Tom Crean talks about Bawa’s progress

  • 12/21/2009 4:58 pm in

bawa091509One of the questions that is most frequently posed in the comments early on this season is, “When is the handsome man in the tie going to play more?”

Well, today is your lucky day, friends. In today’s press conference (video of the presser here and here), Herald-Times reporter Dustin Dopirak asked the following question of Tom Crean:

When will you know it’s time for him (Bawa Muniru) to get at least a few minutes here and there?

And here is the answer:

“Well, he did the other day. I don’t look at it like that. I think anytime you go into the game with a predetermined mindset of your bench, it’s usually not a 50-50 proposition. You’ve got to let the game play itself out. There’s different situations that call for different people inside of the game. But as he continues to progress and build his own confidence, then I think his teammates will continue to have more confidence in him. But he’s just not at a point yet where he’s laid it out on the line from what we need from him defensively. And it’ll come. You know, Tijan, he wasn’t anywhere close to it a year ago either. And I don’t use that as an example just because they’re both from a different country, but because of the learning process. The learning curve has always got to get adjusted for guys. And right now we’re not trying to inundate Bawa with too many things other than for him to really come out and be a presence for us defensively and get people open. But it’s not like we’re out there trying to teach him eight different moves right now or you do this as a counter to that. We’re not trying to do that. We’ll do that in our individual workouts. But we really want him to just get that confidence to where he can go in and apply some real effects defensively and on the backboards.”

To this point, I think Crean’s approach with Bawa has been spot-on. He’s clearly not aggressive nor polished enough to play at a high level just yet and not many situations thus far have warranted putting him in the game. I would expect that he could get a little clock here and there the rest of the season, but clearly, Bawa has a long road ahead to become a significant contributor.

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  • MillaRed

    If we all take a huge step back and think about how we were feeling this time last year, moving through that season and then the recruiting saga etc, we have to feel good about where this is headed. A few months ago we were hoping Bawa was eligible. Because if not then do we lose him etc?

    So here we are today with a potential Big Ten FR of the year in Mo Creek, a possible BT all-FR in Watford, a kid like Elston who has already wedged his way into the starting line-up (does anyone else love this kid like I do?) and Hulls showing flashes of his future.

    I still would like to see Bawa get minutes because we are going to lose some games by a lot. But he is only a FR and there are first year players all over the country riding the pine. I am happy with the freshmen we have and have high hopes for Bawa in the future.

    I would like to see more out of VIII. He has not returned to his 2008 form. Rivers would be great if he cut down on the 3 useless TOs a game.

  • Jason

    I think everyone got a little too excited when Bawa came in since we haven’t had a 7 footer in awhile. I am not exactly sure why we took Bawa except for the fact that we have a couple available scholarships the next couple years. He could however hurt us with the scholarship say in 2012. I also think it is a way for the coaches to gauge how effectively they can develop raw big men since we seem to be recruiting a lot of them in the next few classes. Overall, I do not see him ever playing more than 10-15 minutes a game and not much of a force. I believe if the coaching staff felt differently they would have redshirted him this year since he’s not contributing either way.

  • Jason

    He will if he can keep it up consistently against good competition. Remember everyone was sooo high on Tom Pritchard last year when he did good before conference play. Also, he is not going to be a one and done or even leave early so that is a big deal when talking about national attention. I would like to see him get some more recognition if he keeps it up because it can only help our recruiting.

  • Maurice Creek is the top scoring freshman in the country right now (18.5 ppg). How come no one is talking about that?

  • MillaRed

    If we all take a huge step back and think about how we were feeling this time last year, moving through that season and then the recruiting saga etc, we have to feel good about where this is headed. A few months ago we were hoping Bawa was eligible. Because if not then do we lose him etc?

    So here we are today with a potential Big Ten FR of the year in Mo Creek, a possible BT all-FR in Watford, a kid like Elston who has already wedged his way into the starting line-up (does anyone else love this kid like I do?) and Hulls showing flashes of his future.

    I still would like to see Bawa get minutes because we are going to lose some games by a lot. But he is only a FR and there are first year players all over the country riding the pine. I am happy with the freshmen we have and have high hopes for Bawa in the future.

    I would like to see more out of VIII. He has not returned to his 2008 form. Rivers would be great if he cut down on the 3 useless TOs a game.

  • Kelin Blab

    I think we can lay Bawagate to rest now….Crean has spoken

  • Diesel

    Agreed Kelin, I was at the NCC game the other night and I normally stay for the entire contest no matter what, but not even the twin towers could keep my interest with 2 min remaining. Jobe is definitely in a much better place to give some support inside if warrented. Crean's player development will certainly be put to the test with Bawa over the next 4 years.

  • A real hoosier fan

    well you must not know much about IU basketball or even basketball for that matter. if he is such a waste of a scholarship how come schools like louisville, UK, UCLA, alabama, auburn, and Vanderbilt were also recruiting him?? obviously he is very raw but big guys take time to develop. Hasheem thabeet from UCONN could barely walk and breath his freshmen year. Crean said they wanted to redshirt him but our lack of depth down low wouldnt allow them that luxury. so you might want to think to yourself, do i know what im talking aboutm, before you post something next time…

  • Kelin Blab

    I am not that familiar with Creans past post players but an expecation for Bawa would be, to become a solid solid rebounder and defender. I don't expect much offensively but would like for him to develope some type of post moves. If he can be a rebounder and defender that would help….Crean is going to have to find and recruit more polished bigs

  • Hardwood83

    I agree with this completely. What really separates top teams from IU are the big men. I think Elston is going to be great but A) he's not a true post B) he's not enough by himself. I expect Capo, Pritch & Bawa will improve- but I don't see any of them as difference makers. I understand and accept that Crean's offense is very guard heavy but someone has to play D, rebound and offer at least a threat generate offense in the paint.

