Decision on dismissed players looms for Crean

  • 04/07/2008 6:00 am in

bassettellis.JPGWith the news on Sunday that both Armon Bassett and Jamarcus Ellis have contacted Tom Crean to discuss reinstatement, the new Indiana coach is faced with a pivotal decision less than a week into his tenure.

From a basketball standpoint, allowing both Bassett and Ellis to return to the program is a no-brainer. The duo represents IU’s only returning starters for next season’s team and their presence would go a long way in solidifying a shot at middle of the road stature in next year’s Big Ten race.

Unfortunately, due to the actions of both players over the course of this past season, this decision is not simply about basketball. In his press conference following IU’s loss to Arkansas, then interim coach Dan Dakich talked about changes that were needed to send the program in the right direction. And a couple of weeks later, Dakich, with the approval of the athletic department, booted Bassett and Ellis from the team.

While it is unclear exactly what type of infractions were committed to lead to their dismissal, rest assured it was much more than missed meetings and refusals to “own up” to those missed appointments. Neither guy seemed willing to let Dakich do his job in the tough situation he inherited. Ellis was shown in a few instances talking back to Dakich on the sidelines and Bassett had already been suspended once before. No matter how tough the situation was for everyone involved, their disrespectful behavior towards Dakich cannot be justified.

Now the responsibility to sort out this mess falls on the shoulders of Crean. I’m confident he’ll make the right decision for the program, the university and the players. If that means allowing both guys to return if they meet certain criteria set out by Crean, we should welcome them back to the program once they’ve paid the price. Or if Crean decides they don’t deserve another shot, I’m positive the rationale behind that decision will be plentiful.

Either way, it’s important to remember that no one individual is, or ever will be, bigger than the program.

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  • iuoiu

    My hope is that Crean talks a LONG time with Dan to get his perspective and rationale on the whole affair. And not just the dismissals. The team and how they conducted themselves as a whole. The more we examine this apple KS left us, the more worm holes we find and the more it begins to look rotten.

    Either way, Crean has a hell of a chance to make a statement with his actions. This is step one in him making the fan base and alumni feel better about the program.

  • hoosiergal

    I personally believe that they should get a second chance. Do they deserve it,? Probably not, but they are kids. They went from a lenient father to a strict step-father type situation. They did what comes naturally to any young person, they rebelled (we all rebelled at that age). I would establish a written contract with their expectations and consequences for not meeting those expectations between Coach Crean and Ellis and Basset. They then have a choice to step up or they can step out. Indiana is giving them the opportunity for an education, the price of that education is dedication and commitment to the team.

  • dabig

    It would have to depend on what exactly the reason was for the dismissal. If it's just a matter of a rule violation and they regret it, then they should be allowed to return. The basketball program has been known to give rule violators a break . . .

  • rhit87

    The IDS quoted Ellis as saying that he wasn't suspended from the team, but that he quit. If this is true, then he should be sent on his way. It's possible to come back from a suspension, but not from quitting.

  • SteveEyl

    AB should be kicked off the team for wearing that coat.

    Seriously, I'll give Crean the leeway to do whatever he wants.

  • easy

    I'm fine with whatever Crean decides. He will have more info on the situation than us. And you stole Crean's line with your last sentence!

  • monkeybusinessiu

    I don't know all the circumstances surrounding Basset and Ellis' dismissal from the team. No one outside of Assembly Hall does at this point.

    However, if it were me, I'd give these guys a pass. They signed on to play for Sampson, and he's gone. The players had a clear preference for his replacement (McCallum) that the Administration ignored. And then you had Dakich running the team and making the shots like he was going to be there in three weeks, which to me speaks of the height of arrogance.

    I agree that if they come back, they should be under a behavior clause in their scholarships. They screw up again, and they're done. I think, under the circumstances, that's fair.

  • tberry

    You make it sound like because there “KIDS” didn't get what they wanted a few times , that justified them not doing what the coach wanted.

    To many athletes , in fact to many “KIDS” think the world revolves around them. it doesn't!

