News and notes from Tom Crean’s weekly radio show

  • 12/16/2014 8:57 am in

On Monday evening, Indiana coach Tom Crean spoke at his weekly radio show hosted by Don Fischer and recapped the Hoosiers’ games against Louisville and Grand Canyon, while also looking ahead to finals week and the Butler game on Saturday.

Below are news and notes from what the Hoosiers’ coach had to say:

· Heading into Indiana’s game against Grand Canyon, Crean took note that it appeared his team did not lose focus by the lower-quality opponent following the game against No. 4 Louisville on Tuesday. When teams get distracted and don’t take each opponent seriously, Crean said, the team loses sight of improvement and the distraction starts to seep into practices. But against the Antelopes, the Hoosiers maintained focus. And Crean said it’s important the team continues to show that moving forward.

· Indiana’s second-half performance against Grand Canyon was exactly what Crean was hoping for, especially after a first half in which the Hoosiers went 5-of-15 from plays through the paint. In the first half, the Hoosiers took too many shots after relaxing instead of playing for the best shot, and they led just 42-31 at the break. But in the second half, Crean noted, his team “dug a bit deeper” and played to get the best shot. The result: a 28-point win and a 37-of-43 rate from plays that went through the paint in the second half.

· Crean said that he has seen freshmen James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson go “through walls already” in their short time in Bloomington, and that the two (along with freshman Max Hoetzel) don’t stop working. In fact, Crean found the three on the court on Sunday — an off day — in a full sweat in between study halls.

· When asked about Blackmon’s continued improvement, Crean said he is a great learner. After each practice, Crean said he asks “What did you learn today?” And the Hoosiers’ coach always enjoys to hear his responses. As far as what Crean hopes Blackmon will improve on most: stepping back more – allowing more spacing for his 3-point shots.

· The second caller of the show asked Crean about Louisville’s mannerisms on the court on Tuesday and how Crean dealt with it. He responded that the reason he always bring referees into practice is not just for calling fouls but also to make sure things aren’t about themselves. To try to curb selfishness. Crean noted that there is a fine line of competing and really being an aggressor, and that Louisville is aggressive. But Crean said the Cardinals have earned it, that it’s part of their persona and that teams have to deal with that. On Tuesday, Crean said, the Hoosiers were not on the glass the way they needed to be, and that Louisville deserved to win. But he also said, in response to the question, that he always tells his players beforehand that he does not want to play the next game without them — a warning to not put themselves in that position.

· Crean said there has been no decision on whether Devin Davis will play this season, and that plans are in place one way or another. The Hoosiers are not sure if Davis will be able to use a redshirt, but Crean said he is making sure all steps are taken so that he could if he does not play this season. Crean noted Davis has had a great attitude and that he is working “extremely hard” in rehabilitation in Indianapolis, and that the next step in his recovery is to be cleared to sit on the bench during games. But Davis’s long-term health is Crean’s biggest priority, and he hinted that he is in no rush to get Davis back on the court.

· One caller asked how the Hoosiers will prepare for bigger teams like Ohio State, Michigan State. Crean’s response: “Make them catch us. Play even faster.” Crean said in those games, like any game, the Hoosiers can control block-out effort and getting better at the offensive glass. And that will be the biggest priorities in having success against teams that have a size advantage against the Hoosiers this season.

· Crean was asked about Troy Williams’ improvement, but the Hoosiers’ coach went on to compare the sophomore to Victor Oladipo. “There’s no question he goes too fast sometimes,” Crean said. But the Hoosiers coach noted he would rather have that than him not pressing teams. As part of Williams’ continued improvement, Crean said he must become a great basketball player inside of his athleticism. He can make dunks, Crean said, but finishing is the biggest priority. In fact, during Monday’s practice, Crean forced Williams to finish only with layups. Through their first 40 games, also, Crean noted Williams and Oladipo share quite similar statistics. But Oladipo learned how to be complete and efficient. Williams, Crean said, is on that same path, though he cautiously noted there are no guarantees the result would be the same.

· Crean offered a bit of a preview on Saturday’s Crossroads Classic battle against Butler, saying the Bulldogs are “the real deal. There’s no doubt about that.” He noted that Butler is an older team that has a lot of experience, that it is physical on both ends of the court yet is disciplined and also has a very good team dynamic. On Saturday following the Grand Canyon game, he also noted the Bulldogs present multiple match-up issues. “It’s going to be a very, very challenging game for us,” Crean said on Monday.

