BOWLING GREEN - Chris Knight has paid his penance for an offseason transgression and is seemingly healthy after sitting out much of the preseason with minor injuries.
So why is it that Knight, Bowling Green State University's second leading scorer from last year, is averaging fewer minutes than any other scholarship player on the team? It is a decision coach Louis Orr said is strictly basketball related and not one that can be traced to Knight being suspended for the season-opening tournament at Minnesota.
"We aren't fussing, we aren't fighting, he hasn't broken any rules or nothing like that," Orr said.
Knight, a power forward, has logged just 44 minutes over four games and is averaging less playing time than freshmen Dee Brown and Scott Thomas. Twenty-six of those minutes came in last Monday's loss at Savannah State, meaning Knight has averaged just six minutes in the other three contests. In a 78-65 loss at Illinois State on Saturday, Knight entered the game with 18:56 left in the first half, missed a jumper at the 18:12 mark and was removed from the game 11 seconds later. He never returned.
"I decided to go another direction," Orr said. "I wasn't happy with some of his early decisions. He had some defensive and
This comes after a solid freshman campaign when Knight averaged 29.2 minutes and started in all but one game.
Knight was never quite able to duplicate his performance from the first weekend of the season when he was named the MVP of Cincinnati's Peggy Cronin Classic. Still, he proved to be a promising entity, averaging 10.7 points and a team best 7.3 rebounds.
Aside from producing solid numbers, Knight was afforded so much playing time out of necessity due to paltry depth, particularly in the front court.
Orr has said all season he doesn't wish for Knight or any other player to log as many minutes as last year, but the coach said there is a way Knight can increase upon his current role with the team.
"Just keep working," Orr said. "For us, very few guys need to play the kind of minutes they were playing last year. We're a deeper team. When guys don't have to play those kinds of minutes, they can play harder for a shorter amount of time."
Although Orr emphasizes there is no link between Knight's early season suspension and his lack of playing time, it is reasonable to believe Knight would have been starting at the beginning of the year if he had not broken a team rule in the offseason.
Nate Miller, who was also withheld from playing in the Minnesota tournament, has yet to start a game despite being the team's leading scorer. Losers of three straight, BG (3-4) hosts Detroit on Sunday.
What could be Knight's playing time is instead going to Marc Larson and Erik Marschall, who are both averaging 21.3 minutes, and to Thomas (11.7 minutes).
"The more practice time [Knight] gets and the more game time he gets, I think the more he'll find his rhythm," Orr said.
On a similar note, Orr said sophomore forward Cameron Madlock, who has yet to play this season, remains a part of the team but is suspended indefinitely.
"With the semester winding down, we want him to focus in on his academics," Orr said.
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