Podcast on the Brink: Don Fischer

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Podcast on the Brink returns for a second episode this week with hall of fame broadcaster Don Fischer, the voice of the Hoosiers for 41 years and counting.

Fischer joins host Jerod Morris of The Assembly Call and gives his take on IU’s turbulent week including the losses to Penn State and Purdue as well as Tuesday’s events at Assembly Hall that forced a postponement of the game with Iowa.

Also discussed on the episode:

· The year-to-year improvement of sophomore Yogi Ferrell
· How this IU team compares to other young teams in the program’s past
· Where Noah Vonleh ranks among the top freshmen to play at IU
· An update on Royce Waltman

So tune in and enjoy. As always, feel free to drop the show a note at jerod@assemblycall.com.

Listen in the embedded media player below, download the episode, subscribe via iTunes or subscribe to the RSS feed.

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  • 5_Banners

    Sweet. Can’t wait to listen.

  • Steve Fischer

    You both came off well -glad you enjoyed it.

  • http://www.insidethehall.com/ Alex Bozich

    There is no update. There hasn’t been any additional info released on his suspension.

  • John Temple

    Good interview but I would have liked to see you ask a couple of the hard questions while you had him there? Are Noah & Yogi likely to leave? If so, do we have the right players coming in to fill the holes they leave? Is anyone likely to transfer? What about Tom Crean’s future at this point? Is he the right guy for IU to go forward? I know he’s an IU icon, but he’s also one of the insiders who is in a better place than most to address these questions.

  • http://assemblycall.com/ The Assembly Call

    Thanks John. Those definitely would have been good questions. Frankly, it was really tough figuring out what questions to ask to try to make it the most productive and revealing 20 minutes possible. A couple of factors led me away from the types of questions you have listed: 1) I think we can predict what he would say about Tom Crean and the future of the program. 2) I would rather spend limited time with Don Fischer trying to capitalize on his perspective of 40 years, and put what we have already seen into historical context, rather than trying to predict things that may or may not happen. Don’t get me wrong … I’d LOVE to ask him those questions, but unless it’s off the record in a private setting I doubt you would get anything other than what you’d be able to predict without asking. Your point is well made though, and I can tell you that my goal in all of these is to try to be a fan conduit and think about what the majority of IU fans would get the most enjoyment and insight from based on who the guest is. I thought his answers regarding Noah’s place among freshmen, past IU teams who have struggled and turned it around, and the answer about Stan, Troy, and Jeremy’s future were very insightful.

  • http://assemblycall.com/ The Assembly Call

    Thank you Steve.

  • http://www.insidethehall.com/ Alex Bozich

    John, appreciate the feedback, but I’m not sure you have a good understanding of how these things work. This is not an attack on you, but more of a response to this post and others where the media is being encouraged to “ask tough questions” in general.

    First off, Fischer was kind enough to take some of his time to come on the show and I’m pretty sure we all know where he stands on this team after the interview. He’s not going to talk about players leaving because it’s speculation. Fischer is a true pro, you don’t ask those types of questions. And if you do, it’s a good way to damage credibility and could hurt getting other guests in the future.

    As for the Crean stuff, what is there to discuss at this point? He won 56 games over the last two years, just won the Big Ten and has a long term contract. There’s nothing to discuss at this point. That’s reality, which is what everyone who continues to make this a discussion point is failing to grasp. At some point, the negativity in general needs to be reigned in and people need to support the team and program. It hasn’t been a good season, but the consistent onslaught is just silly.

  • John Temple

    I appreciate you have a show to think of and perhaps Fischer is not the person these questions are best directed to – the AD, coach or president might be more appropriate. Of course we all know the canned answer we would get. Don Fischer, being an IU insider but not in the chain of command, might be more likely to open up and give you a few guarded but insightful answers. Until those questions are asked, we truly don’t know what answer we might get. Isn’t that the point of being a journalist whether it’s in a paper, on TV or in a podcast like yours?

  • Lobills

    I agree asking the play by play guy his opinion on whether the IU coach, whoever it might be, is the right guy for the job or what his future might be is a bit silly and would put him in an uncomfortable position.

    Asking questions like….. “Are Noah & Yogi likely to leave? If so, do we have the right players coming in to fill the holes they leave?” are well within bounds. How would theorizing about possible future roster construction with someone like Fisch be out of bounds or possibly damage credibility?