· Finally, as it is final exam week in Bloomington, this week’s practices are flexible based on when the team has free time. But Crean made sure to note that the priority is classes, and that his players are prepared mentally for their exams — through having time off and not having long, exhausting practices this week. That said, Crean said he must get his team to be efficient and improve through the shortened practices while also installing a game plan for Saturday. Crean said he already is excited to play when Saturday comes. The Hoosiers will finally not have much else on their minds.

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  • David Macer

    Some of it has to do with the B1G Network. It is independent and highly successful. It’s completely different than the SEC Network which is terrible. And the ACC is only playing on the family of ESPN networks.


    Holy Crap ! Talk about your good sports trivia questions. When was this ? I mean, I know it had to be quite some time ago, but around when was it, and what did they have him doing ?

  • AssemblyBall

    Noah and Cody would both have been lottery picks if they could have come straight out of high school. Crean deserves -0- credit for their on-court skills.


    Agree, think there’s now way around that not being the case, which in turn will cause him to have to have a little bit tighter handle on his dribbling than he has right now. His dribbling is certainly not sub par, for the collegiate level, but if the is going to make it at the next level, and as we say it is going to have to be as a PG, he is going to have to improve it.

  • Outoftheloop

    There is nothing of interest in your post, but there is one glaring error of fact: “He found a coach that knows how to utilize his skills.” Wrong, when Luke transferred there was a different coach, Buzz Williams, that is the coach that Luke “found”.

  • Outoftheloop



    I say we try and cure that problem by CTC giving JA a new rule that is to last the whole offseason. The new rule would be that he has to always be within 10 to 15 of Je’Ney Jackson or cannot be more than 94 feet from a basket in Cook Hall with a ball in his hands. lol

    I just don’t see any way that we will be bringing in a true post player that will be able to help us next year, especially with us already being oversigned by two. I know a lot of people, including CTC, say that the numbers will always work themselves out, but that can only go so far.

  • Outoftheloop

    I want Bryant! He would make Indiana a top 10 team for 2015-16.

  • SCHoosier

    Re: rebounding..a Coach can demand that..practice it..and preach it. However if you’ve got 6-3 guys under the bucket competing with 6-9 guys for the ball…guess who is going to win most of the time..especially if
    those 6-9 guys make their living on the boards (Harrell etc.) Yes IU must rebound better and everybody has to hit the boards. Without a designed and competent glass cleaner…though…its kind of like entering a champion bred quarter horse in the Kentucky Derby ..then wonder why he fades to the rear halfway thru the race. Wishin’ just don’t make it so! It’s painful but look at what Luke Fischer did for MARQ in his debut last night in terms of blocks and boards (not to even mention the 19 pts):


    After reading what his mom had to say a while back about IU I will be really surprised if he ends up here. Sounded like she was trying harder to say why he shouldn’t come here than why he should play for the Orange.

  • Outoftheloop

    What position does Steph Curry play? The answer is “wherever he wants”!

  • Outoftheloop

    Lowry is a very good pro, the #2 on the Toronto roster. It is the NBA! You can’t eliminate great offense, you just keep it below it’s norm.


    The mods have already made it to where I couldn’t reply to your original BS, so I’ll do it with this one.

    D O W N V O T E !


    Good analogy.

  • SilentBob

    22/32 that’s the number of 5 star centers and power forwards who have yet to become lottery picks since Cody Zellers class (including his class). All likely could have come out of high school. Noah and Cody both sky rocketed on NBA boards during their time at Indiana.

  • KmanCRK

    I don’t care what a guy’s height is when even at the FT line he fails to put his rear into someone. Technique and discipline are what I’m concerned with. If you don’t even try to block someone out on a foul shot, can I expect that you will in the flow of the game? Watch Saturday against Butler and see how few times our guys even try to move a guy backwards at the FT line.

  • KmanCRK

    I think almost any top 75 Center makes us a top 10 team next year. The only potential I see leaving is Troy due to potential. Our guard play is going to be sick next year.

  • ForeverIU

    He was hired in 2003 as commentator on Sunday NFL countdown. He resigned shortly after after making “controversial” comments. I would have posted his comment, but I’m going to be a good boy and let you google it. LOL!

