Crean: “I’m the first one that’s getting too far ahead”

  • 11/30/2013 11:32 am in

Indiana coach Tom Crean saw his team’s potential in perhaps its worst half of the season.

On Friday, Nov. 22, in the 2K Sports Classic final against then-No. 18 Connecticut, his Hoosiers went 9-for-24 from the field, had 12 turnovers and somehow only trailed, 30-24. Though Indiana would subsequently lose the game, 59-58, Crean was convinced.

“You’ve got limited time and you’re trying to not wear them down and they are young guys, and you’ve got a million things you’re thinking about,” he said on Nov. 26, following Indiana’s 77-46 win against Evansville. “But the bottom line is we just have to get better at certain things every day and not get ahead of ourselves. We never get ahead of ourselves game wise, but we are asking them to learn a lot.”

Seven games into the season, Crean has a lot to be optimistic about.

As of Saturday morning, Indiana (6-1) was the No. 4 offensive rebounding team (45.6 offensive rebounding percentage) in the nation and was No. 11 in getting to the foul line with a free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of 60.6 percent. His team is playing to the pace he wants with an adjusted tempo of 74.3 possessions per game, which ranks 20th nationally.

Indiana is also averaging 86.4 points per game — No. 24 in the country — and is limiting opponents to an effective field goal percentage of 39.5, which is fifth nationally.

But his team is still one of the youngest in the country, one that has six freshmen and five sophomores on scholarship. According to KenPom.com, the Hoosiers rank 325th in the country in terms of experience.

“I’m the first one that’s getting too far ahead, and I realized that today,” Crean said after the Evansville win.

“I think the hard thing for me, I see how good they can be. I see their talent level. I’ve known them for so long through the recruiting process and things like that. I want greatness for them.”

His only returning starter from last season, sophomore guard Yogi Ferrell, is scoring a team-high 18.1 points and dishing out 3.9 assists per game. Freshman forward Noah Vonleh has started five of his seven games of his college career with a double double and is averaging 12.9 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.

That’s only the tip of the iceberg, though. Ten players are playing more than seven minute per game, ranging from five of Indiana’s six freshmen (excluding Collin Hartman) to both its seniors, Will Sheehey and Evan Gordon.

Indiana’s depth, perhaps, is its best in recent memory.

“We’ve got a deep team,” sophomore Jeremy Hollowell said. “A lot of different guys come in and play different positions. I mean, it really doesn’t matter to focus on (starters) if you think about it.”

Still, Crean knows there is a lot more to improve on.

Through seven games, Indiana’s 3-point shooting, which last season was at 40.3 percent, is down to 28 percent, and Ferrell (17) has made more than half of the team’s 30 makes.

Indiana also turns the ball over on 20.8 percent of its possessions — No. 280 of 351 teams in the NCAA. Its fast break game is nowhere near Crean wants it to be.

But he sees the potential in his team. It’s hard not to, he says. But instead of focusing on the big picture, Crean will continue to focus on the next task at hand: this time stopping the No. 8 team in the country on Tuesday, No. 8 Syracuse (7-0).

“I’m saying as a coach, don’t get ahead of myself and that we absolutely take each day for what it is,” he said. “Improve what we’ve got to improve upon, emphasize what needs to be emphasized upon, adjust what needs to be adjusted and just keep making sure that every day we walk out of here, they got better fundamentally.

“And then I think the future takes care of itself so to speak. But we’ve got a lot of talent, there’s no doubt about that. We have got a lot of willing guys but we have got a lot of things to learn and I’ve got to keep remembering that as a coach.”

All tempo-free stats via KenPom.com.

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  • ForeverIU

    It will be interesting to see how Yogi does with his penetrations / kick-outs. I suspect Troy will have a few of those too?

  • Calvin Murphy

    Crean is the genius who cited the zone as the reason we lost, not me. Oh, and the game tape and 2 million witnesses who were watching. But never mind. You have it all figured out, old smelly guy. So let me get this straight…by your logic, if the 1) (ahem) refs do not call the game this time, at the Carrier Dome, the “way they did” last time, and 2) we hit our jump shots with all those great jump shooters we have on the team this year vs. last year….we’re all set. Okay. We’ll see how that turns out for you. You do know that you are typing this in public, right? You realize you blamed the refs and typed it…and did not just think it, right?

  • Kenneth234

    80% is a good goal from the charity stripe, however, I don’t believe even last season we were all that close to it, even with all the shooters on the team.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    i pretty much have to agree, right? 😉
    honestly, i’d agree even if i didn’t have to. friggin love rmk in spite of all his faults

  • WhatsUpKnight

    say what you will about his coaching abilities, there’s no question ctc can motivate. how can this team not feel motivated after hearing him say stuff like this. the dude can give tony robbins a run for his money, that’s for sure.

