Dan Dakich and Don Fischer talk toughness, fragility

  • 01/25/2011 11:53 am in

If you’re not following us on Twitter, you might have missed the link I tossed out last night to a podcast of Don Fischer’s weekly appearance on The Dan Dakich Show.

This segment is a must-listen each week for IU fans as Fischer and Dakich offer candid analysis. A lot of interesting stuff, but nothing more so than the following:

Dakich: This is the wrong thing to say, OK, but this is what real coaching is. When the season’s over, there’s gonna have to be a couple of these guys make a decision on whether or not they want to stay here. And there might actually be a couple of them that the decision’s going to be made for ’em. There’s too much fragility, mentally, among some of these guys and you know what? Some of them aren’t freshmen. There’s not freshmen and at some point, you know what, hey, we’re paying about about 30 grand a year to come here and do this and if everything’s so fragile, maybe the MAC’s for you, not the big time.

Fischer: (Laughs)

Dakich: I mean, truthfully.

Fischer: (Laughs) No, the reason I’m laughing Dak is because now I don’t have to say it.

Dakich: Well, it’s true. (Laughs) Hey, every game, big life, big stage, Big Ten, right?

Fischer: That’s right. (Laughs)

Dakich: It’s a big stage, Indiana basketball.

Fischer: That’s exactly right and the frustration level is at probably an all-time high in the sense of how this coach and his staff are looking at it right now, I can tell you that.

Dakich: The problem is, nowadays, then the guy goes to the paper: “well, Crean kicked me off.” Yeah, well, tough.

Fischer: Trust me, whatever they say now, everybody ought to be saying the same thing. “Really?”

Dakich: Really. It seems to me they’ve given you a pretty good shot here for a couple of years.

Fischer: Holy cow, have they ever.

Dakich: You know, players kind of have you during the season. But I’ll tell you what, the minute that final buzzer goes off, “Alright, really? I just made a call to Ball State, congratulations, you can be a Cardinal if you’d like.”

Fischer: (Laughs) No, you’re right Dak. This team is fragile, there’s no question about it and it’s unfortunate that we just don’t have that guy.

Dakich: Let me ask you something. Let me ask you something, Fish.

Fischer: Sure.

Dakich: Because you come off as the nicest guy ever and you are. But I’ve played golf with you and you’re a competitive guy, OK. Like, the whole grandfatherly, yeah, rah, IU thing is great.

Fischer: Yeah, it’s all BS.

Dakich: So let me just ask you a question. Because I know I am. Aren’t you tired of saying, “these guys are so fragile.” I mean, at some point, they’ve gotta decide that, you know, we all have to quit making excuses for them and I’m including myself.

Fischer: Oh, I know. That’s where it’s at right now. It’s to a point where we have been as nice as we can possibly be and now it’s about time to get real. These guys just don’t get it for whatever reason. And I feel bad for them in that sense because when you don’t get it, then you’re sitting there going, “What?” But the what is, hey, you’re not tough enough. But if you don’t understand what toughness is, and we’re not talking about getting into somebody’s face and punching them, we’re talking about mental toughness here. That’s where it all boils down. And this team is not mentally tough. It’s that simple.

Filed to:

  • Plane1972

    Actually, Watford was the consistently higher rated player coming in, but everyone had the sneaking suspicion (aka blind hope) that Creek was the odd-on guy with the highest ceiling. I still believe that, but his recovery obviously dictates that.

  • Plane1972

    You’re right! Jared Sullinger and four guys from the Y would make a lot of teams tremble.

  • defendtherock

    Let it die Tberry. The answer to your question could be a number of things actually. I really hope your question was a joke. I mean I want to give you the benefit of the doubt here. If it is a real question though, do you have your WWBK bracelet on? Maybe you should shake your magic 8 ball and get some advice on this one. As for me however, I really could care less what he would do right now.

  • InTheMtns

    Mike, that’s the perfectly put question. Do it, man — Coach’s show: Monday evenings at 7 p.m., 1-800-500-9422.

  • defendtherock

    Milla, this has been a crazy two months since this team has been struggling so bad. So, the laugh at the ‘bullwinkle’ reference was refreshing. I’m glad some of us have broad shoulders when we throw our opinions out on here.
    I think a 3-2 zone could work with watford on top, but not a 2-3. It does put basically two guys out of position from the get go.
    Speaking of defense, I cant believe people run a double team to the post anymore against ohio state. Did Purdumb not watch film of the game we played on new years eve? They will kill you from three if they get open looks. That was evidence of bad coaching by Painter, because they kept doing it the entire game.
    Can we please beat ILL…ANNOY?
    Alex, do we have any idea on Verdell’s status?

  • Hefuss

    The building blocks are being laid for rebuilding this program, from repairing relationships with alumni to bidding adieu to the bad decision makers who kept Davis on and hired Sampson. Another plus would be if FG will finally thank all the alumni in the first few courts side rows of the arena for their patronage and support and kindly pass on their precious seats so that the students who deserve the best seats in the house can support this team.