  • ForeverIU

    Granted, I’m not the “basketball” expert, and I respect your opinions a lot schoosier, but isn’t the point of blocking out (among other things) to neutralize the height advantage through positioning?

  • ronb

    IUMIKE1, You say things working themselves out can only go so far, but they have gone on so far. There is and old adage that says” Past performance can determine future results”. Wither I agree or disagree with our Coach’s methods, I just can not see him ever having a problem fitting in new players if he believes they will help our team.

    He is very good at giving less skilled players a chance to compete for a roster spot in the future. What fringe player would pass up a chance to play for IU a year or two with the understanding they may have to leave if better players are recruited.

    Of course, I can’t prove that is how it happens nor do we as fans have the opportunity to know which players he knows may leave at the end of the season for the NBA or for more playing time. Then there is those players who surprise us like LF who leaves to be closer to home.

    The College game has passed me by as an Old School Coach who does not like all these College players transferring to the tune of almost 3 players per NCAA Division 1 team. My players had much more school loyalty than Coach loyalty which is not the case any more.

    I like to read the ESPN headlines and they are just filled with kids in trouble with grades, the law, breaking team rules, doing drugs, getting suspended, and transferring for what seems like a 100 excuses. We are just 10 games into the season for goodness sake! You would think players would wait until the season was over to say they are leaving. These are kids playing at good schools in major conferences. You would think they would try and work harder to get PT and show the Coach what they can do to fit into the rotation. I guess it is just easier to give up and move on.

    Mike, sorry this was so long. I love this game!! It hurts me to these things going on in the game I gave 50+ years of my life Coaching. I am glad my later years were spent Coaching kids at Division 2 and in High School.

  • hagster

    Why do people keep talking about the pro’s??????????? This is college. The heck with the NBA.

  • hagster

    They would rather show Micheal Sam kissing his boyfriend.

  • hagster

    I agree with you exactly. I don’t watch them anymore unless IU is playing.

  • hagster

    I watch SEC network more than Big 10. Much more interesting.

  • TorontoHoosierFan

    What the hell is that supposed to mean? You have a problem with a man showing affection for another man? Seriously.

  • Kyl470

    Saturday is definitely a game the team needs to win. A little off subject did anyone see that Luke Fischer got 19 pts. 9 reb. and 5 blocks in his first game for Marquette vs. Arizona St. I wish that kid could of found himself a girlfriend in Bloomington so he didn’t get homesick and transfer back.

  • SCHoosier

    Yes..but physically speaking…Rob, James and others had position at times against UL and were just gone over or thru by the bigger stronger offensive rebounders. Bound to happen more than it doesn’t. By the way..u seem to be doing pretty well with your “basketball expertise:)

  • SCHoosier concern is often the IU defender didn’t even know where his nearest man to be blocked out..was..they were so intent on following the ball.

  • ForeverIU

    Thank you sir, but only with your blessings!

  • hagster

    I have a serious problem with it. If he wants to kiss his boyfriend don’t do it on tv. Disgusts me.

  • TorontoHoosierFan

    Nice to know bigotry is alive and well. You are an embarrassment to IU fans everywhere. Still have that old KKK membership kicking around? Say hi to your wife / cousin for me. Neanderthal.

  • hagster

    Sorry if the truth offends ya but thats the way it is. Your being very judgemental. Why don’t you troll the huffington post gay voices page.

  • mark

    I doubt lottery … he looks awfully small for an NBA SG, and doesn’t handle/pass it well enough to be a PG. Reminds me a bit of Bracy Wright or maybe a poor man’s Gary Harris, but he surely doesn’t stand higher than 6’2/3″ and that will be a big problem for him in the pros as a SG

  • TorontoHoosierFan

    I actually feel bad you’re that dumb and full of hatred. Sorry.

  • TomJameson

    I like Luke Fischer. I think his reasons for leaving ran a little deeper than wanting to be closer to home, but I surely accept that as his MAIN reason. Remember all the bad vibe things (attitude) goingson that we as fans don’t really have the whole story on. If I had Lukes abilities, I might just transfer as well. I don’t blame him one iota. Now looking back since CTC “cleaned house”, it seems like Luke should’ve stayed. But we all know about hind-sight. It was probably the right decision by Luke at the time.