    Vonleh is very, very likely to leave and asking Fischer how we’d address that situation isn’t just a viable question it’s arguably THE most important question surrounding IU’s 2014-2015 season.

  • http://www.insidethehall.com/ Alex Bozich

    I don’t disagree that it’s an important topic, but at this point, it’s speculation and I don’t think now is the time to bring it up, especially when we have limited time to do the interview. Perhaps it’s a topic better left for when the season is over.

  • John Temple

    Guess I misunderstood. I have always thought the point of being a journalist was to get answers, even if you had to ruffle a few feathers. If it’s all about not asking tough questions just to stay on good terms with the guest, then were talking about marketing, not journalism or news reporting. As for Crean, there is always room for a healthy discussion of what he is doing and whether it is best for the program going forward. I know enough about IU alumni that they won’t tolerate mediocrity in their basketball coach for long. Long term contracts mean little these days, banners mean more than # of games to this program, and they collapsed at the end of their B1G season going into the B1G tournament and NCAA last year. That’s what resonates with alumni and what could get him fired if we have another season like this one. Looking at our downward trend in recruiting, the possible loss of one or both Yogi & Noah to the NBA and what is needed to upgrade this offense and defense is not only worthwhile, it’s a must. Take off those rose colored glasses and view some game film.

  • http://assemblycall.com/ The Assembly Call

    John, I think as Alex said below, the questions right now about Crean are premature anyway. Fred Glass went on the radio recently and addressed them … so we already have our immediate answers.

    Plus, Don Fischer’s true expertise and value is based on his 40 years of experience. My feeling is that the best way to bring value to a listener when doing in an interview is to leverage the subject’s greatest expertise as much as you can. With Don Fischer specifically, asking about the future seems a lot less compelling than having him help us put what we are seeing right now into a historical context.

  • John Temple

    I understand your perspective. Living in Georgia right now, I didn’t have an opportunity to hear Fred Glass’ comments but I can pretty much imagine what he’d say and not say. I also agree that getting a historical context from someone like Don Fischer is special. After watching IU basketball for six decades myself, I can wait another season to see if my concerns are relevant.

  • http://www.insidethehall.com/ Alex Bozich

    Just because the questions that you want asked weren’t asked has nothing to do with whether or not it’s good reporting. It was a good interview conducted by Jerod and provided insight and perspective on the season from a voice that people trust and find valuable.

    As for your other comments, our job, as defined by me and Ryan, since we started and own the site, is to cover the team and stay fair. When things have been been positive, we’ve written about that and when they’ve played bad, we’ve been critical without making anything personal, which is part of being professional.

  • John Temple

    Good luck with that.

  • Alford Bailey

    These are all questions us fans would love to ask Fish over a beer and off the record to get his personal opinion. Not the kind of questions these guys can ask or Fish can answer in this setting, though.

  • INUnivHoosier

    I don’t get the point of asking someone ‘insider’ questions on the record. Insiders don’t become insiders because they spill the goods every time someone asks them for the inside scoop. They would have wasted 20 minutes getting canned answers. Although, I’m no reporter, so I might have learned about that in Journalism 101 had I taken it.

  • Lobills

    Speculation? I’d suggest Vonleh going pro is a virtual certainty. And I’m quite certain TC and company know this as well…which is why they are out scouring for any viable bigs. Perea and Jurkin in the front court…

    If IU fans were asked to pick one that they’re focused on now that a trip to the tournament isn’t going to happen which of the following would they select:

    A) The remainder of this year
    B) Next year’s team

    I’m fairly confident a majority of fans are already thinking of next year and what that team will look like and how they believe the team will perform.

  • VICTORy is Ours

    I thought Jerod’s interview was excellent and had no problem at all with the questions chosen. While the job of a journalist is to get news, not every piece has to be in the mode of investigative journalism with hard hitting questions. I would imagine a major part of being a journalist is building relationships and trust with people, so that when there is a story, those people will be comfortable discussing it with you. If you go marching into their office demanding answers, they’re not likely to give you a response and if they look at you as one that likes to stir up controversy, they won’t be likely to pick up the phone to share information when it arises. Your suggestion that Alex and Jerod are not good journalists because they don’t ask these questions is like telling someone they’re not a good salesperson because they don’t partake in telemarketing or send spam messages. The problem with journalism today is that much of the focus has become on jumping from controversy to controversy (and at times creating controversy).

