The dogmas of the quiet past

  • 02/14/2010 12:40 pm in

For no reason in particular, there is an old Lincoln quote rolling around in my head today (Abraham, not continental). It comes from a message to Congress that was a precursor to the Emancipation Proclamation, when Lincoln penned the words “the dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present.”

Now, I’m still not entirely sure what that means, but it’s been rolling around in my head for the last few hours, so I just thought I’d get it out there.

Like most (if not all) of you, I watched at least some portion of the sound beating IU took at Wisconsin on Saturday. I was unable to watch from stem to stern, but I got the gist — not enough offense, not enough defense, not enough points, not enough hustle, not enough of anything for anyone to really find positives in anything but the final buzzer and those brief moments when it slipped from your mind that there was a game yesterday at all.

Now, it’s been suggested, in this space and in others, that I, specifically, am too easy on Tom Crean, too forgiving of the Hoosiers’ plethora of shortcomings as this season slowly turns the way of last.

But the truth is, folks, I understand. I really do. I understand how hard it is to watch this team play, and struggle as it does. There’s a standard Indiana fans expect, and it’s not being met.

And I know that for many of you, that standard isn’t measured solely with banners or wins-per-season averages, but simply with hard work, teamwork and commitment. The majority of you have (at least, I think you have) bought into what Tom Crean is selling — the rebuilding, baby steps approach that celebrates every move forward this team makes, and forgives most of its regressions.

But water will always boil when succumbing to intense heat, and so fans will become displeased when they see performances like the last three IU has managed. I’ve seen part or all of Northwestern, Ohio State and Wisconsin, and this time, I’ll agree with you, Hoosier Nation, your complaints are valid.

Sitting inside Mackey Arena on Saturday, (I cover Purdue for the Times now, too) I recalled IU’s trip to West Lafayette last season, because of something Matt Painter said after the game. I don’t recall, nor can I track down, his exact words, but essentially, Painter sympathized with Tom Crean a little bit.

Every coach that had come through the door after beating Indiana praised the Hoosiers’ hustle, their tenacity, their drive. But Painter had been through the same sort of rebuilding project, albeit on a smaller scale, in his first years at Purdue. So when talking about Indiana, and all those intangible qualities they supposedly offered, Painter also checked himself, saying essentially (and now I’m paraphrasing) that he understood how Indiana felt, that after awhile, you just don’t want to hear about how hard you try if you aren’t winning to go with it.

Painter said he knew Crean didn’t want pity, but respect, and I believed that day that in Painter, Indiana had earned it from the coach of their most-hated rival.

The problem, as I see it, is that Indiana has even lost that. They’ve lost that spunk that at least made them endearing without replacing it with genuine results, at least in the last three games.

Is it fair to judge so harshly on three games? Maybe. Maybe not. But it’s Indiana basketball. The coach is the state’s highest-paid employee, the spotlight is brighter, it comes with the candy-striped warm-ups.

In this team’s defense, which many do think I come to too often, it’s hard to talk about this group and the tradition of Indiana basketball. One former player told me last year that that tradition, as it was passed down from player to player under Bob Knight and at least for a time under Mike Davis, had all but evaporated well before everything fell apart and needed putting back together again.

So what makes us think that this Hoosier pride, as it were, can be restored simply through speeches and t-shirts? What was it that made playing for Indiana so much more special that it was set aside as “tradition” rather than simply the trappings of playing within an elite program? Was it a commitment to honesty? Academic excellence? Hard work? Fair play? All of the above? None of the above?

When Dan Dakich said Saturday on the Big Ten Network’s studio show that Indiana essentially played with no heart against Wisconsin, I’m not sure he was attacking the Hoosiers so much as he was pointing out a significant program-wide mentality that has been lost in recent years.

The questions, of course, are how that is restored, and whether Tom Crean is the man to do it. Is a commitment to the way of those who came before, with an emphasis on playing hard, hustling, out-working everyone no matter the task in front of them? Because those challenges look like maybe they’re starting to fall on deaf ears.

Or is it something else? Is it time for a coach to come in and put his own stamp on Indiana the way Knight did, but independent of Knight’s methods?

Alabama football clung for two decades to the notion of trying to do things exactly as Bear Bryant had done them, and the only coach who was successful in that span was Gene Stallings, himself an incredibly formidable sideline task master.

