One week from Saturday, former Indiana basketball standout A.J. Guyton will be inducted into the Indiana Hall of Fame during halftime of the IU-Penn State football game at Memorial Stadium.
When it was announced Guyton would be heading into the HOF, he wrote an open, public letter to his coach, Bob Knight, asking him to return to Bloomington to see his induction. Knight, of course, has not returned to IU's campus since he was fired in late 2000. It was an ugly divorce, but new coach Tom Crean has worked hard to make Assembly Hall a place Knight would feel comfortable returning to.
There's only so much you can do, of course. Ultimately, it's Knight's decision. But Guyton did his best by writing a heartfelt letter, and Crean has done a great job of leaving the door open for Knight without putting any pressure on him to return.
"If he ever walked back in there [Assembly Hall], he should see that it's a place that has great reverence for what he did," Crean said Wednesday night at an alumni event in Evansville. "He should see that it's a place that has great reverence for what his players and what his teams did, and he should see that it's a place that has great reverence for what he means to this program."
Will Knight return next week for Guyton's induction? Will he return next year? The year after? Ten years down the line? Never? He's the only one that knows the answer to those questions. But if Knight ever does walk back onto the campus of the school he helped make what it is, Crean will be waiting for him with open arms.
"If he ever comes back, we'll be ready," Crean said. "The welcome mat, the red carpet, whatever you want to call it, will always be there."