STARLIGHT, Ind. — The IU Tailgate Tour rolled into Huber Winery on Wednesday night with an estimated crowd of 900 fans.
Before taking the stage, Tom Crean met with the media and talked about his team’s APR recognition from the NCAA, Will Sheehey and Yogi Ferrell trying out for the World University Games, leadership on next season’s team and much more.
STARLIGHT, Ind. — When Indiana takes the floor next fall, the Hoosiers will be without two likely lottery picks in Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo and two four-year, 1,000-point scorers in Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford. Will Sheehey will be the only four-year player in the program and seven new players, including six freshman, will be counted on to play significant roles.
From a depth perspective, Indiana could be stronger top to bottom than it was last season, but losing four starters also leaves a potential void in leadership.
But just as the Hoosiers had different players lead throughout the 2012-2013 season, Tom Crean said Wednesday night at the IU Tailgate Tour stop at Huber Winery that next season’s team might not have a definitive leader.
“I don’t know if this is a team that you say, ‘this is the one leader,’ Crean said. “We’ve got to have collective leadership. I don’t think this is a thing where it’s going to be one or two guys that we bestow the leadership mantle to in the summer.”
The Indiana players currently on campus have already started summer workouts and all seven newcomers are expected in town by the end of next week.
While much of the offseason dialogue will be centered around what Indiana lost to early entries to the NBA and graduation, the opportunity to mold a new group of players into a team is exciting for Crean.
“It’s really going to be important that so many of them can step in and play,” he said. “I think we have a chance to have a deeper team. I think our athleticism is going to be really strong. The glass half empty is that we lost a lot of people. The glass half full is we’ve got such a young team and they’re going to have that much more of a chance for growth.”
INDIANAPOLIS — Ever since Indiana’s home-and-home series with Kentucky after the 2011-2012 season, there has been a lingering question of which school would replace the Wildcats on the schedule in the long term.
Many schools have come up over the last year, including Kansas and Louisville, but no deal has been reached with any team to this point.
Indiana coach Tom Crean said Tuesday night at a Tailgate Tour event at Lucas Oil Stadium that the Hoosiers are still working to fill the void in the schedule left by Kentucky, but he was rather vague as to what that might mean.
Crean said he had discussions with Gonzaga last week about scheduling a home and home with a game this season at Assembly Hall and one in the future at Gonzaga, but Mark Few’s team already had enough non-conference road games scheduled for this season.
“Nobody wants to do that,” Crean said. “It’s too big of a deal to play at home. It’s a big deal not only for the program but for the athletic department.
“It’s so hard right now with what could happen down the road. There’s no question losing Kentucky screwed us up for the home and home situation. But there’s things that could potentially be out there for the future that we can’t talk about publicly but we have to plan for privately. The last thing we wanna do is get caught in a situation where we’re trying to play too many non-conference road games.”
As it stands right now, the Hoosiers will play in the 2K Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden in November with Boston College, Connecticut and Washington. Indiana will also play at Syracuse in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge and against Notre Dame in the Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in December.
Crean was asked specifically if the possibility remained that the Hoosiers would not get another marquee home game this season.
INDIANAPOLIS — There was plenty for Tom Crean to discuss on Tuesday night at the IU Tailgate Tour at Lucas Oil Stadium.
At his second tour appearance, Crean talked about next season’s non-conference schedule, Noah Vonleh’s progress since arriving on campus, offseason workouts, Victor Oladipo, Cody Zeller and the NBA Draft and much more.
Tom Crean made his first of three scheduled stops on the 2013 IU Tailgate Tour last Thursday night at the Riverwalk in Jasper. Crean will also appear at tonight’s Tailgate Tour in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium and Wednesday’s stop at Huber Winery in Starlight.
We’ve compiled some notes and quotes from Crean’s speech in Jasper below:
· On student tickets for next season: “This year, we’re probably going to have our student tickets somewhere around the 15,000 range. Last year, it was in the 12,000 range when we can really only get about 7,500 of them in there. There’s such a demand for people to come to the games and be a part of it that we’ve got to try to get everybody in.”
