Greg Graham praises Crean’s “guts” in hiring of Cheaney

  • 06/26/2011 5:14 pm in

Inside the Hall had the chance to catch up with former Hoosier and NBA guard Greg Graham, who is now a physical education teacher and the basketball coach at Warren Central, on Saturday at the USSFA High School Shootout.

The primary focus of our conversation was 2013 commitment Devin Davis Jr., but we did ask Graham about the recent hiring of his former Hoosier teammate, Calbert Cheaney, as Indiana’s director of basketball operations.

Here’s what Graham had to say:

What did you think about Calbert Cheaney going back to Indiana as director of basketball operations?

“I knew that was going to happen. It was just a matter of when. Cal’s been down there the last few seasons, golf outings and I know he has a great relationship with Crean. I think it’s good for Indiana basketball. This is something that’s been wanted for a long time. To finally have a coach to finally come in and have the guts to hire a Knight guy, that’s good. And I think that’s primarily where the separation with Hoosier nation is from. If you don’t have any former players down there who are involved with athletics, I mean, people around here grew up watching Knight and his players. I think you have to still keep that connection and that tradition going.”

Do you think that’s the biggest thing Crean has done, that the past two coaches didn’t do, is embrace the tradition?

“I think it is the number one thing. And people have been wanting that. Crean finally was brave enough and had enough confidence in himself to bring a player back. I mean, why not? He’s probably arguably the best player that the Big Ten has ever seen. I say that loosely, but he’s the all-time leading scorer (in the Big Ten). He’s a proven player, I think he can help with recruiting, I think he can help a lot of those guys develop their game.”

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  • Luke72

    Greg also is a class act! He’s very dedicated to helping young people on and off the court! 

  • Luke72

    Greg also is a class act! He’s very dedicated to helping young people on and off the court! 

  • Luke72

    Greg also is a class act! He’s very dedicated to helping young people on and off the court! 

  • Luke72

    Greg also is a class act! He’s very dedicated to helping young people on and off the court! 

  • Luke72

    Greg also is a class act! He’s very dedicated to helping young people on and off the court! 

  • Luke72

    Greg also is a class act! He’s very dedicated to helping young people on and off the court! 

  • Luke72

    Greg also is a class act! He’s very dedicated to helping young people on and off the court! 

  • Anonymous

    Greg’s contributions were often overshadowed by all of the attention given to Cheaney, Bailey, Henderson, etc., but he had an outstanding career and his senior season is one of the best we’ve seen in 20+ years.  I’ll never forget the game against Purdue when he went 26 of 28 from the free throw line.  He absolutely dominated that game in a very quiet, efficient way.

    Glad to see he’s still involved with basketball in the state of Indiana.

  • Anonymous

    Greg’s contributions were often overshadowed by all of the attention given to Cheaney, Bailey, Henderson, etc., but he had an outstanding career and his senior season is one of the best we’ve seen in 20+ years.  I’ll never forget the game against Purdue when he went 26 of 28 from the free throw line.  He absolutely dominated that game in a very quiet, efficient way.

    Glad to see he’s still involved with basketball in the state of Indiana.

  • Kelin Blab

    I am not sure how much ‘guts’ Crean had when hiring Cal as opposed to just plain smarts! There are not a ton of IU guys that he could have chose from during these past few years that were in a situation they could have come to IU….

    Fife was a head coach
    Wittman was in the NBA
    Smart was in the NBA

    The Dir. of Operations is more of an administrative job and not sure these guys would have left for that role.

    I am sure there are others. I think Crean hired a guy who could do it, was a good fit, and happens to be a link from the IU/Knight era.

    And to be fair to Kelvin Sampson he had so many other important ‘calls’ to make than the to call Cal Cheney.

    A sobering thought….what would PU fans have done with a Bud Mackey as a recruit and possibly Born Ready also…we would have never heard the end of it.

  • Kelin Blab

    I am not sure how much ‘guts’ Crean had when hiring Cal as opposed to just plain smarts! There are not a ton of IU guys that he could have chose from during these past few years that were in a situation they could have come to IU….

    Fife was a head coach
    Wittman was in the NBA
    Smart was in the NBA

    The Dir. of Operations is more of an administrative job and not sure these guys would have left for that role.

    I am sure there are others. I think Crean hired a guy who could do it, was a good fit, and happens to be a link from the IU/Knight era.

    And to be fair to Kelvin Sampson he had so many other important ‘calls’ to make than the to call Cal Cheney.

    A sobering thought….what would PU fans have done with a Bud Mackey as a recruit and possibly Born Ready also…we would have never heard the end of it.

  • Diesel

    Agreed.  Doesn’t take guts to hire the B10 All-Time Leading Scorer back to his alma mater, Knight or no Knight.  Frankly, I’m sick of referring to “a Knight guy”.  Dakich was there.  Chris Reynolds is there.  Let’s move on.

  • Rwmvp

    One thing is for sure, he is a much better hire than Jerry Green was for the same position. Green had questionable kids at Tennessee and when he was hired at IU I knew things were headed downward.

  • Anonymous

    Couldn’t agree more !

  • Anonymous

    Guys who are only “Knight guys” are loyal to a man over a program.  I don’t think we need “Knight guys” anymore.  We need Indiana guys!  Calbert Cheaney is now an Indiana guy.  Through his actions, Knight has shown us what he thinks of Indiana.  Let’s move on. 

  • Glawton12

    Not to be nitpicky, but I was thinking the same thing.  In my opinion, the difference is in how completely Crean acknowledges and embraces the past of IU basketball.  Sampson didn’t appear to, and as we all eventually saw obviously just plain didn’t, care about the history of the program beyond that one hire that may have been more for something else like recruiting purposes anyway.  I like what Crean’s doing and I hope it starts to translate to W’s on the court, not just in the press.