  • Tucson Hoosier

    Great Post! I am not sure CTC wants Yogi and JH to take the quick off-balance 3’s (more so Yogi), I would guess CTC wants them to attack and take the first open shot and Yogi is just being too eager. With that said, I agree with everything you posted. Good stuff.

  • Kenneth234

    I seriously doubt that every Hoosier fan has a high opinion of Bob Knight. It has been years since Bob Knight was at the helm of this program. I for one, had began being an IU fan around 88′, when I was 8 years old. From my perspective, I think Bob Knight had single handedly cost IU’s program many wins, many exceptional players, and in doing so caused a lot of unnecessary resentment with many fans in my generation. To imply that I am less of an IU fan because I do not worship the alter of Bob Knight’s legacy, or can harbor resentment toward him for his behavior, and his attitude about the program since his departure, is ridiculous, to say the least.

  • dwdkc

    I agree with all you said except the 7/10–I think IU was better and would win 7/10. Syracuse had a high top end when they played well but was very inconsistent. I saw from close up the refs swallow the whistle as IU did make good 2nd half moves into the paint and got fouled every time down. But it doesn’t matter now, we all saw how that great team didn’t peak at the end of the year. Disappointing.

  • dwdkc

    Good topic for this thread. Like I believe many Hoosier fans, I have very mixed feelings. My first intense IU experience was watching IU come from way back to almost knock off Bill Walton and UCLA in the Final 4 (by the way, they got screwed on a block/charge whistling Downing instead of Walton when they both had 4 fouls and the game down to about 2 points). I watched Knight change college basketball, not just IU and the Big 10. He was utterly honest and by the rules and told boosters he would turn them in, so don’t bother. The players came out of that program as tough and principled men. Yet he was a complete a__h___ on a regular basis and for those who couldn’t stand him, I really couldn’t blame them. The last 5-6 years he seemed to lose his passion and the team suffered for it, and many coaches were doing a better job, so I wasn’t sad to see him go although I didn’t like the way it was handled.

  • hullsfor3

    I forget what year it was, maybe it was 2009. But we beat Pittsburgh at Madison Square Garden with a very young and not so talented team back then. Personally I think we have a really good chance of winning tomorrow.

  • TomJameson

    That’s a pretty good assessment. I really like BK, but I too think the last 5 years he got “tired” and lost his passion. Maybe if he’d moved on then, he would’ve still been coaching now. Anyway, when you think of BK, however you think of him, also remember how charitable he was outside of basketball. The man gave a lot to charity and asked it to be kept anonymous. Not saying he was a saint, but I still like him in spite of his faults. (and we all have faults). My opinion of course.

  • kbb247

    This stuff of Crean not being able to solve a zone is IMO nonsense. Has it ever occurred to anyone that, maybe, just maybe, the kids didn’t execute the game plan. I would say a lot of you guys have coached at some level before, and how many times have you looked out on the floor, and thought, what the he!! are they doing. Sometimes teams get you rattled, and there is no chance of getting them back on track. Not to mention the height and length they had on Jordy and Yogi.

  • slojoe

    Knight was willing to admit mistakes in his coaching, but sometimes it wasn’t in the heat of the moment but after he’d had some time to reflect on what happened. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that. He has said he probably made a mistake in starting an injured Scott May against Kentucky in 1975.

  • HoosierTrav

    I have the sneaking suspicion that we win the game on Tuesday. Not sure why bc I’ve been afraid of this game since it was announced. Vonleh has to stay outta foul trouble (obviously) and Yogi has to be efficient. If we can keep that mindset to play tenacious defense, then this Cuse team is very vulnerable…. I’m falling more and more in love with our young Hoosiers. These kids just keep surprising me. Many of us saw the potential but were maybe hesitant to expect production in the first year. That’s probably in large part to the class of ’12 not quite living up to the lofty expectations that we put on them last year…. This group is visibly different from last years group by a long shot. They are the best rebounding team in the nation, one of the top defensive teams, and arguably the most athletic/long team in the country….. They are almost exclusively frosh and soph…. That’s pure insanity!

  • ForeverIU

    Not worried about our defense, just hope they don’t get too many fast breaks off of our turnovers. I too see a win for us, a low-scoring, close, ugly win.

  • Aiken_Hoosier

    I wish I shared your optimistic outlook for the Cuse game…..

    And I hope you’re right…….

