Tuesday, February 2, 1993 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Ivan Renko? Observer Says 6-8 `Recruit' Is Knight Joke


INDIANAPOLIS - Bob Knight's announcement that a 6-foot-8 recruit from Yugoslavia will enroll at Indiana has set off a search for a player who may not exist.

On his television show Sunday, Knight said top-ranked Indiana had received word that a player named Ivan Renko intends to enroll and play basketball for the Hoosiers.

But who is Ivan Renko?

"I've heard the name, but I was informed that the kid doesn't exist. Knight's playing games," said Bob Gibbons, a recruiting analyst and editor of All-Star Sports Report in Lenoir, N.C.

"There is no such person. I'm positive. He was supposed to be located in New Hampshire. I called people that I know there, not to mention every prep school in the area, to see if there was such a player. There was none," Gibbons told The Indianapolis Star.

Knight did not return a telephone call yesterday. But on his radio show last night he said Renko was brought to his attention in July when he spoke at a coaches clinic in Europe. Knight cited NCAA rules and the situation in Renko's homeland as precluding further comment.

Craig Miller, a spokesman for USA Basketball, the governing body for U.S. teams in international play, also had never heard of Renko.

If there is an Ivan Renko, Knight may have violated an NCAA rule simply by mentioning him. The NCAA prohibits a coach from commenting about a player until the player has signed a letter of intent.

Gibbons said he thought Knight is "tired of people dabbling in his recruiting. I think he's going to show all of us that he's still Bob Knight. I'm totally convinced that it's bogus and Knight's just playing games."

Copyright (c) 1993 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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