  • Anonymous

    Great post!

  • Anonymous

    Sullinger seems to have a short fuse – I bet if you could really get in that kids head, he’d do something stupid. Or light you up for 30 – worth a shot either way.

  • Anonymous

    As of now IU is only adding two freshmen to next years team. CZ and AE will contribute, but I’m not sure they are going to be program changers in their first year. I doubt Mo will be back. We’re losing Rivers. I don’t have huge expectations yet that next year is going to be dramatically different. It could change though I guess with a couple more additions.

  • Diesel

    Not sure Jerry, I don’t watch ND enough to know.

  • Diesel

    More cleans?

    Actually, I think it is more of a matter of bad habits and poor technique. Early in the year Dakich talked about how much “lower” CWat was playing, I guess just picture an athletic position. What I see is he doesn’t get low enough to stay in an athletic position, thus he is off balance, unable to explode when he jumps, gets pushed under the basket, unable to quickly respond, etc Just my take

    I just gotta know Jerry, did you remember the floor dive or did you go back and watch the tape?

  • Diesel

    Yeah Jerry, I see what you are saying. The post was mostly tongue in cheek.

    By the way, I saw class of ’14 PG P.J. Thompson from Brebuef last night. I’ll send you and “the boys” a game analysis at some point.

  • Diesel

    Painter also said this: “This wasn’t a strategy game. This was about competing. Our passion and energy was lacking. You don’t want to take anything away from Ohio State; they were ready to roll. But how can’t you play hard against the No. 1 team in the nation? For the lack of better words, they just stole our spirit.”

    And in regard to OSU: “They have a lot of talent, but they don’t get enough credit for their toughness”

    I guess my point about Purdue was, what changed about Purdue between the MSU game and the OSU game. No passion and energy, not playing hard. Is that on Coach Painter? If it is, he’s not taking responsibility for it. I put that back on the players.

    My point about Syracuse what here was the #3 ranked team undefeated that lost to 2 top 10 teams, then the wheels fall off against Seton Hall. Does that make Jim a bad coach now? Did he only go dancing a couple of times because I had some guy named Carmelo or DC. I don’t think he is an upper echelon guy, but I think he has been around enough, won enough games, and show you some banners enough to say he can coach the game.

    Yet these are both similar arguments some of us make against CTC.

  • Diesel

    CTC audio says he is improving.

    I guess I would be surprised if he goes, but i have no information on the matter. I am a little miffed we haven’t heard more than ‘inflammation’ or ‘swelling’. The guy had an MRI, spill the beans already. IU is worse than the Colts when it comes to being forward with injury information.

  • Anonymous

    You’re right cause Texas Tech really took the college bball world by storm didn’t they ?

  • InTheMtns

    We are in agreement, Diesel. Although, I’ve still never been overly impressed with Boeheim and I think maybe Syracuse is over rated this year, I can agree that he is a good coach. I thought Painter’s quote actually was very insightful. It was like the fight was just whisked right out of them before they even knew what hit them.

    As you said of my original post — Perception Department.

  • JerryCT

    I lied to PHD and did not erase the game and rewatched it ….. sadly …. more than once. CW seems to bend at the waist to get low ……….. not good.

  • millzy32

    By Texas Tech standards they actually were terrific for Knight. He had them ranked which they never were and never will be again especially with his terrible coach of a Son. They beat a few teams in the tournament that they never would have beaten and he did it all with average to below average talent.

    I was never a huge Knight fan but I can respect his ability as a coach and I would put it up there with the best of them.

  • Plane1972

    N71, love the Dos Equis reference. My take on it is that he controls the situation and there are a lot of moving pieces involved. 1) CTC still has at least 2 more years to right the ship, imo, and the longer Harris can observe that process the better for him. 2) He may be reluctant to disappoint his home state with a commitment to MSU right now in the middle of his season. 3) MSU isn’t the picture of stability with its recent “turmoil.” I completely trust Izzo will make the adjustments needed to end this season strong and move forward as a national power again, but there is a lot of drama in East Lansing right now, so Harris may be following that, as well. Who knows what else may be going through this 17-18 year old’s mind? Yet again, we must exercise patience to let the process play out. Strangely though, if Creek were to take a medical redshirt next year (I have no basis for that, just hypothecizing), you’d be looking at a competition for that starting position with a commitment by Harris. Just an interesting thought to me.

  • Plane1972

    N71, love the Dos Equis reference. My take on it is that he controls the situation and there are a lot of moving pieces involved. 1) CTC still has at least 2 more years to right the ship, imo, and the longer Harris can observe that process the better for him. 2) He may be reluctant to disappoint his home state with a commitment to MSU right now in the middle of his season. 3) MSU isn’t the picture of stability with its recent “turmoil.” I completely trust Izzo will make the adjustments needed to end this season strong and move forward as a national power again, but there is a lot of drama in East Lansing right now, so Harris may be following that, as well. Who knows what else may be going through this 17-18 year old’s mind? Yet again, we must exercise patience to let the process play out. Strangely though, if Creek were to take a medical redshirt next year (I have no basis for that, just hypothecizing), you’d be looking at a competition for that starting position with a commitment by Harris. Just an interesting thought to me.