    I will let Crean do what he thinks is appropriate. Evidently he is a disciplinarian and will get thing straightened out quickly. If they return, I predict they will both be productive members of the team. I just hope they grow up in a hurry, otherwise I'm sure they are gone.

  • Ryan_Btown

    I'm like everyone else. I'm sure there are a lot of different variables affecting this decision. Crean said he wants to get the academics into tip top shape so I'm sure that will be a big part of it. I think these guys get a second chance but will have some pretty hefty stipulations to their reinstatement. Crean doesn't seem like the type of guy to just suspend a guy for one game here and there, especially if they are repeat offenders. They might want to clean their act up.

  • Ryan_Btown

    PS> Was anyone else shocked to read some of those articles about the academics? I mean, after what we went through with Sampson, I guess I shouldn't be shocked, but I really didn't understand the mess that he has put us in, in just 1.5 years. He single handedly set us back quite a bit. Ridiculous really.

    How did he say it: “We're going to graduate players…We're going to do things right…”

  • Kelin Blab

    One thing I hope is KS gets another job and I have the opportunity to make signs, sit close enough, and go the game just to boo him. I want to heckle him as bad as the guy use to do in the early 1980's for the Washington Bullets as he sat behind the bench….

    I forget his name….any of you old heads rememer him?

  • If Crean lets them come back, I have no doubts that they'll do that growing up in a hurry.

    Like you, I think the decision should solely be Crean's. He'll have all the info on the players, the situations and circumstances, and whichever half of the alumni and fans that he pisses off should just shut up.

  • B_MD

    I agree. It really is shocking to find out how much was really going wrong with the program. It makes you wonder how on earth did this guy win so many games over such along period of time.

  • HoosierSmitty

    It's hard to say which way to go with this entire situation. I love watching Armon play. We obviously need some talent on the floor next season, so it's hard to say “Kick them to the curb.” Given the fact that no one really knows what the situation is, we'll just have to let Crean handle the situation as he sees fit and support that decision.

    These kids need to realize they are getting a free-ride to play basketball at one of the greatest universities in the nation. If they can't respect the school and follow a few rules, then we don't need them as badly as we think we do.

  • Kelin Blab

    Smitty that is the thing I don't think a lot of these kids who came to IU came to IU for IU…they came for KS and What was in it for them……THAT is what I don't want Indiana basketball to continue to be. The NBA will be there if you are good. I believe Crean will get players who come to Indiana for the reason he did….”It's Indiana”

    Kids play different when it is more about playing for the school, team, and not playing for themselves….hence…Purdue and Butler.

  • southsidehitmen

    If Crean does reinstate them, there's no way Dakich will be a part of the coaching staff next season. Which i'm ok with, but that means they'll have to find a new spot in the athletic department for Dakich because of his new contract, or buy him out.

    As much as I enjoyed watching Bassett the last two years, and Ellis for the first half of last year, I really won't be too upset if Crean upholds Dakich's decision to keep them off the team.

  • B_MD

    Just an FYI…Keith Smart is doing a chat on espn.com at 12:30. Would be interesting to get his thoughts on what's been happening at IU.

  • Kelin Blab

    There is a kid named Tommy Weakly of Edgewood who want to play for IU so bad he would play for free…..there is an article in the HT…..

    I think he led the state in 3pt shooting and from things I have read is …..he is an “Indiana kid” true to the core.

  • JerryCT

    I really think Crean will have no trouble whatsoever making the call on these kids. He will try to keep them by giving them a program to follow to show they want to be a part of the program. If they fail then its their own doing , not the coach.

    I believe that Holman and McGhee are actually more vulnerable and need more attention from Crean right now than Bassett and Ellis.

    Some things I donot understand.

    ==> KS announced the team had a 3.0 grade average. What happened or is the press guessing ?

    ==> How did KS recruit so well w these restrictions ? and it wasn't from illegal phone calls
    ==> Ironically KS and IU MUST be on the same team/page in facing the NCAA. How will they make this happen ?

  • Jerry,

    The report of the 3.0 GPA was after the first semester. Things have apparently changed this semester and not for the better.

  • Kelin Blab

    I think KS recruited so well because he had great guys around him that could get the kids on campus and he sealed the deal.