After Stallings, the program faltered until Nick Saban arrived, with his own way of doing things, with his own plan and his own attitude and no time to look back because it was necessary only to move forward.

Maybe for Indiana, the dogmas of the quiet past (although I’d hardly call it “quiet”) truly are inadequate to the stormy present. Perhaps it’s time to stop holding onto the Bob Knight-instilled way of doing things, and let another coach come in and run the show his way, with his methods and his agenda.

This isn’t condoning the methods of, say, Kelvin Sampson. I think we can all agree that an adherence to the rules is requisite for any program anywhere. (Well, almost anywhere.) But unless these recent performances become an aberration rather than the expected — and given the way the Hoosiers have played and who they have coming up, that seems unlikely — then this will become the latest in nearly a decade’s worth of seasons that ended, at best, in disappointment.

Tom Crean would be the first to tell you, that won’t get it done at Indiana.

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  • Hire Mike Leach

    Let me start off by saying I think Tom Crean is a great guy (as does everyone else). However, I am not holding out any hope for success in the near future (next 5 years). Our 2 best players next year will be Creek and VJIII (who play the same position). So who does Crean recruit? Two guys that play that exact same position…and noone else. No help is on the way…so get that idea out of your head. Unfortunately, this offense is not one that you can get by with inferior talent.

  • tberry

    “So what makes us think that this Hoosier pride, as it were, can be restored simply through speeches and t-shirts?” Kiddy play places and Football stadium paint.

    “Tom Crean would be the first to tell you, that won’t get it done at Indiana.”

    Well, it's got it done with IU Football for years. Glass thinks IU Football is fine so what will he require differently in Basketball and if there is a different requirement for success, why?

  • Dirk

    Zach, what is your point? Dakich decidedly wasn't talking about anything more than the players not playing hard- he even emphasized that twice that his remark had nothing to do with his experience at IU and that he'd say it about any team. And equating Crean with Knight makes no sense. Crean isn't Knight's clone, except insofar as he requires his players to go to class and graduate. That, by the way, is the Indiana way.

  • Diesel

    Well penned Mr Osterman.

    I don't think the challenges of hardwork and hustle will fall on deaf ears, because it can't. Not only will these kids fail at basketball, they will fail at life. These things aren't just part of some Indiana tradition and lore, they are winning ingredients and one of the main reasons IU as been good for such a long period of time. And the problem right now is we have no one stepping forward and calling people out for their lack of effort.

    But my friends, things will get corrected, and they will under CTC. The ship will get righted because of his commitment to recruit in-state talent. And because of players like Jordan Hulls, Derek Elston, and Daniel Moore. And because of recruits like Matt Carlino and Austin Etherington.

    Until this becomes Jordan Hulls' team, we are going to take our lumps in the effort and pride departments because there is no one to hold players accountable. That is a junior and senior player's job, and it is the most disappointing quality of Jeremiah Rivers (yes, even more than his jump shot). It's not fair to ask this of a freshman, but that's what needs to be done. Name one team in the country who's best leader is a freshman?

    I believe Crean needs to open all the starting positions up for whoever is willing to put in the effort in during practice and during games to wear that jersey the way it is supposed to be worn, and if that means a starting lineup of Hulls, Moore, Elston, Capo, and Bawa, than I am more than fine with CTC crouched over clapping it up for our team.

  • I'm sorry, was anyone under the impression IU was going to win more then 12 games in the second year of rebuilding and losing your top scorer?

    Its a long season and when you aren't very good its even longer and NO human being is going to keep pushing through with 100% effort after getting your a** handed to you a couple times and losing heartbreak after heartbreak. Eventually it will wear down the toughest of people. I would like to see anyone that says “this team is playing with no heart” deal with what they have gone through.

    I'm not making excuses for this team, I don't have to. We ALL knew what we were in for last year and this year. Be realistic and save this conversation for a season or two down the line if we still suck

  • tonyo

    Life-long IU fan. Two year reader of this great blog. First time making a comment.

    I do not believe the sky is falling. It fell two years ago. I am trying to remain hopeful and optimistic. So, here is my take …

    When IU wins a bunch of games next year, it will get a lot of national attention after these two really bad years. It will be a great story. The attention will produce recruits. Recruits will produce more wins and a top program. So, in the end, the poor seasons actually help us.