  • Plane1972

    Bob was at his best when he had a few tough-minded guys who could help the softer guys lick their wounds after practice. When he had that, he could ride his team relentlessly in practice and those teams would not wither in the face of tough competition in a game situation. Games were much easier than practice and an opportunity to showcase their hard work. Knight’s weakness is that that same strategy failed him when he lacked either a really tough or vocal core of players that the rest of the team looked to for leadership. Imagine a guy like Daryl Thomas being the senior leadership of the ’87 team if Alford had not been there. One or two guys make all the difference.

    That’s why I’m optimistic for guys like Zeller, AE, Yogi and Buss to come aboard. I’m cautiously optimistic about guys like Vic and Sheehey, as well. Hopefully they will develop into those strong leaders that have been hard to come by in a dramatic rebuild like this one. As frustrating as it is, I believe these are natural growing pains.

  • marcusgresham

    At least that’s another year in the weight room. As much as we want to talk about how ineffective Watford has been on the block, he’s been much better down low this season than he was last season. Same for Elston. Maybe Capobianco bulks up and becomes some type the lazy-eyed monster we’re looking for.

  • marcusgresham

    Some days I think Sheehey covers more ground than UPS. There have been times when he has just absolutely been everywhere at the same time.

  • Anonymous

    TT was definitively better after RMK got there but then again they didn’t really have anywhere to go but up. But IMHO he did not do anything that would have been impossible for someone else to do. Now those people that could do that are not just any coach but just because Bobby done it doesn’t mean somebody else could not have done it also.

    I know it sounds like I was never a huge Knight fan also but nothing could be farther from the truth, maybe considerably less in the latter years but nonetheless a Knight fan. I just get so very tired of people not being able to let go of the past and thinking that we if we would just sit down and think about how Bobby would have done it and do it that way then everything would be just wonderful. I think he was one of the best to ever coach the game in his day but he is no longer here and it is not ” his day ” anymore and the way he has treated IU as a whole after everyone and their brother and sister has reached out to him is another whole subject that I won’t go into.

    Sorry that last part was starting to get off the subject of what you and I were talking about so I’ll stop now.

  • MillaRed

    For whatever CTC may or may not be doing as a coach, he has nailed this aspect of the job in Gandhi-like fashion. The guy is simply a master of diplomacy.

  • Anonymous

    As odd as it sounds the longer he takes to announce where he is going the better our chances are with him in my opinion. Like you say it gives Crean more of a chance to show him that he is righting the ship and his coming on board take us from righting the ship to going full speed ahead.

    If for some reason if he was forced to commit somewhere in the very near future, as bad as I hate to say it, I think it would be somewhere other than at IU. This is one of the reasons I think he is playing his cards really close to the vest. I think he wants to see the improvement at IU and wants to go there but knows if the improvement doesn’t come in a certain amount of time he is probably, from a personal standpoint, better off going to MSU as he is more than likely a one and done player. He also knows that if he commits to play somewhere else the later he does it the less questions he will have to answer about why he didn’t choose IU. He probably sees it as a win win situation by waiting cause he has the luxury of not having to worry about being told sorry there isn’t room here by the coach that he chooses and at the same time not having to continually answer the how come questions.

  • Plane1972

    I understand completely. I like to think of myself as an objective Knight enthusiast. I love reliving the glory days of his tenure, but I stop just before the WWBD line is crossed. Coaches are different, kids are different and the times are different. RMK would not be assured of success in this day and age, but he certainly was a beast when he was at his best with the right kinds of kids on his roster. We cannot/should not argue about what RMK would have done because his days are over at Indiana and we must move forward. However, we have to celebrate our past to help sustain us through tough times like these.

  • Anonymous

    Mellow, complimentary, nonargumentative (yea, that’s right, I had to look up how to spell that one) this is very scary.

    Alright who are you and what have you done with the real Milla that I love to play point, counter point with. Return him immediately or else !

  • Anonymous

    I’d love to find the next Michael Lewis. That time he the ball and hit that guy in the face…then he stared him down! One of my all-time favorites!

  • MillaRed

    Man I name one religious figure and CTC in the same breath and I am
    converted to Creanatholicism? Wait, I think I said I would be a nun if we
    won tonight.

    Come on Mike, when things are this ugly what would you like to talk about?

    “Hey Pritch picked up his 4th foul in 8 minutes! Man I love his energy!”

    “Ohh another zone defense that gave up 2 three pointers in 45 seconds! We
    have them on their heels!”

    “Is that CWat at the top of our zone? Because Jordy is trying to block out
    Frankenstein on the weak side.”

    “Danny Moore is in. Jack a three! Jack a three!”

    I kid you my ITH brothers and sisters. I kid you.