    You don’t have to apologize for a lengthy reply, not to me anyway. I have been known to write some replies and / or comments that no one is going to mistake for being short, lol, I’d rather know exactly how a person sees and feels about a subject than for them to leave some considerable doubt about where they stand in more than one area of a subject that concerns me. Unless it is some complete idiot (which you aren’t) going on and on about the same thing I enjoy the in depth comments and replies.

    What I meant was that I know it (the transfers) is going to happen, whether we like it or not, but that even with that being how the situation is it can only alleviate a certain amount of oversigns in a single recruiting cycle. Unless some player’s development absolutely takes off I don’t see any of them making the jump to the NBA and I think most of the players seem to be OK with their role on the team and where they are playing time wise which would lead one to think that there wouldn’t be a whole lot of wiggle room created from that part of the equation. The season is still young and trying to know what is in the mind of a 18 to 20 year old young man, or trying to anticipate what will be there at the end of the season, is somewhat akin to trying to pick the winning lottery numbers.

    While I didn’t give as much time or as many years to coaching as you did or coach at the level that you did (Div 2 & up) I’ll just put it this way, I gave a considerable amount of time (and my own money, as I’m sure you did) over a span of way more than just 3 or 4 years to coaching as well. I’ll put it another way, a way that anyone that has done it and done it for the right reasons understands. I done it long enough to understand that some of the biggest rewards that you get from it, have nothing to do with what the final score of the game turned out to be, but rather the way you were able to use bball as a tool to have a positive impact on a young man’s future and helping that young man to grow up and become a responsible adult and even being thanked in person for doing just that. One of my favorite things to tell them was that a lot of the things they learned playing bball the correct way would be applicable to many other things is life. I still have a couple of letters, that I treasure very dearly and are framed and on the wall, from some young men that I coached. In them they thanked me for doing everything that I had done for them and that at the time they thought some of the things I did were unfair and that they didn’t even recognize that I had done some things for them until later on and that they now see them, understand why I did them and feel grateful for me having done them. IMHO those are the kind of things that rewards a coach way more than having the higher score when the buzzer goes off ever will. Don’t get me wrong, I was all about winning the games, working our collective butts off and doing anything and everything, within the rules, to accomplish getting the win. My competitiveness is one thing that will rarely, if ever, be something that is overlooked. I guess what I’m trying to say in a nutshell is that those two things are really two different kinds of ways to “win” and that the one that didn’t involve keeping a numerical score was the one that provided the most satisfactory rewards to me in the overall scheme of things.

    Long live the lengthy comment and reply. lol

  • ronb

    Sounds like you loved it as much as I did for the right reasons. The memory’s are great that is why I loved the game so much. For me it was all about my kids and like you I wanted to win but helping kids become great men, including my own 4 sons, was and should always be the part that is most rewarding for a Coach.

  • Oregoniu

    I’ll be sure to watch this game but I’m not confident IU will win. But I am confident that:

    1. That IU will play very fast in order to bring ‘fatigue’ to the game. And because of the speed needed, CTC wil play 4 guards and 1 big most of the game.

    2. That Butler won’t get fatigued.

    3. That IU will try and dribble-drive every chance they get and may force a few shots. They will shoot the three but won’t have many clean looks especially since no plays are run to open up the gaps. (think off-ball screens)

    4. That CTC’s game plan will call for mass substitutions, trying to use the NBA model of complete first and second unit substitutions dictated by the little 3×5 card.

    5. That the guys with the ‘hot’ hand will come out after being allowed to shoot and make three shots and then, “because of exhaustion”, they will be sub..ed out.

    6. IU will have a 6 man ( who will look very tan) on the floor running, clapping, and directing every play.

    7. That Butler will play basic fundamental “Indiana Style Basketball”, featuring hardnose defense and fundamentally sound offense taking pains to value the ‘rock’.
    8. I wish it wasn’t so, but CTC will be out coached.

    9. That IU you has some real good shooters but so does Butler.

    10. That IU is a very young team and will learn a lot form this game win or lose.

    11. That if the game comes down to a final play IU will run something that makes no sense to anyone and that one of IU’s best players will be on the bench at crunch time.

    But I still have faith and hope to see two ‘bigs’ on the floor at the same time (think Emmit even though ‘he’s not ready”) and for IU to pull this one out. Go Hoosiers!!!