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Reed won’t return to Indiana

March 19, 1997

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Indiana guard Neil Reed said Tuesday he won’t return for his senior season because coach Bob Knight pressured him to leave.

``If the choice were mine, I would have returned to Indiana University,″ Reed said in a statement. ``But the choice was not mine. Coach Knight has made it clear that in making those decisions about my future, he is accountable to no one.″

Knight told Indianapolis television stations Tuesday that he met with juniors Reed, Andrae Patterson, Richard Mandeville and Robbie Eggers to discuss their futures with the program. He said all four players were told what was expected of them next season, and each was given an option to play elsewhere.

Knight said Eggers, Mandeville and Patterson indicated they wanted to complete their careers at Indiana, which was routed by Colorado 80-62 last week in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

``What I want is for this to work out for these kids the best way possible,″ Knight said. ``I’ve told them in each case what I think, and they’ve thought it over and have told us what they would like to do, and we’ll just take that and go from there.″

Knight criticized Reed, Patterson, Eggers, Mandeville and Charlie Miller for inconsistent play this season and questioned their dedication to the program. But Reed, who started 26 of 33 games, said he was singled out for criticism.

``Coach Knight has created a different set of rules for me,″ said Reed, who averaged 12.9 points and led the Big Ten in free-throw percentage (85.2) this season. ``Leadership requires respect. I have not been given any respect for three years. ...

``Coach Knight has continued his longstanding tradition of verbal attacks and physical assaults on his players and his coaches. I have personally been at the forefront of those focused attacks during my time at IU.″

After Indiana’s loss to Colorado, which ended a disappointing 22-11 season for the Hoosiers, Reed said Knight met with him and two other juniors.

``Coach Knight told us, `I think you guys should transfer because you are not going to play here next here,‴ said Reed, who hasn’t officially asked for a transfer yet.

Reed’s departure follows a rocky season for Indiana.

After starting 14-1, including an 85-69 rout of then-No. 6 Duke in the Preseason NIT, the Hoosiers struggled in the Big Ten. They went 9-9 in the league, tying for sixth place.

Then the Hoosiers were eliminated in the first round of the NCAA tournament for the third straight year. It also marked the fourth year in a row Indiana didn’t win the Big Ten title, the only time that’s happened since Knight became the Hoosiers’ coach in 1971.

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