It’s been a good start to the week here at ITH: Ryan’s rebuttal of the totally off-base Deadspin piece, Bawa Muniru chatter, Dominique Keller’s apparent hatred for IU and continuation of the EJ media tour. With another off day for our Hoosiers before Thursday’s home tilt with the Badgers, it’s time to open it up and get your take on a few topics.
+ Will IU win another regular season game? (For those of you without a pocket schedule handy, here are the remaining games: vs Wisconsin, at Purdue, vs Northwestern, at Penn State, vs Michigan State and at Wisconsin.)
+ A preseason poll, in which 1,021 of you voted, showed that 73% believed that IU would win 11 or more games this season. Looking back on that poll, were you A) wearing your cream and crimson sunglasses which clouded your vision and led you to believe IU would be better than this? or B) realistic with your expectations, but IU has underachieved.
+ And finally, when will Devan Dumes play again? Will it be tomorrow against Wisconsin? Or is he due another game on the pine?
Yesterday, I wrote a rebuttal to Rick Chandler’s post on Deadspin about how he thinks IU will never be able to recruit again, how Tom Crean wasn’t the answer and a few other things that didn’t sit too favorably with a lot of you. Rick received a lot of hate mail from Indiana fans since he decided to post that, and he explained himself this afternoon. You can read it right here.
Basically, he spent most of the piece gushing about his love for Bob Knight, and how he’s interviewed and talked to Knight and how Knight just loved his questions, and since Indiana Basketball As We Know It went out the door with Knight, we apparently can never be successful again. Oh, and he’s actually been to Bloomington, too. A sample:
On your next point, how Crean has this great freshman class coming in, I’ll give you that. Should have mentioned it. And Indiana will improve next season. But that doesn’t change the main theme; that Indiana basketball as you have known it is gone, probably forever. In terms of wins and losses, we’ve reached the end of an era. Oh, Bloomington will still be a great basketball town, but what I mean by basketball backwater is that the Hoosiers will always take a back seat to Duke and North Carolina and UCLA and even Wake Forest and UConn. Email me the next time Indiana reaches the Elite Eight. I’ll be waiting.
[ ... ]
No, that magical, John Feinsteinian year of 1987 is gone forever, and not Tom Crean nor the return of Steve Alford or Norman Dale himself is bringing it back. Knight lifted the program by the weight of his genius. Yeah, he had blue chippers, but the bulk of his rosters were always populated by JC transfers (Keith Smart, Dean Garrett) and local kids (Bailey, Joe Hillman, Alford) which he took and beat the likes of Syracuse and Shaquille O’Neal’s LSU in the Big Dance. Sure, you’ll continue to pack Assembly Hall, but do you think that success is coming back?
[ ... ]
So if I’m wrong about Crean and Indiana, I’ll be the first to say so, and the Hoosier Reds will be on me. But be aware that you’re in my wheelhouse on this one. I’ve been watching the situation for more than 20 years. And I’ve been taking notes.
Well, there you have it. We’ll never be successful again because Bob Knight isn’t around. Though, make sure to keep Mr. Chandler’s email address handy in case we miracuously make the Elite Eight ever again. He is, after all, taking notes on all this.
I’ve always thought that the NBA — its media, its day-to-day traveling, its camaraderie — exposes personality far better than the NCAA’s sheltered world. That may be more true in some cases than others, but as a rule, I think it fits. And I think it explains how we know more about Eric Gordon now than we did when he was living in Bloomington and playing his basketball under our obsessive gazes.
For example, I knew Gordon was a quiet, reserved dude, but who knew he had never seen “Lord of the Rings?” Come on, man. It’s “Lord of the Rings!” You get the point.
Anyway, the L.A. Times has another in the current string of Gordon media profiles, and this one reveals, well, I don’t know, that his dad used to have an afro and short-shorts, and that’s the only thing that separates him and his son? That his teammates call him “the quietest Clipper?” I don’t know. The whole thing is just sort of weird and funny, and you should be sure to give it a read.
Eric Gordon: You, sir, are a mysterious fig.
Believe it or not, we actually get some emails here at ITH from time to time. Normally, they fall into two categories: 1) Here is a link to an article I would post if I was an editor. I think you should post it. NOW! 2) Can you please break down said player and give me some more information like his stats and whether or not he’ll play right away when he gets to Bloomington. Also, a link to his Facebook page would be good, too.
This afternoon, I’m going to address número dos. The subject: Bawa Muniru. Here is a sampling of the questions you’ve submitted, either via email or by your comments followed by my responses.
What is the deal with Bawa? I have not seen any video or stats.
