Monday, April 22, 2024

Book Report: 'A Season on the Brink: A Year With Bob Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers'


A Season on the Brink: A Year with Bob Knight and the Indiana HoosiersA Season on the Brink: A Year with Bob Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers by John Feinstein
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

John Feinstein's access and blunt storytelling capture the essence of a bygone era of college basketball. The vintage Bob Knight Indiana teams captured a moment in time when the three-point shot had just been introduced, teams could stall out a 45-second shot clock and players redshirted and stayed for as many as five years with one program, immersed in the program's culture until they could lead the team as fifth-year seniors.

The book lionizes Knight, who had little control of his mercurial temper, bulled just for the sake of exerting powerful on those he controlled, and fed his insatiable ego with his every move. The book is set two seasons before I started watching the game, and helped fill in some blank spots for me, granting me a thorough understanding of the power dynamics of the period.

The psychological damage exerted by Knight is excused by the author in the grand cause of cutting down the nets, but the tome does work as a prophetic sign of the self-immolation that would one day consume not only Knight and the Indiana program, but destroy this era altogether.

The writing is pretty solid, save for the long spells of mundane play-by-play that lacks color or context.

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