    I never heard a 3.0 team GPA thing……but given KS he was probaly lying.

  • BrianK

    It wouldn;t hurt me if they didn;t comeback but I think he should give them one last chance under his system and his rules. make them jump through hoops to prove they want back. Kinda like Pitino did with Caracter, making him live in normal dorms away from teh team for awhile. They have been spoiled with KS not reinforcing them going to class etc and it was probably a shock to them how strict DD was. They are young men who need to learn and this could be one hell of a learnign experience. I think this is one of those moments that has serious life consequences for them. If they accept and follow through with what Crean lays out for them they will learn alot and would come out for the better. This would provide some serious attitude adjustments for them. If they can't then chances are they might never change. If he doesn;t allow them back then possibly the shock of that will help them but that would epend on where they end up.

  • rvrx

    The last time the admin let the players choose the coach we wound up with MD. Not saying McCallum would be that train wreck but also understand the desire to put as much distance between KS and IU as possible in a short period of time. Hope McCallum is offically on staff by end of week.

    Also, have been around long enough to remember Lawrence Funderburk who said he wanted to play under RMK's discipline only to run in less than 2 months. Not sure B and E will be able to take the heat if they are used to getting strokes.

  • Just another reason why Greespan should go. Having an interim coach with only a few days left as acting coach dismiss two starters makes absolutely no sense. They should have talked to the players and kept the matter under wraps until the new coach came aboard. Now they've made it a public issue, with some people believing in no tolerence and other wanting to consider it youthful indiscretion.

    We should be happy this week that we have hired a talented, young coach and instead were still stuck talking about this and no matter how it turns out some people will complain.

  • jgongora86

    nicely said

  • “Ironically KS and IU MUST be on the same team/page in facing the NCAA. How will they make this happen ?”

    I'm not sure how you figure. Sampson denies that he misled the NCAA or IU. Based on the school's actions after receiving the report, it seems clear that IU concluded that the NCAA's conclusions about Sampson's truthfulness were correct. Not much that can be done about that conflict. IU simply needs to be truthful and let Sampson do what he must.

  • SoCalHoosier

    It seems to me there is a compromise situation that could take place. Let's accept the fact that the players screwed up big time and really want to come back to play for Crean and IU. Fine, let them come back as walk-ons instead of scholarship players, or only give them a half scholarship each. For AB, if he plays hard and follows the rules, he can earn a full scholarship back for his senior year. For Ellis, he can either take the 1/2 scholarship or drop out of school and never play college ball again, since he was a JC transfer and only has the one year left anyway. If they want to play badly enough, AND if the unknown issues are nothing more than missing some meetings and classes, then they can come back. Also, put them on a “last chance” contract – any violation of team rules or school rules for athletes and you are done for good.

  • JerryCT

    If I am not mistaken IU was asked by the NCAA to corraborate the NCAA findings but IU said they would only review the report and not check its facts. Don't we need KS to downplay or deny the allegations to lessen the idea that it was not “institutional” ? I don't see how we are served with IU saying he is guilty . As such we are in the same boat

  • rifleman

    these two guys that wanted IU to listen to their demands and “blackmail” the program should not be let back on the team….(go get some DJ Whites who said..”It's an honor to wear the IU uniform”)but if they are they should be on probation for the whole year and their academics should be in order and told if they even look at the coach wrong their lazy arses will be blasted out the door so fast they won't know what hit them…!!!

  • We indulge ourselves here. We have a free forum without consequence. I thank ITH. We also blame the victim when it comes to the problems our players have. Sampson stood in the homes of these young men and lied his ass off. He tried to be a buddy when he should have been a mentor and coach. That said the idea of bringing angry players back into a system they might poison is a real possibility. I do not envy Crean's decision but I trust him. Yes, yes I do.

  • I don't think that IU has responded to the NCAA's findings yet. Still, it makes no sense for IU to have triggered the for-cause termination provisions in Sampson's contract absent a belief that some of the NCAA's findings are accurate. The best way to have kept the two parties on the same page would have been to not fire Sampson. Clearly, IU was on its way to doing that, so I don't see any way that Sampson and IU will be taking identical positions.