    That is a positive spin. Also, we will beat MSU Tuesday night. Go Hoosiers!

  • Kreigh_Smiths_Short_Shorts

    YES! Like was said a few weeks back, take a step back from the ledge. IU has SO far to go in the re-building process. Are they sucking right now? For sure. And it's incredibly frustrating and depressing to watch. But things are going to get better next year. Everybody picked IU to win 12 – 14 games this year. That's what they're going to do. And next year they'll win 16 – 18. And the upward trend will continue. IU will be back, but thinking it will in (really) one season is an exercise in futility.

  • cooper

    There is a fine line between respecting the past and being held back by it. Its pretty clear most of the fans are stuck in the past. Coaches can't stay forever and at some point move on. Tradition doesn't much matter either, as the article points out the tradition is of at best a mediocre team over the last 15 years.

    This off season and signing day next year are going to be supremely important. If core players transfer this year and Crean can't get a big recruit IU could be in trouble. I've no desire to see IU become Marquette

  • Kelin Blab

    tonyo….first welcome and keep posting….second…you are 100% right and 0% wrong.
    If IU beats MSU all these comments will be a up and down as this team…but I will take it.

  • Kelin Blab

    I think some of the wins we saw, made us forget this is Crean's first year with the beginnings of his 'type' of team. He can't get it done in one year, last years team was a team of players he could get at the late signing date.

    If you want to get excited about IU's future, head to south and watch Carlino, go check out Etherington, wear your IU gear to a game and watch DSR…you tube Sheheey and VO. Piece by Piece IU/Crean is building this thing…….2011/2012 season we are dancing!

  • vslice

    I seriously love your optimism and tend to agree that next year will produce a year the fans have been looking for, for some time now.

    I think the present time is soooo critical to IU's future. TC has got to find a way to keep these guys together. None of these kids are use to losing the way they are losing at the present time. If he is able to keep these guys together I really think these last two years will pay huge dividens in the future.

    Look there were some great things that happened this year. I can remember calling my dad at midnight after they beat Pitt at MSG, so excited that they had knocked off Pitt!! Believe me he wasnt too happy that I called but I'm not sure I even really got to sleep that night cause I was soooo excited. There were some great signs, it didn't take long to realize the Mo Creek was a huge recruit. There were also some downs but I think that is what you can chalk up to inexperience and youth. I just think that the lose of Creek was greater than anyone had anticipated, throw in Roth's injury and its been a year to remember. This is why I think it is huge for TC to keep these guys together, for the things they have been through is nothing that anyone will ever be able to take away from them. What doesn't kill you will only make you stronger, and stronger they will get!!!!!!

  • This is a great post IMO and why I sometimes get a little bent out of shape with some of the over-criticism or harsh language directed at the team. I played on a similar team in college, of course not nearly the level of IU. But I played D2 and my freshmen year I was the only freshmen, we also had 10 sophomores, 2 juniors and 1 senior. One of the juniors was injured the entire season, so experience wise we were similar. Our starting lineup was me as a freshmen, 3 sophomores and a junior.

    Long story short, we won 9 games the entire year, and most of those were out of conference early in the year. One game we were without our healthy junior and one of our starting sophomores and lost by 35 at home. So, to a point I've been there and know what it's like. By the end of the year you're just mentally drained, and it's not even the games. As a player, you're always up for the games, but practice is so hard, it's almost impossible to focus and put everything into it, which then leaves you unprepared for the game with the APPEARANCE of not playing hard or not caring.

    Believe me, I played hard and cared, but mentally it's really hard. Call it excuses, I call it reality.

  • Daddy

    Good comment Dirk. This is a poorly written piece. Crean isn't doing it like Knight. Do you see the zone defense we sometimes play? This program started from complete scratch and has exceeded expectations this year. Crean has these kids playing hard, and it is the end of a grueling season going against more talented teams every night. Mentally these kids are gassed. They lost Creek and Roth. Next year we will either make the tourney or be a bubble team. The year after that we are back in the tourney for good. And if Crean lands a big time recruit to compliment these guys next year or the year after when Verdell and the boys are seniors, watch out. Crean is one of the only people who has the positivity and the energy for this job. And he is doing a whale of a job. You are not too soft on Crean, don't write these articles to appease idiots who don't know about IU basketball.

