Crean: “We’ve got to have collective leadership”

  • 06/06/2013 8:45 am in


STARLIGHT, Ind. — When Indiana takes the floor next fall, the Hoosiers will be without two likely lottery picks in Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo and two four-year, 1,000-point scorers in Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford. Will Sheehey will be the only four-year player in the program and seven new players, including six freshman, will be counted on to play significant roles.

From a depth perspective, Indiana could be stronger top to bottom than it was last season, but losing four starters also leaves a potential void in leadership.

But just as the Hoosiers had different players lead throughout the 2012-2013 season, Tom Crean said Wednesday night at the IU Tailgate Tour stop at Huber Winery that next season’s team might not have a definitive leader.

“I don’t know if this is a team that you say, ‘this is the one leader,’ Crean said. “We’ve got to have collective leadership. I don’t think this is a thing where it’s going to be one or two guys that we bestow the leadership mantle to in the summer.”

The Indiana players currently on campus have already started summer workouts and all seven newcomers are expected in town by the end of next week.

While much of the offseason dialogue will be centered around what Indiana lost to early entries to the NBA and graduation, the opportunity to mold a new group of players into a team is exciting for Crean.

“It’s really going to be important that so many of them can step in and play,” he said. “I think we have a chance to have a deeper team. I think our athleticism is going to be really strong. The glass half empty is that we lost a lot of people. The glass half full is we’ve got such a young team and they’re going to have that much more of a chance for growth.”

A future game with Louisville?

While Indiana is unlikely to add a marquee home opponent to next year’s schedule, Crean was asked about the potential to play Louisville in the future.

The Hoosiers and Cardinals played a two-year series that ended in 2003, but haven’t met since.

“Yeah, I think so, absolutely,” Crean said when asked about a future matchup. “The Jimmy V Classic is something that’s a potential for down the road.”

A sticking point in future scheduling for Indiana seems to be centered around taking into account some opportunities that may exist involving the Big Ten, but neither Crean nor Athletics Director Fred Glass could go into specifics on what those might be.

“I think right now with anything home-and-home, all of that stuff is on hold as we wait to see what our league decides to do and if there’s some other opportunities that could come up,” Crean said. “The last thing we can do right now is get into too many road game situations where all of the sudden we’d be home games short because something hadn’t come to reality yet or something hadn’t been acted upon yet that could come up.

“But the Jimmy V is definitely something that we’re looking forward to in due time with them and hopefully something else. But it’s too early to tell past that.”

Other notes

· Crean on Sheehey, Ferrell and USA Basketball: It was announced Tuesday that Sheehey and Yogi Ferrell would have an opportunity to try out for the World University Games roster for USA Basketball and Crean said Wednesday night he’s looking forward to seeing how both guys perform later this month at a training camp in Colorado Springs.

“Will really wants to be in that environment. I mean you say, ‘Will, they’re going to Russia.’ He says, ‘That’s awesome.’ That’s how he’s looking at it,” Crean said. “He doesn’t care where they’re playing. He wants to go play. I thought it was great that they picked up Yogi. I think that both of them being on that list is good for us. I’m looking forward to seeing it. It’s going to be great for them, but I think the beneficiaries at the end of the day will be Bob McKillop and his staff and USA Basketball for having them because those two guys really understand how to make their teammates better. They have a great work ethic, they’re low maintenance individuals, which is exactly what you want in those environments and they play to win. I’m hoping that they do well.”

· Player bullets: While addressing close to 900 Indiana fans, Crean talked a bit about each player on next year’s roster. Here’s a sampling of comments from Crean on each player:

— Sheehey: “When we’re in a situation where we were last season at Michigan, down five, 50 seconds to go, he’s on the court making sure he’s one of the loudest voices and making sure his teammates know that we won’t lose. That’s exactly what he did. So we need him in more of that this year.”

— Evan Gordon: “We had our first workout with him today. I’ve had a smile on my face all day. He is going to fit in, he can shoot the ball, he’s going to be a defender.”

— Austin Etherington: “He’s ahead of where we thought he’d be at this point. He’s got a great attitude, he can make shots and I’m starting to see that confidence coming.”

— Jeremy Hollowell: “Jeremy needs to become a consistent defender in the sense of being able to guard numerous people because of his athleticism. He’s got to be able to step into somewhat of the role that Christian Watford had in trailing that break and becoming a 3-point shooter.”

— Hanner Mosquera-Perea: “Hanner just needs to play. And he just needs to spread out and use that athleticism.”