  • CutterInChicago

    Jay Bilas gave Mo Creek some love today: “Best Freshman: Maurice Creek, Indiana
    After hanging 31 on Kentucky in a loss, Creek scored 29 against North Carolina Central. In his last two games, he is averaging 30 points on 21-of-31 shooting, including 10-of-18 from behind the arc. Creek is an alert defender and a good shooter with a quick release. As he and Christian Watford improve, Indiana will put together some more wins.”

  • BaseballBuc

    When Big 10 rolls around Creek will prolly be the #1 go to guy for the Hoosiers. That being said teams are going to put all their defensive focus into stopping him. In the meantime, I am not about to give him all the accolades, until he proves he can score consistently in the Big Ten. I am not down playing what he has done thus far, because he is a phenomenal player. But if he gets shut down, someone will need to step up.

  • HoosierSmitty

    Offensively, I just want Bawa to be able to catch and dunk or dunk a put back, learn to hit at about 66% clip from the charity stripe

    Defensively, what you guys already said. Alter shots, make guys think twice.

    You really have to give it to Crean because Jobe is actually contributing a little bit. I'm interested to see if Jobe contributes in Big Ten play or if he just awkwardly falls on the ground even more.

  • GFDave

    Bawa has not played the game enough. He hasn't built up the experience to react to even the most simple things with instinct. You can see it in how he reacts (lack thereof) to shots and rebounds. He gets stuck watching instead of just going to the rim. He watches players drive the ball without seeming to understand they want to get to the basket. My prescription for him would be too play as many HPER games this spring and summer as possible. I'm talking about numerous hours per day.

    IMO Jason is right to an extent. Creek is our best offensive player right now and is really standing out. I think the fact that there is so much new with this group, almost every game, that his story is getting a little washed out. But people are paying attention to Creek, no doubt.

  • Hoosier_Hound

    Yeah, the first place to look for Muniru's improvement will be on defense and shot blocking, followed closely by his ability to rebound. Offensive skill for him will be a long way down the road, if at all.

    Muniru isn't as good as a freshman, but look at how much JaJuan Johnson improved as a sophomore. But like I and others have said, it will come on defense and in rebounding first.

  • q95

    i am not getting my hopes up on this guy anytime soon…maybe never. like i have said before, give me a big from the midwest anyday over a kid from overseas. are you listening mr. zeller???

  • Kelin Blab

    I think what is in Bawa's favor over Tijan is he will have an entire year working with the staff and team to prepare for his next 3 years. I expect we will see Bawa begin to play a bigger role late next year and going into his sophmore year. I think next year he will get some Tijan type minutes. Also I think Bawa has been playing basketball a little longer and has a good looking shot….there is hope and I look forward to seeing him progress…Good Kid….love the shirt and tie 24/7…

  • JerryCT

    I feel Bawa has the coordination to grow into a key role if he works at it………which requires an aggressive attitude. I wonder if he has this attitude. Tijan appears to have the attitude but not the natural coordination. Neither guy hurts us much if the minutes are short and TC seems to be on the lookout for the right moments to play them.

    Creek's scoring 3's and mid range has opened up a new frontier on offense. We have needed B10 teams to fear something we do well. I want them to game plan for him so our scoring balance can take over via Watford, Jones, Pritchard , Dumes and Rivers, Elston. They get more open looks if there is some fear of Creek. In B10 play he will need to back door the over play.

    What mystifies me is Creek and our team's ability to play D in the helter skelter open floor but not in the 1/2 court. Jones, Creek and Hulls are just too easy to go around resultign in 2-3 fouls per game from Pritchard.

  • dagwoodsupreme

    real hoosier fan, I have to disagree with you about Thabeet in his early years. He made the Big East all rookie team in his first year and it can be argued that he provided more value in his frosh year than Bawa will this year. However, I do agree with you that he (Bawa) does have talent…the bigger question is when will he begin to develop that talent to provide enough value to get our hoosiers back to the top? If the answer is next year, then great, the project worked out…if it takes 2-3 years, then I think most people would begin to question the move. Regardless, IU needs a serviceable big man, who can bang around down low, grab some boards, and occsionally posterize people…hopefully we see one soon, whoever it may be.

  • Jason

    First of all, I've played on the AAU circuit and with many players that are playing college ball somewhere now. NONE of those schools offered him a scholarship. Going to watch a high school or AAU game and talking to him is NOT recruiting him. One of my friends a couple years ago got recruited by TONS of big time schools and his best offer was Eastern Illinois. Then on the Hasheem Thabeet thing you have to be kidding me. He was pretty good his freshman year and DOMINANT his sophmore year. Bawa does not belong in the same gym as Thabeet as a high schooler. Of course Crean is not going to say anything negative about him but the staff knows that he is not aggressive enough and not a basketball player. He may contribute a few minutes in a couple years (if we don't get better big men), but he will never average more than 15 MPG, 5 pts, and 4 rebounds. You and so many other fans are so naive about every player, lets be more realistic!

  • MarcusGresham

    I was about to post what you just said here: all hope is not lost for the next three years; if you think it is go back and watch footage of Hasheem Thabeet as a freshman. He was TERRIBLE. Now, I'm not implying Bawa will ever be anything close to what Thabeet became, but I do think he can be a major contributor—especially given the landscape of college basketball these days, where anyone 6'10″ or taller is gone to the NBA as soon as possible.