  • SSTRAUB

    Im getting tired of posting this every week.. Why is everyone expecting a tourney bound team this year!!! We all know we were picked to finish at the bottom tier of the big ten this year. Not due to our lack of talent but due to our lack of experience and leadership. This is Creans 1st year on the job if you ask me. Last year shouldn't even count. I will be happy next year to have 16 wins and a nit berth. Then make the tourney in 2112. And keep on after that. Chin up hoosiers. Next year we will jave a healthy Combo player in MO Creek back, Spot Shootin dead eye Roth, Experience under our belt and our 2 commits for 2010 are great defenders who can put some points on the board if needed. I see Crean Lookin at the JUCO's hard this off season trying to land a seasoned big man. God knows we need one. Quit dwellin on the last 4 games. We should get beat by these top Big Ten teams due to their depth and experience. And beat BAD! We were spoiled when we played the weaker half of the big ten in the beginning of the season. I say chin up. Things gotta get worse before they get better. And better is on the horizon.

  • sjudge

    Knight had a bit of luck as well. Buckner was a “legacy” who wanted to play both BB & football. May was a miracle “get.” If Downing had decided to leave when McGinnis bolted, maybe we don't get anywhere near the 73 Final Four and our recruiting tanks. Probably we don't turn around the current mess without another miracle recruiting class, which is at least two years away. In the interim, we better learn to play defense.

  • IUMIKE1

    The earlier wins that you speak of gave us a little bit of a window into what this team has the chance of being like game in and game out. The fact that this is actually Crean's first year cannot be overstated or repeated too many times. Just fielding a team last year was a success in itself and required more effort and time than alot of coaches would be willing to put out. If you continue to look at our situation with that kind of thought process and looked back at the end of the year, without even knowing how the rest of the season turns out, and could say wow we almost beat PU and the Whinin' Illini on the road, hung with the blue slimers for all but 5 minutes, beat the Gophers and won a true B10 road game and done all of this with your best player, who hung 31 on the blue slimers and elicited the comment from Criminalipari that he was the best player that they had player against so far the year, hurt before we even played a B10 game everyone would be talking about Crean being the greatest thing since sliced bread and there would be sightings of him walking on top of the water at Monroe. For the people who want to talk about how long Crean has had with our program I say look at VJ 3 and what kind of player he has become (yes I know his defense leaves something to be desired) and if we can see that much improvement out of all of this years freshmen then we will be right on track to being back to where we all wan to be IMO.

  • silkyslim

    Reality check; young teams stink! Young teams rebuilding stink more! This program WILL require more than 1-2 years to fix.
    Our expectations are WAY out of reality. Yeah, I know it is tough to watch when the inconsistency or turnover monster bites our guys, but the flashes of improvement, developing fundamentals, & raw bball skills will pay BIG dividends down the road, if we can be patient & set reasonable expectations.
    Anybody got a decent goal/expectations for our guys this year without sounding like Chicken Llittle or some middle school instant gratificationteen calling for the coaches head or crying that it's the end of the world?

  • hoosierdaddynow

    I'm a pretty patient guy, and I feel like I have a realistic understanding of the magnitude of the rebuilding process here. I do not measure the progress of this team in wins and losses this season (and maybe even next season). What I do want to see is consistent progress and improvement in measurable things like turnover margin, rebounding, defensive efficiencies, and free throw shooting. I also look for it in subjective things like effort. It does not bother me that they are on a six-game losing streak. What bothers me is that, after seeing a great deal of (baby-step) progress up through the Purdue game, the team seems to have taken giant leaps backward over the past three. Mind you, I did not expect them to win those games. I am sure that they are mentally and emotionally drained. Still, I'm not sure what to make of the games. It does not give me a lot of optimism for next year. Worst of all, it's becoming way too easy to find other things to do rather than paying attention to the games. This is not at all an indictment of Crean. I still think that he is the right man for this job, and I remain optimistic that in the long-term this will work out. I just feel that “long-term” may not mean next year, and maybe not even 2011-12.