  • Kyl470

    I’m not being negative. There is no way any realistic fan can think that IU has a good chance of winning this game. I’m not saying it is impossible and I hope they do win. I want them to win because it would be a huge victory for the team. But expecting this team to win their first true road game of the season when that team is a top 10 team seems foolish.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    First I will admit that RMK in his last days was a LITTLE disappointing. But most on this thread don’t have a clue about who RMK was not as just a coach but a man.
    It’s really pretty sad if you don’t know all of the facts about RMK. Most can only remember is the highlight vid’s or audio in locker rooms…throwing a chair, smashing a phone and comments out the @$$. Butt if we are going to go there then let’s look at both sides of the fence.
    Most can’t remember why the change…the shot clock and three point line was introduced that totally change the style of basketball back in the day…which many of you don’t recall…just like the new rule of hand checking.
    Just some facts for some of the younger folks during BK tenure:
    Grad rate was impeccable 98%.
    Front row was dedicated to handicap folks many of days.
    3rd all time win coach.902
    62 yrs old with 800 wins, only 4 others.
    Foremost he was known as an educator.
    11 B1G titles
    3 banners…that you take credit for.
    Natl’s COY – 4 times
    B1G COY – 8 times
    Only 1 of 3 coaches to win Gold in Olympics
    Never Sanctioned by the NCAA for recruiting viol.
    22 Seasons of 20+ wins
    24 NCAA apprear.
    Last team to go undefeated.
    Raised $5 Mil for IU Library.
    Didn’t take a pay raise for X’s years.
    The only reason RMK didn’t retire from IU was due to Myles Brand and his Zero Tolerance.
    RMK also made me want to throw a chair but you can not dispute the facts of his accomplishments while at IU.

  • TomJameson

    Well said, and totally agree.

  • Well, then I am a foolish fan.. But I think they have a good chance of winning. I’ve watched Syracue play a couple of times this year… They are not as good as last year’s team.. maybe not even as good a UConn would not call it a ‘lead pipe stone cold lock’, but I think they have a roster as good as ‘Cuse, and I think they can win. Call me foolish? Maybe, but I believe we can do it. Hope so.. GO HOOSIERS!!!!

  • IUMIKE1

    One of those things where if they haven’t coached they more than likely can’t fully understand the point you are making or don’t fully get it. IMHO it’s one of those things that you have to have had happen to you personally to totally get it……IUMIKE1 slowly nods his head cause he gets it. LOL

  • IUMIKE1

    Easy there Ole Man. Must have been the BK reference he threw in there. Crean called it him being guilty of looking ahead at times and wesmont called it him making a mistake and admitting it. Just like we can’t get too wrapped up in a game with SU that happened in the past we can’t get wrapped up in things that were done in the past coaching wise either. There’s plenty to learn from both of those things, good things as well as bad things. All of us just need to be able to do it while keeping things in perspective.

  • Kyl470

    I hope you’re right and I hope IU wins. I don’t mind being wrong if it means the team pulls off the upset.

  • dwdkc

    All of that I am aware of, and is why I admire what he did and had mixed feelings. He was a brilliant coach who actually changed the way the college game was played and coached. I don’t think I ever saw a better coached team than the 75-76 Hoosiers, and some of his later editions (the 81 team’s run through the tourney, when it all came together). He is an extremely generous and principled man. And he is boorish and bullying at times, sometimes to an extreme–even to his friends. There’s really no middle ground on this guy, one of the most fascinating men of our times.

  • Well I guess I am a foolish fan. I was wrong. Geez, that was disappointing. I guess I was thinking a game more like the first half went.. And then the Hoosiers maybe pulling it out this time. Surely did not anticipate the implosion that occurred. Oh well, hopefully this can be a learning experience.

  • Kyl470

    I really wanted you to be right.

  • Yes, and I really wanted to be also. But did you see that MSU game last night? Wow, if tha’d been IU I suppose some folks would be putting out the haters comments today. Didn’t realize Izzo is 0-7 all time against NC since the current regime took over at UNC. Also, Kennedy Meeks (former Hoosier prospect) had a real nice game.

  • Kyl470

    Yeah, the puzzling thing with Crean is that it seems like the same coaches (Bo Ryan, Jim Boeheim) that beat him when he was at Marquette keep beating him at IU.

  • Can’t argue with that. Hoping we can turn the one against Bo Ryan around this year, but Wiscy looks pretty strong again. They won last night in a pretty low scoring affair again. Don’t know how they continue to do that, but Ryan is very good. He doesn’t always get the to talent, but he get’s them playing together really well.

  • Kyl470

    I’ve always been a big believer in the best way to judge a coach is his ability to win with lesser talent. I hate Bo Ryan’s style of play and I think it’s a boring game to watch. However, Wisconsin has never really been able to land high ranked recruits or produce NBA talent, but yet every year they are a top 4 team in the Big Ten. I think from an X’s and O’s stand point he is better than Crean.
    With all that being said I still think a coach like Crean gives you a better chance to win a NCAA tournament. I believe that you need elite talent to win it all. Crean looks like he is capable or recruiting and producing NBA talent.