Kelvin Sampson Archive

If this is it…

kelvinclose2.JPGI’ve got two words for you, Kelvin Sampson: Beat Purdue.

Give us one last night to root for you, even if it makes us all a bit hypocritical. Give us another night like Saturday, a night where one long standing media member told me it was the loudest he’s ever heard Assembly Hall. And most importantly, leave us with a chance to control our own destiny in the race for the Big Ten title.

When PostmanE, PostmanR and myself started Inside the Hall back in June, we did so not only out of our love of the Indiana basketball program and its tradition, but also because of our excitement of where the program was heading.

IU was finally past the debacle known as Mike Davis and despite your problems at Oklahoma, last season gave us hope that you were the man for the job. You took an average team and got them to play inspired, hard-nosed basketball. They pushed UCLA to the limit in the NCAA Tournament and by most accounts, it was the first in line of many successful seasons.

The excitement for this season started minutes after the last one ended with thoughts of Eric Gordon arriving in Bloomington. For me, that excitement intensified in August at New Albany High School when I got a look at the recruiting haul you were bringing to town. All was well in Hoosierland and thoughts of a trip to San Antonio danced in my head.

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Sampson: White expected to play against Purdue

Kelvin Sampson told Don Fischer on the Kelvin Sampson Show from Foster quad that Indiana senior D.J. White is expected to play Tuesday night against Purdue.

White left Saturday’s 80-61 win over Michigan State with an injury to his left knee, but an MRI on Sunday showed no structural damage.

We’ve heard that he wouldn’t play, now we’ve heard that he will play. At this point, who knows what to believe. We’ll find out in 24 hours.

(Via The Hoosier Scoop and tipster Kelin)

“I think the majority would want him to stay”

sampson.jpgNew York Times columnist William C. Rhoden offered up an alternative view this morning on Kelvin Sampson. Unlike countless mainstream media opinions we’ve read over the past six days, Rhoden offered support for the embattled Indiana coach. Here’s a piece of what Rhoden had to say:

Let me make the case for Sampson to remain at Indiana. One more chance. He has clearly blundered — maybe twice. Once at the University of Oklahoma and now, according to an N.C.A.A. report, at Indiana, which hired him in 2006. In pursuit of players, Sampson cannot seem to keep his fingers off speed dial.

But if McRobbie hasn’t made up his mind, he should step back, tap into a significant, mostly silent, number of faculty members and Indiana supporters who would like to see Sampson remain as the coach.

Before I continue any further, I must say that I seriously doubt that there is still a significant number of Indiana supporters who would like to see Sampson remain as the coach. There might be some, but to call the number significant is a stretch. Now, let’s continue with more of Rhoden’s column:

One of them is John A. McCluskey Jr., a professor of Afro-American studies at Indiana and an adjunct professor of English. McCluskey arrived at the Bloomington campus in 1977, a year after Indiana went 32-0 and won the national championship. A former football player at Harvard — he was the first African-American quarterback in the Ivy League’s modern era — McCluskey saw the great years at Indiana, then the mediocre ones, when the game seemed to have passed Knight by. He was a witness to the ordinary Davis teams.

“What I would like to see happen is that he stay on, he gets censured one more time, but he’s on that short leash again,” McCluskey said Sunday from Bloomington. “It’s a divided campus here. I think the majority would want him to stay, particularly after last night.”

If the latest poll we took here on Inside the Hall is any indication of the pulse of the fanbase, 83% of you say that Sampson should be fired. Nothing against Rhoden, he’s a great columnist for the best newspaper in the country, but I think he totally dropped the ball with this piece. He found one person willing to speak out in support of Sampson and transformed that into support that doesn’t exist.

Let’s wrap this up with a couple of questions:

1) Do you really believe there is a part of the fanbase that would like Sampson to stay? (His family and the players don’t count.) Particularly, if there are any of you that want to see him stay, please post a comment or if you think you’ll incite a riot, just drop me an email. I’d like to hear your logic.

2) And the crazy question to consider, what would be the reaction, if by some miracle, Sampson survived? (Not going to happen.)