The deal with Bawa is that he’s a 7-footer with tremendous upside, but at this point, he’s extremely limited offensively. He’s not Tijan Jobe limited, but he’s got some work to do and with the help of Roshown McLeod, I’d expect him to improve immensely in that aspect of his game. As far as video goes, this clip, which basically shows him throwing down a couple of thunderous dunks is all I’ve been able to scrounge up. The reason his stats haven’t been reported is that very few, if any, newspapers cover Mt. Zion Academy’s basketball team and the school’s Web site doesn’t report stats.
In the 14 months I’ve lived in my apartment, I’ve gotten in about three fights with my roommate. These fights have not stemmed from taking out the trash, or rent, or leaving too many dishes in the sink: They’ve all been sports related. He’s an Illinois fan. I’m an Indiana fan. He’s a Cubs fan. I’m a White Sox fan. That should just about do all the explaining for you.
This year, during both IU-Illinois matchups, there was no bickering. He realizes IU is in a down year. Before the first game, he even made some off-handed remark about it “not even being a rivalry this year.”
And besides Bruce Weber’s comments before the year about how Indiana was going to be real bad and to “not print that on the Internet,” everything in Illini Nation seems a bit more calm than last year. Bruce has been cordial in both meetings. Chester Frazier, he of Eric Gordon pregame pushing fame, was nice in his postgame comments Sunday. I think it’s a combination of Kelvin Sampson being gone (he was the hated villain in all this, really), Gordon going pro, IU not being very good this year and Illinois fans having respect for Tom Crean and his choice to clean house and do things the right way.
This is not to say the rivalry does not still exist, or that fans on both side of the fence don’t feel hatred towards one another. But, it is to say, at least for this year, those tempers have died down a bit.
Unless you’re first-year Illinois JUCO transfer from Lee College, Dominique Keller — a guy who wasn’t even on the team last year.
“I’ve only been in this rivalry for one year, and I can tell you right now, I do not like this school,” Keller said. “I don’t like the coach, and I don’t like the fans. As a matter of fact, I don’t like the gym. It’s just something about Indiana I just don’t like. You can quote me on that.”
You have been quoted, Dominique. But dude, what have we done to you?
Let me tell you about my morning. I got up late. I put on clothes I wore out to a bar Friday night. I took a cab to work. I wrote some blogs posts for the day job. Typical Monday.
And then, sometime in the late morning, I was on Ballhype, and saw this post on Josh Q. Public. And I laughed. Let’s just say that Josh — IF THAT’S EVEN HIS REAL NAME — might be wise to know at least a little something — this is all I ask, just a little something — about the situation he’s writing about before he goes and posts it on a popular, Digg-esque, sports blog site by himself and has other people “hype it” for him, and before he e-mails it to Deadspin. (We’ll get there later.)
Since Knight’s firing, Kelvin Sampson led the Hoosiers to a 21-11 record overall and a 34th appearance in the NCAA tournament only to be forced to resign due his role in the controversial recruitment of star player Eric Gordon.
Ah yes, this is why Sampson resigned, remember guys? Eric Gordon’s decision to come to Indiana. Nothing to do with that phone call stuff. Zip. Zero. Nada.
How does this happen? How does one of the most esteemed basketball programs in the nation fall so far?
Dude, it happened because due to the Kelvin Sampson fallout, only 30 total points scored — 30! — returned from last season. That was 1.2 percent of IU’s total scoring output from last season. Some dudes left, others went pro, others got kicked off.
Throughout the season, Inside the Hall will keep you posted on how the six Indiana signees and 2011 commitment Matt Carlino are performing at their respective schools. Here’s our latest update:
+ Jordan Hulls: Bloomington South improved to 17-0 with a 77-44 win over Warren Central on Saturday. Hulls had a season high 30 points on 11 of 18 shooting. The Panthers will get their toughest test of the season this coming Saturday in Bloomington as Detroit Country Day, led by Ray McCallum Jr., comes to town. Both teams are ranked in the top 10 nationally by USA Today.
+ Christian Watford: The 6-8 swingman dropped 35 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a 63-52 Shades Valley win over Pinson Valley. Shades Valley is 23-5.
+ Maurice Creek: No individual stats were available from the Hargrave Military Academy Web site, but the Tigers improved to 20-1 with a 104-77 win over Rise Academy on Saturday.
+ Bobby Capobianco: Loveland split a pair of games last week with Wilmington (50-45 loss) and Winton Woods (53-48 win). In the Wilmington loss, Capobianco had 18 points and 11 rebounds and in the win over Winton Woods, he had 23 points and 13 rebounds.
+ Derek Elston: Tipton, No. 2 in Class 2-A, crushed No. 9 Carroll 65-34 on Friday night. The Blue Devils improved to 17-2 and Elston had 22 points and 11 rebounds.
+ Bawa Muniru: No information available.
+ Matt Carlino: Highland won its regular season finale 58-37 over Central to finish 24-3 and will begin postseason play this week. Carlino scored 14 points.