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Thomas Seeks Knight's Wisdom

Isiah Thomas smiles during a news conference in Toronto in 1997.
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Indiana Pacers coach Isiah Thomas reasserted his interest in hiring Bob Knight as a mentor.

Thomas said he first discussed a position with his former college coach after joining the Pacers in late July.

"I'm looking for wisdom and I'm looking for knowledge. I hope that now that he has more time, he would be more involved with me as a mentor," said Thomas, who has never coached at any level.

Knight, fired by Indiana University on Sunday for violating a zero-tolerance behavior policy imposed by university president Myles Brand, has said he still wants to coach.

"That offer still stands and I hope he decides to tutor me," said Thomas, who led the Hoosiers to one of their three NCAA championships under Knight.

"When you look at the brainpower that he possesses, and the knowledge that he possesses about the game ... when you're looking at passing game and weakside defense, he wrote the book."

Thomas said Knight planned to talk with several friends he respects, including former NFL coach Bill Parcells, St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and former college basketball coach Pete Newell, about his future.

"In the process of doing that, I think he would consider being more heavily and more involved in myself," Thomas said. "I don't think I find a better person, or a better coach to help me along."

Thomas said he was uncertain what role Knight would fill with the Pacers.

"I don't see him coming to practice every day unless he was getting paid. From my standpoint, I would love if he would be there every moment where I could say, 'Hey, coach! What do you think?' Just like Phil Jackson has with Tex Winter," Thomas said.

"That would be impossible, because he still wants to coach in college basketball and he still wants to get his hand involved in college basketball."

He hopes to utilize Knight in a "Big Brother" role.

"The concepts and the thoughts that he came up with and he invented is the way we practice and play the game," said Thomas, admitting it was uncertain how much Knight would be paid as a mentor.

"What would you pay for the Mona Lisa? It's not every day that you get a chance to sit down and have access to a brain such as this. A coach, a mentor has been fired and I'm in a position where I can help. ... As a loyal supporter, as a former player with Bob Knight, I just want you all to know I'm in the foxhole with him."

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