Interview: Tom Coverdale on his coaching career, the 2002 NCAA run and Tom Crean

Tom Coverdale is one of our favorite guards to ever play at Indiana. He was the catalyst and South Region MVP for the 2002 NCAA National runner-up team, scored 1,217 points in 115 career games and is now an assistant coach at Louisiana Monroe. He’s one of only two players in Indiana history to score 1,000 points, hit 200 3-pointers and dish out 500 assists. I caught up with the former Mr. Basketball from Noblesville and asked him about a variety of topics. A transcript of that conversation is below. Enjoy.

Inside the Hall: First things first. You first got into coaching at Louisiana Monroe, went to Chicago State for three weeks and returned to Louisiana Monroe when an assistant coaching job opened. How was the transition moving from a player to a coach and ultimately, what are your long term goals in coaching?

Tom Coverdale
: I knew I wanted to stay in basketball. The toughest part for me is not being able to actually get out there and play during the games and not having hands on control during the games as much as you do as a player. My long term goal, I think just like every other young coach that gets into coaching, is to become a successful head coach at a great program and just try to get back to a Final Four.

ITH: You played for both Bob Knight and Mike Davis at Indiana. Tell us a couple of things you learned from each of those guys that you’ve been able to incorporate into your own career as a coach.

TC: I couldn’t really pick out different things, especially only being with Coach Knight for one year, but probably the way he prepared before games and got his team ready is something that I’ll always remember. In general as a player I think the thing that helped me the most is a lot of the situations players go through, I’ve lived through. I can relate to them and know exactly what they’re feeling and thinking as they’re going through it.

: As a player, it always seemed that opposing fans loved to hate Tom Coverdale, but Indiana fans embraced you for your willingness to do the little things that it took to win basketball games. What do you think it was about your style of play that drew the ire of opposing fans?

TC: The way I always looked at it is if the other fans liked me, then I wasn’t doing my job for my team. I think the reason they didn’t like me is because I was a real emotional player and didn’t really hold anything back as far as emotion and just playing as hard as I could. I think it’s a combination of those two things that opposing fans didn’t like.


Creek, Hulls and Watford to compete in Derby Festival Classic

Mark Shallcross, communications manager for the Kentucky Derby Festival, just sent along a press release with the rosters for the Kentucky Derby Festival Classic.

Three Indiana players, Maurice Creek, Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford, will compete April 11th at Freedom Hall and will also participate in the Night of the Future Stars on April 10 at Bellarmine University.

Creek, Hulls and Watford will join Mike Marra (Louisville), Rakeem Buckles (Louisville), Lorenzo Brown (NC State), Jon Hood (Kentucky), Lakeem Jackson (South Carolina), Elijah Johnson (Kansas), Noel Johnson (USC), Brendan Lane (UCLA), Eric Murphy (Florida), Daniel Orton (Kentucky), GJ Vilarino (Kentucky), Raymond Penn (Oklahoma State), Peyton Siva (Louisville), Michael Snaer (Florida State), Stephan Van Treese (Louisville) and Maalik Wayns (Villanova).

Siva, Snaer and Wayns are McDonald’s All-American’s.

Ticket information: Basketball Classic tickets are $17 and $12 (includes $2 KEC facility fee) and are available at TicketMaster locations (, the Freedom Hall Ticket Office, or by phone (502) 361-3100 or (800) 487-1212.

Inside the Hall will have coverage of the Night of the Future Stars as well as the Derby Festival Classic.

IU-Wisconsin: Postgame Open Thread

FINAL SCORE: Wisconsin 85, Indiana 61

There’s not a lot to write about this game that hasn’t been written already this season. The regular season is over. IU finishes up the Big Ten season with a 1-17 record.

The Hoosiers shot relatively well from the field in Madison (54 percent), but committed 16 turnovers, missed nine free throws and were out-rebounded 28-19. That’s not exactly a recipe for winning basketball games.

