Recker, A.J. Guyton & Neil Reed and the scandal that surrounded him. Only being in my mid-30’s, it is very weird to know that one of those players, who was around when I went to IU has died. I also had a Freshman math class with Jason Collier, who also passed away due to heart conditions. Very strange and troublesome.
The strange thing about Neil Reed and the choking incident, is that is came out in the H-T months before it became a national story. It was just another “Knight being Knight” story around Bloomington and quickly died out. I always found it interesting that it became a national story months later.
I’m torn in my feelings toward Reed. At the time, I couldn’t believe that he would do interviews and talk about how he felt threatened and scared by Knight. It’s a bit like how I feel about the Kentucky players who said they were scared for their safety during the court rushing in Dec 2011. With Reed, I felt that if you were coming to IU and going to play for Knight, you knew what you were going to get. There was nobody in 1994 who didn’t know what they were getting when they went to play for Knight.
But I also feel that Reed ended up taking the brunt of much of the anger of IU nation after the Knight firing, and at a certain point I did feel bad for him.
It is very hard for my to discuss the last years of Knight and Neil Reed without flip-flopping quite a few times during a conversation, defending Reed and also ranting him. It is a part of IU basketball that at times, I would like to not bring up again, because I have such mixed feelings about the participants and how things played out.
In the end, my final judgement is that I do have feelings of sympathy for Neil for all the anger he had thrown his way. Let’s not forget he was only 20-21 at the time. But the majority of my feelings are still annoyance and anger at him for fanning the flames and acting like such a victim. I know he didn’t release the video to the media, but his interviews after the fact were very damming. I go back to the fact, that he knew what he was getting into when he came to IU.
I also think the spotlight comes back to Coach Knight. With the passing of Brand and now Reed, almost everyone involved in his firing is either gone of passed away. The question really remains, why is he still hostile toward IU and refuses to come back? Who is he punishing? When the 1987 Championship team came back last year, and Knight wasn’t there, I thought it was a disgrace by Knight to his players. At that point, the only people being punished were the faithful IU fans and his players. Sadly, we are seeing that Knight is becoming a bitter old man. The irony is that he is being bitter at the wrong people.
We are interested to hear what your thoughts are on Neil Reed and the incident that happened with him and Coach Knight. Consider this an open forum, and please leave your comments below. Any and all thoughts are welcome.