Vaught's Views: Knight's mother sharing her experiences in latest book
Tonya Knight, left, has already published two novels and will write about her experiences with her son, former Kentucky star Brandon Knight, in her third book, to be titled "Diary of a Basketball Mom." (Victoria Graff)
Tonya Knight, who has written two novels, is working on a book, “Diary of a Basketball Mom,” that she started keeping notes for when her son Brandon Knight was only 8 years old and an unknown player in Florida. Since then he’s risen to a Gatorade Player of the Year in Florida, a prep All-American, a Kentucky signee, a Final Four participant and a top-10 draft pick of the Detroit Pistons.
“I’ve been keeping a journal since he was 8 and when I let people read it, a lot of them say, ‘Why not make a book out of it?’ Now I think the time has come to do that,” said Tonya Knight, who moved to Lexington during her son’s freshman season and worked at Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing. “I am in the process now of trying to put it all together.”
Fortunately, she’s been wise enough over the years to keep many of the notes on a computer and flash drive along with many written notes.
“Thankfully I was wise enough to save most of the stuff on my computer,” Tonya Knight said.
Brandon Knight was an honor student, partially because of the demands his parents always made that he value academics. It’s easy to see why because as personable as his mother is, she’s also witty and intelligent.
“I have a sense of humor that people do find hilarious,” she said. “But I¿have written two novels. So why not do this book? I think it could make for a very entertaining read.”
So do I.
Just the year at Kentucky could be interesting enough. Her son was UK’s leading scorer, but there were times he struggled early adjusting to the vocal leadership role coach John Calipari wanted him to assume.
He missed potential game-winning shots in Southeastern Conference road games when it looked like the Wildcats might not even earn a bye in the SEC tournament. He missed out on SEC Freshman of the Year honors because he lost a coin flip by UK¿officials that gave the nomination to teammate Terrence Jones — the winner — while he was nominated for overall SEC Player of the Year.
Knight was also the major catalyst in UK’s Final Four run because of the clutch shots he hit and the way he ran the team.
He opted to leave UK after one season and became the eighth overall pick in the draft — and was disappointed he did not go higher.
“I know Brandon was hoping to go higher (in the draft), but with all the behind-the-scenes stuff, politics and economics, it did not happen,” Tonya Knight said. “But he did what a very small percentage of athletes in the world ever do. He got to the NBA. It was still a great day (when he was drafted), but he’s so competitive that he just wanted to go higher.”
Her son is in Florida now waiting to see what happens with the NBA lockout before he moves to Detroit. He’ll be back in Lexington later this month to participate in a camp at Kentucky.
She’s delighted he’ll only be about a five-hour drive away in Detroit if she decides to continue living in Lexington rather than moving to Detroit.
And what does he think about his mom’s book?
“I have not talked to him yet,” Tonya Knight said.
“It’s not a ‘Diary of Brandon Knight.’ It’s a “Diary of a Basketball Mom.’ But he won’t care. There won’t be anything damaging (in the book),” she laughed and said.
Surely there might be a surprising revelation or insight about his season at Kentucky under Calipari.
“Maybe there’s a surprise. It will be more behind the scenes stuff. Maybe there will be something shocking to some people,” she said.
She hopes to finish the book in the next three to four months.
She’s also starting another venture — her own blog, “Diary of a Basketball Mom.”
“It’s going to be a fun blog. I’ll have some excerpts from the start and end of the book,” she said.
And for Kentucky fans, both the book and blog should turn out to be must-reads.