INDIANAPOLIS -- Neil Reed, who left Indiana's basketball team three years ago, accused coach Bob Knight of choking him for about five seconds during practice, CNN/Sports Illustrated reports.
Reed transferred from Indiana to Southern Mississippi in 1997, saying he was abused physically and mentally by Knight.In a report aired Tuesday night, Reed told CNN/SI that other coaches had to separate him and Knight during the practice.
"He came at me . . . and grabbed me with one hand," Reed said. "I grabbed his wrist and started walking back, and by this time people . . . grabbed coach Knight and pulled him away."
The report included other complaints about the volatile coach.
Former Indiana player Richard Mandeville said Knight once came out of a bathroom, pants around his ankles, and showed players soiled toilet paper, saying, "This is how you guys are playing."
Former Indiana star Luke Recker, who transferred after his sophomore year, also is mentioned.
Knight did not return a phone call from The Associated Press for comment.
At a news conference at Assembly Hall in Bloomington on Tuesday night, Indiana basketball media director Todd Starowitz read statements from a former assistant coach and a former player, both of whom denied Reed's claim. Knight did not attend the news conference.
"I was an assistant when Reed was playing, and his allegation that I had to separate him from coach Knight is totally false," former Indiana assistant Dan Dakich, now the head coach at Bowling Green, said in his statement.
Former Indiana player Robbie Eggers said in his statement: "The statement that he was choked by coach Knight is totally ridiculous."
Senior A.J. Guyton defended Knight's methods, saying the coach helped him earn AP All-America honors this week.
"Without this system, without coach Knight challenging me, that would not have been possible," Guyton said. "I say that because at Indiana you know you're going to be challenged. I don't think Neil Reed understood that. In order to become an All-American, you're going to be challenged by a coach that pushes you to the limit. It's all a process of a boy becoming a man."
Senior Michael Lewis said the timing of the CNN story would not bother Indiana at the NCAA tournament.
"We've been through a lot," Lewis said. "That's one reason were talking now, so we don't have to deal with it Thursday and Friday."
Knight last summer was accused by a Bloomington man of choking him in a restaurant parking lot. The county prosecutor refused to file charges, saying Knight was provoked.
Starowitz said the timing of the CNN report was "calculated" to embarrass Knight on the eve of the NCAA tournament. Knight was aware the story was in the works but refused to comment to CNN, Starowitz said.
Reed, a junior at the time, announced he would leave March 18, 1997, when Indiana was on spring break. He said he knew Knight was tough on his players, but he felt singled out for criticism.