· On getting started with the seven new players coming into the program: “That mystery started to unravel today when we started our new player workouts. We had our first workout today with Noah Vonleh, Devin Davis and Collin Hartman. Tomorrow we’ll have it with Luke Fischer and end of next week we’ll have it with Troy Williams, Evan Gordon and Stanford Robinson.”
· On Vonleh: “When you look at his body. He’s 6’9.75″ with a 7’5″ wingspan. He weighed in at 230 pounds and did a max vertical jump of 38 inches. He is going to be a special, special player. Right now he’s got special talent. And as those skills and fundamentals go with him, he’s going to have a chance to be one of those guys that people are going to be writing a lot of stories about, doing a lot of specials on TV about and you’re going to know where you were when you got to see him play the first time.”
· On Williams: “I feel like Troy Williams is going to be a cross athletically between what Victor (Oladipo) and Will (Sheehey) were. He is a ridiculous athlete and a winner and a guy that gave up his senior year in high school at home to go to Oak Hill (Academy) so he could play against the best competition. Right now he’s been working out in Houston with John Lucas and I think he’s the only high school kid. It’s all college players and guys preparing for the draft. Anything to give himself an edge.”
Indiana Athletics announced dates and times for the 2013 Tailgate Tour on Monday. Here’s the complete release from IU media relations: (Note: Tom Crean is scheduled to appear in Jasper, Indianapolis and Starlight.)
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The IU Varsity Club has released the schedule for the annual, summer IU Athletics Tailgate Tour, presented by Smithville. The 2013 tour features seven stops; five head coaches; Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Fred Glass; and sportscaster Don Fischer.
The Tailgate Tour allows Hoosier fans to support IU Athletics and learn about the success of student-athletes both on and off the field. It also allows IU’s head coaches to provide insights on the 2013-2014 athletic seasons.
“There are so many fans that bleed cream and crimson,” said Glass. “And, IU’s fans have been so tremendous this year in their support of the Hoosiers. Student-athlete success would not be possible without their support. That’s why we are really looking forward to hitting the road again this year to show our appreciation and share insights on what to expect this fall.”
Head coaches featured on the tour will include: Tom Crean (men’s basketball), Curt Miller (women’s basketball, Sherry Dunbar (volleyball), Kevin Wilson (football), and Todd Yeagley (men’s soccer). Each of the seven 2013 Tailgate Tour stops will include one or more of the featured head coaches.
“Tailgate Tour events are great opportunities for fans to connect with each other and build on IU’s excitement and energy,” added Glass. “We’ve got a lot of great events planned on the tour and can’t wait to see a ton of Hoosiers, both young and old.”
Each Tailgate Tour event will feature a reception or meal and program. Event times and prices vary for each event. Guests will also have an opportunity to purchase 2013 football season tickets at each tour stop.
The Tailgate Tour is organized by the IU Varsity Club, IU Alumni Association and the I Association. It is sponsored in part by Visit Bloomington.
The complete schedule is available after the jump.
Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our recap of the 2012-2013 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Head coach Tom Crean.
Tom Crean knew the Indiana job would be a challenge when he accepted it some five years ago. He had to rebuild the program from the very bottom, and he successfully restored it to a place where the Hoosiers could be the No. 1 ranked team in the preseason.
What Crean has accomplished has been truly remarkable and praiseworthy. But the difficulty of the head job in Bloomington didn’t end when Crean got the top recruits to start coming to town or when he built a team that earned a No. 1 seed this season. Crean dealt with a number of different challenges this season.
The most difficult one was expectations. The Hoosiers had plenty of them this season, and they sometimes struggled to handle and live up to those lofty expectations. They were expected to win, and when their season ended early with a Sweet Sixteen loss to Syracuse in Washington D.C., it was viewed by some as a disappointment.
Indiana accomplished some great things this season. It won a Big Ten title outright for the first time in 20 years. Beat Michigan twice. Beat Michigan State twice. Won at Ohio State. Earned a No. 1 seed. Reached the Sweet Sixteen for the second consecutive year. But the Hoosiers didn’t win it all, and when you play or coach at a school that has hung five banners, championships become the standard to which you are held.
In some ways, Crean handled the expectations well. He did numerous national radio and television interviews in which he was charismatic and engaging. He continued to develop his players throughout the season and constantly reminded the media that the team hadn’t accomplished anything because of its preseason ranking.