  • hoosierfan

    Cooper, you say you “have no desire to see IU become Marquette”. I find this statement curious, as Marquette is one of only four teams to have won at least ten games in the Big East since joining the conference. In addition, Marquette is in the thick of the Big East race after being picked to finish 13th in the league. Their tallest regular is 6'-6″ yet they have not been beaten by double figures in any game this year after loosing their three star players to graduation. I saw them on T.V. the other day, and their best player was diving all over the floor for loose balls. The few games I have seen, they played extremely hard every possesion. And let's not forget they have been a regular NCAA torunament particpant lately with a final four in 2003. At this point in IU's history, I think this is exactly what we need to aspire to.

  • EDOD

    Daddy, you are exactly right. The list of idiots we shouldn't appease is long and growing. Fortunately these are not true I.U. fans. the real fans understand that this is essentially Crean's first year. Last year Crean had to throw together a quick recruiting class which includes players he would never consider in the future(Pritchard,Jobe). This year he loses his best player in Creek and best 3 point shooter in Roth and still has woins over Pitt,Michigan,Minnesota and close losses with Purdue and Illinois. Daddy, you and I both know most fans are idiots so ignore most of these posts. Oh and by the way if we didn't have Crean whou would we want? I hear Sean Sutton may be available…no pain, no gain?

  • MillaRed

    I won't make any excuses about the team right now. We just don't have the answers. But in the bigger picture, I have already moved on to the future. We really don't have a choice.

    There have been some recent ITH attacks on the players and Crean this week. Others have touched on the obvious and I will try to do the same.

    Crean – This guy was doing some pretty good things at Marquette. I always liked him and his teams. This wasn't a scrap heap situation. The guy is a well respected part of the national coaching community. Do you REALLY think Indiana was completely honest about the situation when courting CTC? The players dismissals, the drug issues, the attitudes. Then he gets an extension? If that isn't getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar I don't know what is. An extension? He probably could never have imagined how awful the situation was.

    He gets a top ten recruiting class. Have you all forgotten that Creek was a Marquette commit? We wouldn't even have known who the kid was without CTC. Watford and others were familiar with Crean through Marquette. IU was the LAST thing on their minds. If not Crean, WHO? That is a big WHO ladies and gentleman. Because the first step was to find a taker. We weren't exactly losing track of resume's through this process. I have criticized him I know. But he's not going anywhere and to say he will not be successful is wayyyy too premature.

    The Players – My goodness. We should be kissing their little a$$es for having the guts to jump into this mess. Hulls was being courted by Duke for crying out loud. Creek to Marquette, Watford wherever he wanted to go. The sophomores are sticking with it. I'm sorry but casting stones at the players is an injustice. They came here to help save our collective butts. We cannot get top ten classes every year at this stage. We need hope for the incoming kids and they have all I can muster.

    How would you like to be Penn State? Michigan? What are their excuses for stinking it up? Is Illinois that good? No. All I am saying is this is another bad year. We need Creek back. These kids are going through the necessary growing pains and when they are Jr's/Sr's they will remember what it takes to get through the tough times. It will only make them stronger and I look forward to witnessing all of it. Go Hoosiers!

  • jaywiz

    As much as I want to agree with you, and for many of your points I do, I also disagree with some of your statements as well. I do NOT believe this program has exceeded expectations this year for the same reason that you are predicting an NCAA berth next season. The bar has been set too high, and after that PU game where they left absolutely everything on the floor, they realized they had a small chance to make postseason play, and they accepted that. It is impossible to expect that sort of effort every night, but I drove 8 hours wednesday night, hoping for an upset. Boy was I disappointed. I am not bashing Crean in any way, because I love the guy and I'm sticking with him, but the last 3 games are embarrassing. The 08-09 Hoosiers were quite the opposite. I could watch them lose, even getting whooped, but I would still be proud because of the hustle and frankly, I just don't see it this year. Have they had bad breaks? yes. But where is the heart? I don't need to see banners right now, I just want these kids to give it everything because you know what? when they do start winning, they will be on a level that nobody can match because they learned how to win the hard way, not by half-assing your way through a season, waiting until your star player comes back.

  • kurk81

    Zach, the Lincoln quote means: “We didn't used to suck. Now we do. Get used to it.”

