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Mike Woodson Canceled Recruiting Visit To Purdue After Conversation With Bob Knight

By Jack Ankony,


Mike Woodson has been around the Indiana-Purdue rivalry as a high school recruit, college athlete and now as the Hoosiers' coach. Ahead of Saturday's game, Woodson shared stories and thoughts on the history of the rivalry.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Mike Woodson has plenty of experience with the Indiana-Purdue rivalry.

Attending Broad Ripple High School in Indianapolis, Woodson averaged 28.6 points as a senior. He received All-State honors and a spot on the Indiana All-Star team, drawing recruiting interest from both schools.

Indiana was coming off an undefeated national championship season in 1976 under coach Bob Knight, and Purdue, coached by Fred Schaus, won the 1974 NIT Championship and finished third in the Big Ten in 1976.

On Thursday, Woodson said he had a recruiting visit scheduled to Purdue. But at the last minute, he had a conversation with Knight and ended up canceling the trip to West Lafayette. Woodson was already committed to Indiana, and he knew all along that was the place for him.

"I hadn't been anywhere so I was just going to take a trip," Woodson said."And I didn't make the trip and glad I didn't 'cause Indiana is home for me and where I always wanted to go."

Woodson went on to have a Hall of Fame career at Indiana under Knight. He averaged 19.8 points across four seasons and scored in double figures in all 60 games against Big Ten opponents. Purdue won three in a row against Indiana at the beginning of Woodson's career, but Indiana responded with wins in four of the next five.

On March 21, 1979 when Woodson was a junior, Indiana defeated Purdue 53-52 in the NIT Championship game at Madison Square Garden in the first-ever postseason matchup between the in-state rivals.

Indiana was ranked No. 1 in the country entering Woodson's senior season, but a back injury limited him to 14 games. Indiana and Purdue split two regular season matchups with Woodson injured, but he returned for home stretch of the season.  Winning the Big Ten title, Woodson was named 1980 Big Ten Player of the Year

Throughout Woodson's playing career from 1976-80, Indiana went 4-6 against Purdue. In his final matchup against the Boilermakers, Woodson and the Hoosiers lost 76-69 in the Sweet 16 in Lexington, Ky. on March 13, 1980.

Woodson went on to play 11 seasons in the NBA, and he coached seven NBA franchises from 1996 to 2021. Since his return to his alma mater before the 2021-22 season, Woodson is 1-1 against Purdue as Indiana's head coach.

In his first coaching matchup against the Boilermakers, Woodson's Hoosiers secured a 68-65 win in Bloomington behind 20 points from Rob Phinisee and 18 points from Xavier Johnson. Indiana was hungry for an upset against No. 8 Purdue at Mackey Arena on March 5, 2022, but the Boilermakers pulled out a 69-67 win with 17 points from Eric Hunter Jr.

Saturday's rivalry game is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., setting up a matchup between two coaches who know a thing or two about the importance of this game. Matt Painter played under coach Gene Keady at Purdue from 1989-93, and he's led the Boilermakers to a 22-1 record with a commanding lead in the Big Ten Standings at 11-1.

"Again, I mean, it's the biggest game in the state of Indiana," Woodson said. " The rivalry is just what it is, man. I mean, they have their fan base, and we have our fan base. The games have been pretty competitive. I know last year both games were very, very competitive games. I can't help but think Saturday's going to be a competitive game, as well as when we go up to Purdue."

Related stories on Indiana basketball

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  • THREE CONCERNS FOR IU VS. PURDUE: Indiana lost at Maryland on Tuesday and Purdue protected home court on Wednesday against Penn State, setting up Saturday's rivalry game at Assembly Hall. I was at Mackey Arena on Wednesday, and here are some quick thoughts and concerns for the Hoosiers prior to their matchup against the nation's No. 1 team. CLICK HERE
  • GAME STORY: Indiana freshman guard Jalen Hood-Schifino had a rough night, going just 1-for-14 from the field and missing his first 11 shots in a 66-55 loss to Maryland in College Park. The points total was the second-lowest of the year and snapped the Hoosiers' five-game winning streak. CLICK HERE
  • WHAT WOODSON SAID: Indiana coach Mike Woodson met with the media after Tuesday night's loss to Maryland. Here's the full video of his press conference, plus the transcript to read. CLICK HERE
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