Sampson via Goodman: White likely out vs Purdue

Still nothing official from the Hoosier camp, but Jeff Goodman of Foxsports.com reported late last night that a knee sprain is likely to keep D.J. White from taking the court on Tuesday against Purdue. Here are the details:

White landed awkwardly on his left knee late in the first half of Indiana’s victory against Michigan State on Saturday night. Although an MRI on Sunday morning came back negative, Kelvin Sampson told FOXSports.com that doctors weren’t optimistic White would be able to play Tuesday night against Purdue. White was diagnosed with a sprained right knee just above the kneecap, and he’ll likely miss a week or so, according to Sampson.

Again, this story is according to Jeff Goodman. He could be wrong, but for the sake of the discussion I’m about to open up, let’s say he’s right. Without D.J. White, can Indiana beat Purdue? How does the game plan change? Your thoughts are welcome in the comments.

The Morning After: Michigan State

sampson_armon1.jpgWe’ve all been guilty of it. We are finished with Kelvin Sampson, done, finito, that’s it. As you read this, Sampson could win the Big Ten, blow out Purdue by 40, capture a national title, and cure lupus (does lupus have a cure already?) and everyone would still monolithically demand Sampson’s head on a silver platter. And rightfully so.

But for all the unanimous consent to fire on this site, and among ESPN’s chosen local interviewees, last night’s game showcased an atmosphere, and a fanbase, still totally confused and weirded out by what’s happening right in front of them. I watched on TV last night, and it was clear from the Dolby 5.1 that the pregame crowd hadn’t made up its mind to boo Kelvin Sampson, nor had they decided to show solidarity with the embattled coach. Sampson was just sort of there most of the game — drawing angry comments from myself, PostmanR, and my girlfriend, all the while coaching IU to its best win of the season in front of an emotional and raucous home crowd.

Just how the hell are we supposed to feel about that?

I still don’t know. And it was clear from the Kel-vin Samp-son cheer last night — clear from friends on campus who say opinion on KS is split — that I’m not alone. No one who loves IU basketball is totally sure how to feel about all this.

For me, it’s a mixture of sadness, anger, doubt, excitement, revenge, righteousness, forgiveness. It’s hard to say goodbye to someone who knows he needs to leave. It’s hard to force him out when you watch him hug his kids. It breaks the heart to see him cling for dear life in the face of certain failure. And then you remember what he did in the first place — the stupidity and arrogance — and it brings you back to the angry, vengeful thoughts you first had.

And that’s what it is right now. That mixture. That confusion. We’re on the tail end of something, and if the above paragraph was any indication, things aren’t going to be easy to synthesize anytime soon.

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McRobbie seeks recommendation from investigation

mcrobbie1.jpgIndiana University President Michael McRobbie announced earlier this afternoon that the school has ordered an immediate investigation into the NCAA allegations involving the basketball coaching staff and Athletic Director Rick Greenspan will report back in a week with his recommendation on the next step the school will take. (This pretty much concords with what we reported yesterday.)

“Today I am announcing that I have directed the athletics director to oversee an immediate investigation of these new allegations and make an assessment as to whether they are credible and accurate. I have given him seven days as of now to complete this task,” McRobbie told the media.

McRobbie continued, “When this investigation is completed, the athletics director will use the findings to guide him in making a recommendation to me as to what our next steps will be. I want to make it clear that all of us are going into this with no presumptions. I do not know what conclusions the investigators will come to regarding these new allegations.”

In other words, Greenspan has a week to get to the truth and provide accurate information to McRobbie. He’s also got a week to do his best to save his own job, which will be no easy task.

You can be sure about one thing: the end game of where this is going seems perfectly clear to me. At the least, Sampson will be suspended while the university gets its ducks in a row to terminate him shortly after the season. If Sampson is found to have lied to the university and the lawyers sign off, he could be gone before that time. Either way, we can all agree there’s no way he lasts beyond this season.

