Knight Among Pitt's Elite

When the topic is about Pitt point guards, many believe the discussion begins and ends with Brandin Knight.

Pittsburgh solidified that notion when Knight's No. 20 jersey was retired during a pre-game ceremony prior to the Panthers' matchup with Marquette Wednesday night at the Petersen Events Center.

"This was a big surprise to me,'' Knight said, referring to Pitt's secrecy about the event. "I just want to thank everybody here, Coach Dixon, my family. I told Levance (Fields) I wouldn't cry, so I'm going to stick to that. This is the best place to play, and I'm glad I got a chance to play here and in the Big East.''

Knight, currently an assistant coach on Jamie Dixon's staff, was a two-time All-America selection at Pitt. Knight became the fourth Panthers player to have his jersey retired when a banner featuring his likeness and No. 20 raised to the rafters. He joins No. 10 Don Hennon (1956-59), retired Feb. 28, 1959; No. 34 Billy Knight (1971-74), retired Feb. 20, 1989; and No. 32 Charles Smith (1984-88), retired March 2, 1988.

A Pitt point guard from 1999-2003, Knight's outstanding play and leadership keyed the Panthers' basketball renaissance. He guided Pitt to back-to-back Big East regular-season titles (2001-02 and 2002-03), two NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances (2002 and '03), the program's first Big East Tournament title (2003), three straight appearances in the Conference Tourney's title game and a four year record at 89-40 (.690).

Knight was a 2003 Wooden All-America team selection, 2002 Associated Press All-America choice and two-time All-Big East honoree. He concluded his Pitt career with 1,440 points, 785 assists, 492 rebounds and 298 steals. Knight earned the Big East's co-most valuable player award and most improved player honor, as Pitt went 29-6 in 2001-02. He holds school records for career assists, career assist average (6.2 per game), career steals, season assists (251 in 2001-02) and season minutes played (1,284 in 2001-02).

After his Panthers career, Knight played two seasons with the Asheville Altitude in the National Basketball Development League and led them to consecutive titles in 2003-04 and 2004-05). After that, he signed a contract with the NBA's Houston Rockets, but suffered a knee injury two weeks later.

Knight, an East Orange, N.J. native, graduated with a history degree from Pitt. He is in his third season with the Panthers coaching staff. He started out as the video coordinator and director of operations before being promoted to assistant coach this past summer.

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