  • marcusgresham

    Kreigh always seems to nail it. Just go back and look at preseason predictions and it was in the 12-14 win area, maybe a few that even were around 10. Everyone said, “they'll win a few they shouldn't win (i.e. Pittsburgh,) but they're still young and will have still have some setbacks, (Loyola, the last 3 games,) and next year is probably a better season to begin showing optimism regarding more victories than losses.” I said myself that if this team was somehow able to just break even and get to the tournament that is a level below the NIT (College Basketball Invitational or something like that) it would be fantastic just to provide an extra week or 3 of practice, but I didn't expect it.
    I'd love to see him jerk some guys out who aren't playing well and replace them with others who will, too, but those others aren't on the team (yet.) My mother has told me several times, “You can't make chicken salad out of chicken ____”

  • marcusgresham

    A.) Glad to see my nickname for Calipari is catching on
    B.) When Creek returns VJIII can become less of a liability of defensive player because he will be able to draw a less crucial match-up. I know he needs to be better, but if he's not having to guard someone as critical to the other team's offense as he is now his deficiencies may not be as glaring. Rivers, for all his offensive woes, is still the best on the ball defender, Creek is pretty good, and that puts Jones on the third option in regards to wing/guard type players. Furthermore, who says he can't improve there—–he sure as hell has shown that he can become a rebounder.
    C.) You probably could walk on Monroe right now—it's friggin' freezing!

  • Daddy

    There is no excuses for lack of effort, but I feel like this is a tough thing to observe and quantify. Sometimes there is not much more that can be done against a team like #11 Wisconsin, especially when you are digging yourself out of a hole and are going against an experienced team building momentum towards the end of its season. This team has given a lot of effort all season – and it appears to have hit a wall the last 3 games. Lets remember that the main players on this team are freshmen, and they have played more time than most freshmen should play. It was almost inevitable that they would hit a wall playing the load that they have. So lets give them the benefit of the doubt. That Pitt win looks so much nicer now that they beat WV the other day. Next year we get a few more marquee wins and finish slightly above .500 and are back in the tourney. With a team like Crean's, with emphasis ono guard play and defense, there is great potential for an upset in the tourney. Then the snowball effect. Once Crean has a full 4 years and can get his recruits throughout the roster, IU will be back and it will be one of the greatest stories in all of sports… then watch out because it will be an avalanche. Fred Glass and I know this. No way Crean is gone without giving him at least 5 years (half of his deal). So please do not bother yourself with these outlandish ideas.

    Random thoughts:
    Sad to hear we are no longer in the running for Selby, but I knew it was a longshot and this indicates he is 1 and done for sure in my mind, so oh well.

    Wondering if Jeremiah Rivers regrets leaving Georgetown. I know many people that praise him, but I am not big on Jeremiah although I think he is a good kid. It is funny to me that certain people just get tagged a great defender and everyone seems to latch on. His defense may be the best part of his game but that is not saying much. He is quick, but he is out of control. I assume he knew he was never gonna play on a team like Georgetown. Again, I appreciate him…. but he can't shoot freethrows let alone a jumper, and he is a liability a lot of the time.

    I cannot wait until Crean has another year to develop this past class. I am predicting big strides for Watford, Elston and Capobianco. Hulls will continue to steadily improve and will be great at his role. If we can get Bawa to contribute and Creek back to his prior form we will be fine.

    Wishing:
    An upset in the Big 10 tourney would be icing on the cake.

  • I've been thinking about this team and how Crean has coached and the fan base. With the exception of the yahoos who thought this team should be unreasonably good, the IU fans have generally had reasonable expectations. Crean tamped them down and the reasonable fans (<80-85%) have followed. But what Crean hasn't shown is that he has some non-negotiables. Crean acts like the culture and expectations of a program grow organically. To an extent, that is true. But through his actions, he hasn't laid down immutable expectations. Name a successful college basketball coach, no matter if they are taking over Kansas tomorrow or a nuclear test site like IU was, and they have certain expectations for players that are unchanging. For example, Tom Izzo demands toughness. Bo Ryan demands precision. Tony Bennett demands defensive effort. You don't have to be the second coming of Gary Payton to play for Bennett or the second coming of John Stockton for Ryan or the second coming of Charles Oakley to play for Izzo. But you better put forth the effort. Crean seems to be resigned to playing his best players (Watford, VJ3, Dumes, Pritchard) regardless of whether their effort merits playing time. When VJ3 (or any other player) is going through the motions on defense, it doesn't seem to correlate with his ass sitting on the bench. You want to create a culture based on certain attributes? The coach needs to show they are important by always demanding them. Whatever the coach thinks is important enough to determine playing time will quickly become what the players think is important. I wish Crean would make defensive effort his touchstone. Running an offense is complicated and messy and takes time. It's like French cooking — it's hard as hell, takes forever, but when it is done right, it is magnificent. But defense? At the end of the day, it is a matter of unrelenting effort. Crean should keep going down the bench until guys show that effort. If that means that we have stretches of Danny Moore, Brett Finkelmeier, Derek Elston, Tijan Jobe and Bawa, so be it. Yes, that would be the worst lineup in the Big Ten. But Crean would be making his point to the guys on the bench that if you want playing time, just give it your all defensively. Kelvin Sampson, as reviled as he may be, took a wanna-be Bracey Wright in Rod Wilmont and turned him into a guy who took pride in his defense. I don't think he did it by preaching about defense and then playing him until he magically started playing it. If there is any quiet past that seems to relate to this stormy present, it is the Mike Davis era of valuing talent over effort.