Here are some links to coverage from the presser from around the Web along with a word from Rob Senderoff:

Rumor Alert: After one-week investigation, Sampson suspension likely

fleetwoodmacrumors.jpgRumor. Repeat: rumor. This is merely what we’re hearing from a friend, a friend who also happens to be relatively well-connected, and this is what we’re getting. If the rumor’s wrong, then we’re wrong, and we’ll be the first to admit it.

The rumor is this: IU is currently conducting a one-week investigation — and investigation might just mean “window to decide” — what they’re going to do about Kelvin Sampson. That itself is not inherently new, but the more tenuous bit is that officials are leaning toward suspending Sampson. That’s the second time we’ve heard today from relatively well-connected people that the reaction is leaning toward “non-drastic.”

Also: Supposedly, there’s a press conference tomorrow at 3 p.m. That makes sense, considering the bright glare of ESPN’s cameras will be on campus Saturday, and the squeaky clean press machine that is IU media relations probably doesn’t want uncertainty to dominate the story.

So, to recap: Just a rumor(s). What we’re hearing. What’s in the grapevine. All that. Take it with as many grains of salt as you so desire. But we probably wouldn’t be running an IU blog right now if we decided not to pass this along.

Update: Terry Hutchens reports that IU orders investigation, seeks recommendation quickly.

Gasaway on Sampson: What a shame

white_kelvin.jpgDespite a respectful tussle with John Gasaway (aka Big Ten Wonk) in the offseason, all three of us love his work, both in his old format at the Wonk and at his new location, Basketball Prospectus. He and Ken Pomeroy and the rest of the crew over there are on the leading edge of basketball analysis, and are the perfect complement to any fan’s understanding of the game. If you’re not reading, you should be. Pronto.

Today’s no different. Gasaway sums up the feelings of IU fans (including myself) incisively in a banger of a post on the Hoosiers. To wit:

What a shame that this is what we’re talking about in mid-February 2008 under the heading of “Indiana basketball.” What a shame that we’re not talking about the current Indiana team, which features the best two players to wear the crimson and cream in more than a decade. Both D.J. White and Eric Gordon are having outstanding seasons. Both are great stories. White arrived in Bloomington as a skinny work in progress and has transcended both injuries and three careers’ worth of coaching turmoil to become far and away the best player in the Big Ten, an insatiable beast on the defensive glass and a lethal scoring threat in the low post. Gordon is the answer to an Indiana fan’s wildest and most improbable dream: an Indianapolis kid who carries himself like a true Hoosier (steady, unassuming, fine with his name not being on the jersey), yet is blessed with a level of talent not seen in Bloomington since the days of Isiah Thomas. Today they’re both afterthoughts. What a shame.

If that doesn’t describe just how you’ve felt the past 24 hours — especially as you tuned in last night and realized the game felt suddenly empty — then you’re not an IU fan. Sigh. This blows.

Katz via source: Sampson’s tenure is on game-by-game basis

sampson_court.jpegThose of you hoping Kelvin Sampson is cut loose sooner rather than later by IU — and the more I read today, the more I think it makes more sense to do so because the NCAA is likely to come down less hard on us, although I still feel horrible for the players’ sake — may soon get your wish. Andy Katz of ESPN.com is reporting a source has indicated to him Sampson is being evaluated game-to-game.

Discussions about whether Sampson would coach Wednesday night’s game against Wisconsin went on as late as the afternoon preceding the game, according to a source close to the situation.

A source told ESPN.com that there is an air of uncertainty on the staff regarding Sampson’s status and whether he’ll finish out the season. Sampson met with his staff Tuesday into the night and again on Wednesday.

Indiana (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP) could choose to suspend Sampson from coaching games while it figures out its options without having to fire him. The Hoosiers have home games Saturday against Michigan State and Tuesday against Purdue.

Larry MacIntyre, the assistant vice president for university communications, said IU president Michael McRobbie has met with the school’s legal counsel, the board of trustees and athletic director Rick Greenspan.

[ … ]

MacIntyre said there are no plans for a news conference Thursday or Friday, but he said he’s “not going on vacation” and is prepared to quickly organize one if needed.

So yes: there’s the latest news flying out there on Sampson’s status. It should come as no surprise to any of us.