— Ferrell: “He’s got a hunger. He’s got a chip on his shoulder. It’s one of the reasons we recruited him. We saw it early. We’ve seen it even more so since he’s been there. And for him to take the next step as a player right now, its got to be with the 3-point shooting, its got to be in the pick-and-roll game of not only being able to get to the rim, but being able to trust that pull up in the lane and knock down threes.”

— Peter Jurkin: “It’ll probably be somewhere near the end of summer before we can really get him back on the court in a full-time way, but he’s out there working on it now.”

— Noah Vonleh: “The thing I love about him is that already, in his third workout with the team, he’s already on his teammates. He’s already encouraging them, not in a negative way, but encouraging them. When they get tired, he’s got the ability to pick that up right now. And that’s really important.”

— Troy Williams: “He’s a 6-7 pogo stick that needs to become a consistent shooter for us. His best days are ahead of him. I’m excited about Troy’s potential and athleticism.”

— Stanford Robinson: “He’s a combination guard. He’s tough, he can defend, he wants to be like Victor. And my thing is, if you work like Victor, I have no worries.”

— Luke Fischer: “He’s got to play for us. We always recruited him in the sense that you’re either going to play alongside Cody and back him up or you’re going to be playing for him if he’s gone. Here we are.”

— Collin Hartman: “He can play without the ball. He’s a lot like Will Sheehey. He can shoot the ball.”

— Devin Davis: “A tremendous athlete that can rebound it and plays tough and hard.”

Filed to:

  • OhioHoosier

    “He wants to be like Victor”. Can’t wait to see the competitiveness that Stan is going to bring to the team next year, along with Noah, Yogi, and Will. It should be a fiery bunch.

  • Jeremy Pinnell

    My favorite line of that was, “if you work like Victor, I have no worries.” That is a scary thought if you hear that he is ahead of where Victor was in terms of offensive ability before his freshman year. They are going to be fun but could be frustrating at times to watch this next season. A lot of growing pains is all I can say in the first part of the year.

  • N71

    ahhh…looks like Luke will be carrying a heavy load.

  • OhioHoosier

    Could be very similar to Ohio State’s team from last year in the way they struggled at the start but then really came together and reached their potential by the end of the season.

  • HoosierTrav

    I wouldnt be worried about it. I think he has much more around him to start than Cody did. He wont have to relied upon as the ONLY big man on the court to rebound the ball. I have high hopes for these kids. I think its a special group of winners and workers. They have the killer mentality on the court and are soft spoken gentleman off the court. I’d be surprised if this group doesnt win a banner in their time in Bloomington.

  • Xavier Harkness

    this team will be much better than people think.

  • I agree with you…

  • InTheMtns

    I love your phrase, “winners and workers.” What a great way to describe our team. If you don’t mind, I’m going to steal that and use it!

  • HoosierTrav

    Whats mine is yours……and insidethehall’s

  • HoosierTrav

    I cant wait for this season, for two primary reasons. One is that its been too long already. The other is that we wont have the weight of enormous expectations. We wont look ahead into march during november/december. We will be in more in the moment. We wont be shocked when we lose a tough game (much more patience with this group). We will get back to just rooting for our boys each game as it comes. I think this will do wonders for this groups development. It will be fun for them and that’s the perfect scenario for a group of young talents like the ones we have. I think many people overestimated or were naive to the amount of pressure last years group had on their shoulders. I think this group is a better collection of talent. It seems that they have that same hunger for growing as a person, student, and player as well. That’s scary to think of. Place the upside that these kids have on the past few years teams…. That spells winning on the highest of levels. I’m not just talking basketball. Believe it or not, parents DO have a say in where their kids decide to go. Coach Crean is creating an environment and culture that is going to put parents in a very tough spot when deciding where they feel comfortable with their kids going. The Pinson situation highlights this IMO. It was upsetting to him and his family to have to turn IU down. Aside from the CLEAR bias, i would advise my son to be involved in this culture……… Really im just super pumped that i can be proud of our Hoosiers for more than just winning. They’re good kids who represent the moral fabric of this great state very well. AND they WIN! Go Hoosiers!

  • Mike Smith IU

    “Hanner just needs to play” coupled along with the statements posted yesterday about him having the great body and athleticism, but needing to develop or show a sense of competitiveness on defense and in drills and showing that demeanor, makes me feel that we should continue to limit expectations for him. As much as I want him to have a “coming-out party” this season (insert Roy Hibbert comment as you see fit).

