Taber talks senior night and Michigan State

I’ve gotta hand it to Kyle Taber. He’s had one of the toughest seasons in terms of wins and losses ever for an IU player and unlike guys like Tom Pritchard and Nick Williams who will get to see another day — this is the end of the road for Taber.

Barring a miracle, he’s got three more games in an Indiana uniform. But instead of just going through the motions in a season going nowhere fast, Taber has made a point of improving as the year has moved forward. He’s turned himself into a solid contributor. For that and for going through two of the most difficult seasons in the history of Indiana basketball, here’s to a standing ovation for Taber tomorrow night in Assembly Hall.

Here are some thoughts from Taber as he prepares to play his final home game:

On Tuesday night being Senior Night:

“It’s going to be special, sad and exciting at the same time. I’m ready for it though. It’s my fifth year here so I knew it was coming sooner or later.”

On which teammate he learned the most from:

“I learned a lot from D.J. (White). Just how he handles things especially with how big of a star he was around here. He did a lot of good things and you can learn a lot from just watching him and not even talking to him. So that was probably the biggest, but I have learned a lot from everyone that I have been around, all of my teammates.”

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Tom Crean Big Ten teleconference audio

Update: Crean also talked to the media this afternoon about the Michigan State game.

Here is the audio of Tom Crean’s appearance on the weekly Big Ten coaches teleconference, courtesy of the Big Ten Network:

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Around the Hall: Indiana @ Penn State

(Editor’s note: Due to a service problem with our host, we were unable to provide coverage of last night’s game at Penn State. We apologize for the inconvenience.)

Around the Hall is recommended reading from the Inside the Hall crew.

+ The Bloomington Herald Times was on the scene in State College and captured Tom Crean’s reaction following IU’s 61-58 loss to Penn State. {The Hoosier Scoop}

+ Terry Hutchens writes that the inability to hit clutch shots and turnovers down the stretch ultimately foiled IU’s attempt at an upset at Penn State. {The Indianapolis Star}

+ Terry Hutchens says that close isn’t good enough anymore Indiana and at some point the Hoosiers must figure out how to win a close game. Time is running out, Hutch. {Hoosiers Insider}

+ Even a basket by seldom used Tijan Jobe couldn’t lift IU past Penn State. {Indiana Daily Student}

Quotable: “I knew we would play well tonight. We have had two great practices. Lets put it this way–I would have been a lot more shocked if we didn’t play extremely hard and work at execution and defend better. I would have been shocked.” – Tom Crean on IU’s performance Saturday night at Penn State.

Nasty elbow doesn’t derail Hulls’ quest for perfection

I’ve gotta be honest: Jordan Hulls is the recruit I’m most excited about for next season.

It’s not that I necessarily think he’s the best player of the six incoming recruits, but I can’t think of one thing I don’t like about this guy. He’s smart, hard-nosed and knows how to win. Translation: He’s exactly what Indiana has been lacking in recent years and desperately needs.

Despite the fact that he was just a few miles down the road at Bloomington South, the old IU staff showed no interest. Apparently, he wasn’t in the three-way calling rotation for Sampson and Rob Senderoff.

Enter Tom Crean.

Just as Hulls was beginning to garner some attention from schools like Duke, Purdue and Stanford, Crean put the hard sell on and Hulls bought in. And since that time, he’s done nothing but show that he’s more than deserving of a scholarship to play at Indiana.

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Around the Hall: Not this guy, again

Around the Hall is recommended reading from the Inside the Hall crew.

+ Indy Star columnist Bob Kravitz discusses Kelvin Sampson’s unwillingness to take responsibility for what went down in Bloomington. As Kravitz notes, “Haven’t we gone through this already?” {Indianapolis Star}

+ Lance Stemler and Adam Ahlfeld confirmed that Sampson talked the players into finishing out the season after Stemler, Ahlfeld, D.J. White and Eric Gordon told Sampson they wouldn’t finish the season without him. {Indianapolis Star}

+ Former Indiana assistant Rob Senderoff has his penalty reduced by the NCAA — but only by a smidge. {The Sporting News}

+ Gary Parrish chronicles the story of Kellen Sampson and says the aspiring coach should be judged on his own merits and not by his last name. {CBS Sports}

Quotable:

“We were sitting there every day tearing through the rules and regulations of the NCAA, and I’m just like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ I felt like the biggest white elephant in the room, especially when we spent a week on the rules and regulations of phone calls. I told the professor, ‘I can probably teach this section.'” – Kellen Sampson on how he felt during the class he took at IU last year titled “NCAA rules and compliance.”

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Kelvin Sampson is still talking

Kelvin Sampson’s media tour just keeps getting lamer and lamer. The latest: A one-on-one interview with the Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy, wherein Sampson complains about the media and his punishment being unfair and he didn’t know he was cheating blah blah blah:

SN: Was the NCAA too harsh on you?

SAMPSON: I think so. I think they were unfair. I think they were unfair to IU, too. I don’t think anybody got treated fairly in this. This thing got hit in the media, it got sensationalized. It just took on a life of its own. When they start using the word unethical, when they describe you as unethical –somebody that’s unethical, to me, knows right from wrong and then does it anyway. There’s intent behind it.

That’s pretty much the gist of the whole interview. Kelvin believes he was treated unfairly, that he really didn’t do anything wrong, and that the NCAA’s mind was made up about him before he had the chance to prove himself innocent of all those charges. Blah. If it wasn’t obvious Sampson wants to coach college hoops again, it should be by now. Otherwise, he would go away. He would spare us the nonsense. He would make me forget he ever existed.

Instead, expect the media tour to roll on. Gee. Can’t wait.

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