Crean: “We have to keep getting better at every position”

  • 02/15/2010 6:22 pm in

(Editor’s Note: Video from Crean’s press conference discussing Michigan State is available after the jump.)

It’s not often that a coach is asked about recruiting the day prior to a game against a top 15 team, but that was the case earlier today when Tom Crean met with the media at Assembly Hall.

Terry Hutchens, the IU beat writer for the Indianapolis Star, asked the following question:

“In these next two classes, there’s lots of guards that have been committed, is there a need to really target some big men?”

And here, for those of you longing for a big man, was Crean’s answer:

“I think we are. Again, going back to trying to do this program, we had to get a team on the court. We had to fill scholarships. We didn’t apply for a year off. We didn’t apply for a sabbatical. So we had to get a team to be on the court which we had to use scholarships to do.”

“We get the class, we answer a lot of needs, we try to cover every position, knowing that we need to get size in that last class. This class, with the couple that we had, we knew we needed to improve the wing position.”

“We have to keep getting better at every position. We have to keep upgrading all of the time and develop the guys that we have. And every time that we have a scholarship make sure that we’ve done a really good job of trying to build towards it.”

“We’re not going to stop recruiting guards. Just like we’re not going to stop recruiting big men. We’ve got to keep building up a really good program. And there’s trial and error in this, like I said. But I don’t think there’s any question that even in the class we’re trying to recruit for now, that we’re trying to recruit size.”

“I can’t get a lot more specific than that with the other classes, but I think there’s a good gamut of a lot of different kinds of players in the classes the next couple years, but I can promise you we’re not shutting the door on anybody that can come in here and really elevate the program.”

The size that Crean speaks of for the current class seems to be Will Yeguete, a 6-7 power forward from France that plays at the Florida Air Academy. We’ll try to get more on Yeguete in the near future.

Beyond that, I think it goes without saying that IU really needs to land a player like Cody Zeller or Marshall Plumlee in 2011 or A.J. Hammons or Peter Jurkin in 2012.

But to follow up on Crean’s comments, I think he’s absolutely right to say he’s not going to stop recruiting guards. He shouldn’t. The situation is such that the roster, as it currently stands, is not what I’d call complete at any position. And that means you target the best talent available, regardless of position.

Filed to:

  • Diesel

    I'm not going to disagree with Crean's answer. It's a Bill Pollian-esque philosophy. I think we are in a position based on what the program has been through that we have to take the best player available, regardless of position. Without another big in the current class (Crean will fill get another 2010 recruit by the way), our frontcourt will not be any different next year personnel wise. We lose Jobe, but the rest of the guys – Pritchard, Capo, Bawa, Elston, and Watford will have gained a year of experience and an offseason to develop. Yes, the backcourt needs to get better, but so does the frontcourt. And VO and Sheehey definetely seem like effort guys which would certainly benefit this team right now.

  • iu1993

    Like many of you, I have spent much of the season wondering about team performance and improvement, intensity and effort, coaching, the possibility of players transferring, our recruiting, and everything else Indiana basketball. And depending on the day I've found myself either totally excited or absolutely frustrated beyond belief. But when push comes to shove I come back to this:

    We have a solid, top 10 class of recruits. They came to Indiana knowing we didn't have upper classmen to show them the way. Knowing that Indiana was in the beginning stages of a rebuilding process. That it was going to be a tough, uphill battle. That many of them could have gone to other schools and played for a Top 20 team….

    But, they chose to come to Indiana. They chose to participate in this process. They chose the struggle. Why, I ask myself, would a player do this? And I can only think of a few reasons: #1, because they wanted immediate playing time at a high profile school and might not get it elsewhere; and #2, because they wanted to be part of the class responsible for making Indiana a powerhouse in college basketball again.

    I think it's safe to say that it is probably a combination of these factors (and maybe a few others I am missing), that brought these kids to Indiana. And I also think it's safe to say that they didn't expect to win a national championship in their first year. But I'd be willing to bet they all expect to challenge for a national title by their JR and SR years. And that this is the message Crean sold to them during the recruiting process.

    They are freshman. They are talented. They are improving. Along the way there will be some bumps and we might lose a player or two. And if we do, so what? It just means that player didn't have the mental toughness or didn't fit into the program as expected.

    But at the end of the day this class will be joined by others. And although they may never hang a banner in Assembly Hall, they will persist and prevail and return the program to national prominence. And the names Hulls, Creek, Watford, Elston, Capo, and Bawa will be forever known as the class that set the foundation for the next 50 years of Indiana Basketball.

  • ldiu

    I certainly agree with you and if I were CTC I would play these freshman (except for Creek, of course) almost all the time for the remainder of the year. I would play Watford, Elston, and Hulls all over 30 minutes a game. I would play Bobby C. at least 20 and Bawa 10-15. I would still play Pritchard and Dumes quite a bit as you do have to have 5 players on the floor, but would only play Rivers as a last resort as he is such a liability. Not just his turnovers and poor shooting, but his constant dribbling, dribbling, dribbling the ball causes the other players to just stand around.

    I certainly agree with getting better at every position, but his is the case for every team in the country.

  • iubase

    I couldn't agree with Diesel more. Those 6 are the cornerstones for IU moving fwd. The other is patience. Crean is a great communicator and once we get into the upper echelon of the Big Ten then he will be able to get the Indiana players now going elsewhere. IU will benefit from Creans work ethic and intelligence. His presence for a few years will provide consistency. The developing upperclassman will provide leadership and this combination will get IU over the hump – but it will take 2 more years

  • Hoagland

    I have a serious question that I just can't justify answering how I want to that I would like to pose to you guys.

    If I am a big man, why would I come to Indiana University to play for Tom Crean?

    I want to say for all the reasons we obviously love this program, but when I stop to think about it, if I was a big man and being recruited right now, this is one of the last places I'd come.

    It is well known Crean loves his guards, if you watch us now, even though we don't have a dominant big guy, all they get to do in the offense is run the whole time to set screens so guards can drive. Our bigs are asked to do all of the dirty work, for none of the fun. For them to score, it has to be a dump off or a board and put back. I know a lot of people will argue, well if we had a big guy wed run plays for him, but i just don't know if that is true. Sure we'd dump it down to him some, maybe have a couple of sets for him, but that isn't Creans style. He wants to run, and even in the half court, he doesn't want to take the time to dump it to a big, have it thrown back out, reposition, throw it back in … I just can't honestly see why a true big, one with talent and post moves, would want to come here for a system and coach he will not be featured under.

    It is kind of like how Wisconsin always has a stable of big polar bears up there. This happens for a couple of reasons, 1. They grow them like that in Wisky country and 2. They have a place that helps them succeed in Bo Ryans system. All they have to do is watch tape and say, that could be me. I'm going to touch the ball and be a big part of this team. No so much at IU, you watch our tape and see, man, I just have to constantly run up and set a screen for a team full of guards who never pass the ball back to me, even when I'm open on the slip.

  • silkyslim

    Big men seem to be at a limited supply. So it's develop within or find a diamond in the rough at the juco level or overseas.

  • Jmac

    I agree with some of what you are saying but our offense is basically a dribble drive like Kentucky's so Cousins, Paterson , and Orton get the ball all the time. There offense starts with the guards. It is all about the horses that run in the race. If we had the athletes on the court big or small we would look totally different as a team.