The Badgers, on the other hand, hit 52 percent from the field, hit 7 of 14 from 3-point range and knocked down 26 of 32 free throws.

Verdell Jones set a career high with 23 points as did Nick Williams with 19 points.

With that, we’ll leave it in your hands. Thoughts about this game, the regular season as a whole and your predictions heading into a 5PM ET matchup on Thursday with Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament are welcome in the comments.

Inside the Hall Pick’em Challenge is back

The Inside the Hall Pick’em Challenge is back. Just like last year, we’ve set up a group over at Yahoo! where you’ll be able to compete against other ITH’ers for bragging rights.

In addition to the $1 million available from Yahoo! for a perfect bracket and the $10,000 for the top overall bracket, we’ll be giving some prizes out as well. (Still finalizing the details, but an announcement is forthcoming.)

Just like last year, the group is public, so let friends and family know about it. The more, the merrier. Have fun out there, kids.

Crean: Dumes out for Wisconsin game

Indiana head coach Tom Crean announced on Saturday that Devan Dumes will miss Sunday night’s game at Wisconsin with a knee injury.

Dumes was injured with 16:49 remaining in the first half of Indiana’s 64-59 loss to Michigan State on Tuesday and did not return.

Dumes’ status unknown, so sayeth Tom Crean

Tom Crean, Verdell Jones and the defensive stopper known as Brett Finkelmeier met with the media earlier today to talk about Sunday’s game at Wisconsin. Nothing groundbreaking was revealed, but Crean did give an update on Devan Dumes:

“He has not practiced. It’s hard to measure today in such a short period of time. He has been shooting and things like that but he has not practiced so I don’t know (his status for Sunday).”

This is not a knock on Dumes, as he is IU’s best scorer, but I think the Hoosiers showed on Tuesday they can compete just fine without him. In other words, it’s not such a big deal if he can’t play Sunday. IU is in for a huge challenge as Wisconsin is fighting for a NCAA bid (a win Sunday probably punches their ticket) and the Kohl Center is one of the toughest places to play in the Big Ten.

A full transcript of Finkelmeier’s comments will be posted later. (Not really. I just felt like typing that.)

Pay to play? I don’t think so

First, a preface: I’m no fan of the current rules that prevent athletes, specifically in college basketball and college football, from entering the professional league of their choice at the conclusion of high school.

It’s probably a good rule in college football because only a handful (if that) of players would even be able to make the jump. But in the case of the NBA, it’s a terrible rule unless your name is Korleone Young.

But the column from Bob Kravitz in this morning’s Indianapolis Star suggesting college athletes should be able to choose between a scholarship and $25,000/year was a bit off the wall for my liking. Let’s go to the text:

When athletes arrive at a Division I school, give them a choice: They can get a full-ride scholarship, with all the perks that involves, or offer them a salary of, say, $25,000 per year to work on their NBA, NFL or NHL degree.

That is, let them compete for the school, use the college as a paid minor league and do so as true mercenaries, with no requirement they go to class.

Why is it so bloody important that we maintain this student-athlete hypocrisy when it’s clear that some athletes have absolutely no interest in, or aptitude for, a college education?

Again, the proposal: A Division I athlete, man or woman, revenue-producing sport or non-revenue-producing sport, gets the option: a scholarship or a paycheck with no academic strings attached.

The problem with this whole argument is that Indiana University or any other institution, is not a paid minor league system. Nor should it be. It’s a university. Which means, in theory, it’s supposed to be a haven for learning and getting an education, no?

Sure, there are athletes all over the country that go to school without the intention of ever receiving a diploma. I’m not blind to that. But that’s no fault of the school or the athlete. It’s the fault of the system. Both the NBA and NFL refuse to create a legitimate minor league system. So by default, these kids are forced into attending college when in reality they should be able to choose their next step after high school. The ball is in the court of the NBA and NFL to step up, but it shouldn’t be on schools to start forking over paychecks.

My guess is that this will generate strong opinion one way or the other, so let’s hear it in the comments.

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