  • JHoosiers77

    My initial reponse is don't let the screen door hit either of them in the %$#@ on the way out – I don't want Dakich around next year either. There are plenty of ex IU players that would love to be a part of the program without all the baggage Dakich would bring. If Coach C wants McCallum to stay thats fine but only he if wants him, not because the players demand him. We got into this mess because the players demanded MD when Coach Knight was fired – let's move on and do what's right for the long term future not just for one season. If Coach C decides they can stay then I'll support him as previously stated since he has more info than we do. My guess is at least one of them will stay under whatever rules Coach C comes up with for them to follow.

  • Just another reason why Greespan should go. Having an interim coach with only a few days left as acting coach dismiss two starters makes absolutely no sense. They should have talked to the players and kept the matter under wraps until the new coach came aboard. Now they've made it a public issue, with some people believing in no tolerence and other wanting to consider it youthful indiscretion.

    We should be happy this week that we have hired a talented, young coach and instead were still stuck talking about this and no matter how it turns out some people will complain.

  • jgongora86

    nicely said

  • “Ironically KS and IU MUST be on the same team/page in facing the NCAA. How will they make this happen ?”

    I'm not sure how you figure. Sampson denies that he misled the NCAA or IU. Based on the school's actions after receiving the report, it seems clear that IU concluded that the NCAA's conclusions about Sampson's truthfulness were correct. Not much that can be done about that conflict. IU simply needs to be truthful and let Sampson do what he must.

  • SoCalHoosier

    It seems to me there is a compromise situation that could take place. Let's accept the fact that the players screwed up big time and really want to come back to play for Crean and IU. Fine, let them come back as walk-ons instead of scholarship players, or only give them a half scholarship each. For AB, if he plays hard and follows the rules, he can earn a full scholarship back for his senior year. For Ellis, he can either take the 1/2 scholarship or drop out of school and never play college ball again, since he was a JC transfer and only has the one year left anyway. If they want to play badly enough, AND if the unknown issues are nothing more than missing some meetings and classes, then they can come back. Also, put them on a “last chance” contract – any violation of team rules or school rules for athletes and you are done for good.

  • JerryCT

    If I am not mistaken IU was asked by the NCAA to corraborate the NCAA findings but IU said they would only review the report and not check its facts. Don't we need KS to downplay or deny the allegations to lessen the idea that it was not “institutional” ? I don't see how we are served with IU saying he is guilty . As such we are in the same boat

  • rifleman

    these two guys that wanted IU to listen to their demands and “blackmail” the program should not be let back on the team….(go get some DJ Whites who said..”It's an honor to wear the IU uniform”)but if they are they should be on probation for the whole year and their academics should be in order and told if they even look at the coach wrong their lazy arses will be blasted out the door so fast they won't know what hit them…!!!

  • We indulge ourselves here. We have a free forum without consequence. I thank ITH. We also blame the victim when it comes to the problems our players have. Sampson stood in the homes of these young men and lied his ass off. He tried to be a buddy when he should have been a mentor and coach. That said the idea of bringing angry players back into a system they might poison is a real possibility. I do not envy Crean's decision but I trust him. Yes, yes I do.

  • I don't think that IU has responded to the NCAA's findings yet. Still, it makes no sense for IU to have triggered the for-cause termination provisions in Sampson's contract absent a belief that some of the NCAA's findings are accurate. The best way to have kept the two parties on the same page would have been to not fire Sampson. Clearly, IU was on its way to doing that, so I don't see any way that Sampson and IU will be taking identical positions.

  • JHoosiers77

    My initial reponse is don't let the screen door hit either of them in the %$#@ on the way out – I don't want Dakich around next year either. There are plenty of ex IU players that would love to be a part of the program without all the baggage Dakich would bring. If Coach C wants McCallum to stay thats fine but only he if wants him, not because the players demand him. We got into this mess because the players demanded MD when Coach Knight was fired – let's move on and do what's right for the long term future not just for one season. If Coach C decides they can stay then I'll support him as previously stated since he has more info than we do. My guess is at least one of them will stay under whatever rules Coach C comes up with for them to follow.