    These comments just give me the feeling that he isn’t quite there yet. He has the tools, but really needs to just be playing more, developing his hands, familiarity with the offenses and defenses, getting comfortable with where to be & responsibilities on the court, and speed of the game… all that pure experience of playing in this system at our speed, plus the need to really switch into that demeanor that yogi/will have and really show some tenacity in drills and practice-> into games, is what he needs. I’ll keep my expectations low and hopefully be VERY SURPRISED and excited with what he shows come mid-late season.

  • CreamandCrimson

    “Luke is a Cody”….Luke Fischer may eventually be a Cody Zeller, or he might be better. However, Cody averaged 16 and 8, he didn’t get in foul trouble and was second in the Big Ten in field goal %. I just don’t see Luke Fischer doing that in his freshman season, nor should he be expected to.

    I don’t really think we fill in what Victor provided on the defensive end. He was the most devastating perimeter defender I have seen in a long, long time and I don’t think you can just fill that in. That’s not even mentioning that he was 1st in the Big Ten in field goal %. I think we will be better than the outside thinks we will and I think the newcomers will be very good and could eventually help hang a banner in Assembly Hall. I just don’t think Victor and Cody can be replaced as easily or quickly as others appear to. Hope I’m wrong though!


    Here’s to BOTH of us being wrong in that respect.

  • TXHoosier77

    I attended IU in the glory years and I promise you that Scott May couldn’t catch the basketball his freshman year, let alone shoot it. His development in the deep right corner was a marvel to watch over the next three years.

  • IUHappyHour

    I’m surprised Crean talked about “collective leadership” with this group. I see Sheehey and Ferrell as the unquestioned leaders right now.

  • MarkDIU10

    You love to hear a player say he wants to be like somebody. I think we have all groaned a little when hearing about Crean beating to death that he coached D-Wade. Victor Oladipo is the best example any coach could ever have when promoting the program. IU provides the tools(Cook Hall, etc) and all you have to bring is the attitude that VO has. Hard work is what got him in the position he’s in…simple as that. Looking forward to this season.

  • He obviously knows them all, a lot better than you do….lol… I’d suggest that he sees them every day in practice and it appears that he feels there is a need for more than those two to step up to a more leadership position It always amazes me how some folks here watch a few games, maybe even a practice or two, and all at once they’ve got it down, just how it should be. Just because a guy’s a good player, does not necessarily mean he is a good leader. I’m not here to discuss leadership qualities with you, but obviously Crean sees something you’re not seeing… and he likely sees some qualities he wants to encourage among the younger guys… Me, I’ll leave that all up to coach. I do think he knows what he is doing.

  • SCHoosier

    I want to agree with you..also glad that Yogi and will are getting the World Game should make them better individually, However with such a young team..losing two of your veteran leaders at a time when chemistry is being developed on the court…may set the Hoosier “team concept” back a little bit. I think by Dec…this group will begin to jell..but they will miss Yogi and will during those game tryouts. ..

  • SCHoosier

    I think Luke can carry part of the load..but would not expect Crean to have him be a “go too guy” early in the season. Has the potential to really develop quickly.

  • Sean G

    One thing I haven’t hear much about – and maybe I’ve just overlooked it – is this group’s free throw shooting skills. Yogi is the only returning player that I know is solid from the charity stripe.

    With Crean running a system that is very focused on attacking and getting to the line (I’m sure this group will be no exception due to the athleticism), I would imagine there will be some critical times where free throws become key in games and I wasn’t sure if anyone knew how this incoming group was at free throw shooting… I have concerns, but I admittedly haven’t looked up any stats in this category or watched the new guys play much (other than highlight videos here -which typically have zero focus on FTs). I supposed I could Google this, but I trust the opinions and breakdowns I get here more-so than alot of the so-called “analysts” that are out there… Thanks!

  • notfargj

    devin davis = the sleeper of this class

  • Andrew

    Good point. Will is very disappointing from the stripe, and he gets there alot…and figures to get there even more w/ an increase in minutes. He also really needs to improve his 3-point shooting. Vonleh threw up brick after brick from the line in the McD’s and Hoop Summit games. Hopefully that was an anomaly b/c he is another guy who will shoot lots of foul shots. Free throws are like turnovers in that people will spend months analyzing and breaking down this team, but so often games are won or lost on your ability to take care of the ball and knock down your freebies.