    Asking Don Fischer if he thinks Crean is the right man for the job is a ridiculous question and all it does is put him in an awkward situation. A big part of Don Fischer’s job is to work with Crean on a daily basis, and if he were to even suggest Crean isn’t the right man for the job would greatly damage that relationship and access.

    I don’t think it would have damaged credibility to ask if he thought Noah was leaving, but I certainly don’t think it was necessary. While he may be able to speculate whether or not Noah leaves following this season, I doubt he has anything definitive on the matter. If he did, I highly doubt he would break the trust of whoever gave him that information or steal Noah’s announcement for him. So best case, all we would get from him would be speculation.

    As for how we are going to fill the holes with the incoming players, I doubt that he follows recruiting and high school players as much as many on here do. So he likely doesn’t have a lot to add on that subject.

    I find your comment that Indiana somehow collapsed at the end of the Big Ten season interesting. They won the Big Ten title outright by going 14-4. They did lose to Ohio State at home but they followed it up by beating Michigan on the road. I think you need to take a step back and assess what are realistic expectations are for this program. If your expectations are winning a national championship in any given year, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. There are just too many teams in the field and circumstances that go into winning a championship that judging success by any one tournament is irrational. Was the 1974-75 season a failure in your eyes?

  • http://assemblycall.com/ The Assembly Call

    I do agree that a lot of people are looking to next season already, which is why I wanted to ask about Yogi, and the potential development of guys like Stan, Troy, and Jeremy. But in regard to Noah, it such an unknown right now what he will do. I don’t think Don Fischer knows much more than the rest of us at this point, and if he did he wouldn’t say anyway. So it just didn’t seem worth asking. (Though I did have the question down on my initial sheet, so I understand where you are coming from.) I wanted to focus on questions where we could get as much actual insight as possible in the reply.

  • http://assemblycall.com/ The Assembly Call

    What you said re: the Noah question is exactly why I did not ask it.

  • John Temple

    Last year’s team went 4-4 at the end of the season, did not paly well in the B1G tournament, and lost badly in the sweet 16 of the NCAA. For a team picked pre-season to compete for a national title and ranked #1 most of that season, it was not a good result.

  • Alford Bailey

    I think its the difference between college and pro sports. I have been a fan of the Cincinnati Reds as long as I’ve been a Hoosiers fan (30+ years). The Reds long time announcer, Marty Brenneman, has no problem calling out a bonehead play by a player or a bad decision by a manager on the air. I’ve heard him give his opinions on players and Managers during interviews in the off season, also. He was very critical of Dusty Baker as the Reds have under performed in the post season, too. Big difference between paid professionals and college kids, IMO.

  • InTheMtns

    Thanks for a great podcast, Jerod. I always enjoy listening to Fisch and I thought your choice of questions brought us a great interview. I especially enjoyed listening to the perspective Fisch brought when comparing some of the aspects of this season to past seasons. I know doing this interview was a thrill for you. That showed, in a good way. Thanks again.

  • http://assemblycall.com/ The Assembly Call

    Thank you :-) It definitely was a thrill, and I’m glad we were able to get such great perspective from him.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    As someone who is too young to remember the ’84-85 team, this podcast was educational (especially after I saw the stats).

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    Yogi is not a real NBA prospect…no team is drafting a 5′ 10″ guard with that terrible asst. to turnover ratio and with that low amount of steals being the fastest man on the floor most nights…Yogi will be around a few more yrs and we want even talk about feeding the post.

  • HoosierHysteria5

    This was an excellent interview with an IU legend! Thanks for posting!

  • notfargj

    terrific interview, jerod. really enjoyed listening. thanks for the good work.

  • http://assemblycall.com/ The Assembly Call

    Great to hear. That’s what I was hoping Don Fischer would provide (and, of course, he did).

  • http://assemblycall.com/ The Assembly Call

    Thank you! So glad you enjoyed it.

  • http://assemblycall.com/ The Assembly Call

    Thank you. This one was literally a dream come true to produce.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    Thanks for bringing the podcast back!

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