  • Glawton12

    Not to be nitpicky, but I was thinking the same thing.  In my opinion, the difference is in how completely Crean acknowledges and embraces the past of IU basketball.  Sampson didn’t appear to, and as we all eventually saw obviously just plain didn’t, care about the history of the program beyond that one hire that may have been more for something else like recruiting purposes anyway.  I like what Crean’s doing and I hope it starts to translate to W’s on the court, not just in the press.

  • Napanap

    I think Sampson’s program blew up before we really got a chance to see what was going to happen in that regard.  Too bad he couldn’t keep his fingers off the touch tone.

  • Napanap

    I think Sampson’s program blew up before we really got a chance to see what was going to happen in that regard.  Too bad he couldn’t keep his fingers off the touch tone.

  • Napanap

    I think Sampson’s program blew up before we really got a chance to see what was going to happen in that regard.  Too bad he couldn’t keep his fingers off the touch tone.

  • Napanap

    I think Sampson’s program blew up before we really got a chance to see what was going to happen in that regard.  Too bad he couldn’t keep his fingers off the touch tone.

  • Plane1972

    I agree that Sampson did not fully see the fruits of his labor. He would have been a fine coach at another major institution that makes it a habit to cover up the misdeeds of its coaches and players. My gut tells me Kelvin is a good person and a real player’s coach – extremely admirable qualities. Unfortunately, the inmates ran the asylum in his short tenure with us. I have no doubt Kelvin would have been a great success in Bloomington if he fully grasped what it meant to be the coach at IU like Crean obviously does. Now that we are turning the corner, I can wish Kelvin good luck in the NBA. Just stay away from college hoops.

  • SeattleHoosier

    Agree – as I read the article I was thinking that we need to blend our history (Cheaney) with our future (Crean) to create something different and better.  Got to move on from Knight – love the guy but he’s no longer around.

  • Iumike

    greg you should be here too. you guys are what indiana is all about

  • Kennydescombes

    Greg Graham may be my favorite IU player of all time.  There is some stiff competition for that position, but he does slightly eek out the spot over Chris Reynolds, A.J. Moye, D.J. White, and A.J. Guyton. 

    Before anyone talks about some of the earlier players of the 70’s and 80’s, keep in mind that I am 32 years old and fell in love with college basketball and the hoosiers in 88′.  The one thing that seperates Greg Graham from the others is the overall game that he brought to his teams.  He could be the scorer, the passer, the leader, and always showed up on defense.  The one thing that every player on my list (with the possible exception of A.J. Guyton) was a tremendous desire to play tough defensively.  Although the stars of those teams really got the attention, I always respected the way these players filled their roles and made the team just gel on the floor. 

    On a side note, I was also very fond of Neil Reed, Luke Recker, Jason Collier, and Jarrod Jeffries, but since they didn’t stay with the program, they do not make the cut. 

  • Kennydescombes

    Yes, I completely agree with the thought that Kelvin just took the wrong short cuts.  There are a few players that I really wish we could have seen play four years at IU.  The likes of Armon Bassett, Jordan Crawford, Ben Allen, Brandon McGee, and Eli Holman would have been a lot of fun to watch play together.  Just look at the impact that Bassett had at Ohio U., and Jordan Crawford at Xavier had two years ago in the NCAA tourney.  Ben Allen also played well in the tourney for his team, but I do not remember where he went. 

    But if we really are playing the game of what-if, I would say that Mike Davis could have been an excellent coach at IU as well with some big if’s.  For example, if Haston wouldn’t have left for the NBA as a junior, perhaps we could have gotten one of Maryland post players out of the lane in the NCAA title game and hung another banner then.  Or if Jefferies would have stuck around for at least one more year, that would have taken a lot of pressure off the Bracie Wright, and Strickland class.  Or what if the NBA would have made their rule change for not accepting H.S. players, and we could have landed Josh Smith?  Would that have made the difference in getting guys like McRoberts, or Oden and Connolly? 

  • PocketHoosier

    McRoberts? No.
    Oden? No.
    Mike Conley? No.

    Smith? Yes.

    …and Davis’ last straw came when he didn’t get Scott May’s son to play in Bloomington and we had to watch Sean lead UNC to a title.

  • PocketHoosier

    McRoberts? No.
    Oden? No.
    Mike Conley? No.

    Smith? Yes.

    …and Davis’ last straw came when he didn’t get Scott May’s son to play in Bloomington and we had to watch Sean lead UNC to a title.

  • It was just a matter of when. Cal’s been down there the last few
    seasons, golf outings and I know he has a great relationship with Crean.
    I think it’s good for Indiana basketball. This is something that’s been
    wanted for a long time.

  • Knuckledrager

    Those last players you expressed a very fondness for left “the team” for very different reasons. Reed was ask to leave the team, by the team. (“Dana and company”, the only time I can remember a team making a demand to the school, san Davis. -I’m sorry for his families loss), I’ll always look at Recker as a glory hound (Michael Lewis will always hold a special place in my heart for more than one thing), Collier,,,..well’ he wanted a different play style (IMO a loss to everyone involved)…and? And, JJ went “pro” (I’m glad we had him for the 2 years we did). JJ gave some of the best minutes I’ve ever seen from a player. (He once forced a turn over by forcing every player on the opposing team to give up the ball, some of the best defensive work I’ve ever seen. And there were 6 Mr. BB’s on that team.) So, my list of “very fond” would be a little different. Ah, the spice. Go Hoosiers. 😉 (Please note happy face).