Former University of Pittsburgh star and retired No. 20 jersey honoree Brandin Knight begins his sixth year as an assistant basketball coach at Pitt. In his eighth total season on Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon's staff, Knight is responsible for recruiting student-athletes, scouting opponents, game preparation and on-floor coaching.
"Brandin has always been a tremendous asset for our program," Dixon said. "As a player, Brandin proved to be an exceptional leader and a coach on the floor. Through the years, he has developed into an outstanding basketball coach. He has been a terrific role model for our players and was instrumental in turning our program around. In addition, he has always remained loyal to Pitt."
Following his Pitt career, Knight played two seasons with the NBDL's Asheville Altitude. He helped lead the Altitude to back-to-back league titles in both 2003-04 and 2004-05. In 2005, he signed a contract with the NBA's Houston Rockets, but suffered a knee injury two weeks later. Knight spent the following two years in Pittsburgh rehabbing the injury. During that span, Knight got involved with coaching. He coached several AAU teams, including a squad that captured the Under-16 Pittsburgh Jamfest title in 2006.
Knight joined Dixon's staff in 2006-07 as its Program Assistant/Video Coordinator and served the 2007-08 season as Director of Men's Basketball Operations.
A Pitt point guard from 1999-2003, Knight's leadership was largely responsible for Pitt's basketball renaissance. The transformation of Pitt's basketball program into a national power can be attributed largely to Knight who led the dramatic turnaround. Pitt finished 13-15 during his freshman year, improved to 19-14 with a surprise Big East Championship Finals appearance and NIT berth as a sophomore, then burst onto the national stage with a 29-6 record, Big East regular season title, national top-10 ranking and NCAA Sweet Sixteen berth during his junior season in 2001-02. As a senior in 2002-03, Knight's Panthers maintained that success with a 28-5 record, co-Big East regular season title and second straight NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance.
In the end, Knight helped lead Pitt to two consecutive Big East regular season titles (2001-02 and 2002-03), two NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances (2002 and 2003), the program's first-ever Big East Tournament title (2003), three consecutive appearances in the Big East Tournament final (2001, 2002, and 2003) and an 89-40 (.690) four-year record.
A 2003 Wooden All-America team selection, 2002 Associated Press All-America team member and two-time All-Big East honoree, Knight concluded his career with 1,440 points, 785 assists, 492 rebounds and 298 steals. He earned the Big East's co-Most Valuable Player and Most Improved Player awards in 2001-02. Knight still holds school records for career assists (785), career assist average (6.2 apg.), career steals (298), career 3-point field goal attempts (261), season minutes played (1,284 in 2001-02) and consecutive games played with at least one assist (91 from 2000-03).
Knight's No. 20 jersey was retired in a ceremony prior to the Panthers' Marquette game on March 4, 2009.
Knight, who graduated with a History degree from Pitt in June, 2005, is a native of East Orange, N.J. His brother, Brevin, is a 12-year NBA veteran who was a consensus All-America point guard at Stanford (1994-97). The Knight brothers represent one of only eight brother combinations in NCAA Division I basketball history to earn All-America honors, a distinguished list that includes Marv and Vern Huffman, Eddie and Johnny O'Brien, Dick and Tom Van Arsdale, Mike and Willie Sojourner, Albert and Bernard King, Jim and John Paxson and Harvey and Horace Grant. His father Melvin is a former Seton Hall assistant basketball coach (1978-82) and player (1968-71) who currently serves as the athletic director at Essex County College in New Jersey.
Knight resides in Pittsburgh with his wife, the former Michelle Gonzalez, daughter Kylah (10) and son Brandin (3).
THE BRANDIN KNIGHT FILE Birthdate: December 16, 1981.
Hometown: East Orange, N.J.
Education: Bachelor of Arts-History, University of Pittsburgh, 2005; Seton Hall Prep, 1999.
Coaching Career:Assistant Coach, University of Pittsburgh, 2008-current; Director of Men's Basketball Operations, University of Pittsburgh, 2007-08; Program Assistant/Video Coordinator, University of Pittsburgh, 2006-07.
Playing Career:University of Pittsburgh, 1999-2003, Fourth jersey retired in school history (No. 20); Retired prior to Pitt's game vs. Marquette on March 4, 2009; Four-year starter at point guard; scored 1,440 points, finished with 785 assists and 492 rebounds; Pitt's career recordholder in assists (785), assist average (6.2), steals (298) and season minutes played (1,284); selected to the 2003 Wooden All-America team, 2002 AP All-American; two-time All-Big East team member; named the Big East Most Valuable Player and Most Improved Player in 2001-02; guided Pitt to its first-ever Big East Tournament title in 2003, two NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances (2002 and 2003) and back-to-back Big East regular season titles in 2001-02 and 2002-03.
NBDL's Asheville Altitude, 2003-05
Guided the Altitude to back-to-back NBDL titles (2003-04 and 2004-05).