  • jaywiz

    I appreciate your comments and insight. Like I said before, I do agree with much of what you are saying. I do not entertain ideas that Crean will be gone even after 5 years. That would be insanely foolish. If Bill Lynch gets to fulfill his contract, then there is no doubt that Crean will. (I happen to have a soft spot for Lynch, I think he could be the man for the job for some reason) I do not hate this team, nor will I. This team will always be above the 07-08 Hoosiers who take the most disappointing team ever award. I always have faith that we will win the next game and there will come a time when this may be true. I sure hope that you are correct in your predictions because I am too much of a homer to predict accurately.

    When Rivers is on the floor, IU plays better. Don't know why. But VJ3 is emerging as the true leader. Although I commend Rivers on his drastic improvement with FTs.

  • hoosierdaddynow

    Excellent comment. You are correct that a good program has a “signature”. Right now, we have none. It's not an excuse to say that “we are young”, as true as that may be. This is the time to imprint that signature on the program. And I agree with you that defense needs to be that signature, so that every team that rolls through Bloomington knows very well that they can expect to have every shot and pass contested, that there will be a defender up in their face. Furthermore, that's about all we have to go on right now; talent and size certainly don't hurt on defense, but you can atone for those shortcomings by effort and strategy, moreso than you can on offense.

  • dp3090

    You wish they could become Marquette!

  • DowningV

    Oops..“…be it under the tutelage of [scandalous], or honorable coach.”

  • DowningV

    Does tradition operate in a bubble?…Can the changing values of a university's student body, the fragmentation and overall possible decline for passionate interest in sports, and the many other diversions so temptingly available to eat away our time and interest erode the old and simple pleasure found in being dedicated to strong purposes and traditions? Don't look too harshly at Indiana basketball, the actors, the coaches and players performing on maple stage under those five old dusty banners, until you begin to also examine how much heart the audience is also bringing to the theatre. Dakich likes to separate himself out of the culture…Fans, the observers, are part of the Indiana basketball culture…They intersect through time with IU's storied tradition, our great past achievements, alongside the level of current pride in the game, national interest, and the heritage of great statewide high school basketball .. I'm not sure if we'll ever get back to the days when a 10-year-old kid, a possible future Damon Bailey, wants nothing more than to play hoops in his driveway from dawn 'til dark of night, and four more hours under street light, for the sole reason to someday be an Indiana Hoosier basketball player…..Is that the complete fault of Indiana basketball? What coach can put that early stamp onto a young heart's desire? Would it be any less likely or unusual to find a young teenager willing to put down Xbox “Call of Duty” to watch a two-hour PBS documentary covering the life of Abraham Lincoln? Can our new president emancipate teenagers from game controllers?
    I would like to remind the rambling Dan Dakich that culture is not just shaped and defined by 1 to 4 years practice and play in a McCracken court bubble, be it under the tutelage
    of scandalou, or honorable coach…He put on his uniform during the days of Atari..Maybe a kid's passion for hoops and guarding the real MJ still trumped a chance the more challenging opportunity of shutting him down on a game of “NBA 2K”. From our collective national beliefs, to our most intimate dinner table conversations, our values are constantly challenged to maintain once considered sacred traditions….On the bright side, maybe Indiana basketball still means more to an Indiana kid than a two sentence history lesson from Zach Osterman….. ?

  • DowningV

    Oops..“…be it under the tutelage of [scandalous], or honorable coach.”