Tom Crean Archive

Crean tips off 2012-2013 season at IU Auditorium

Indiana coach Tom Crean touched on a variety of topics when he addressed the IU student body and the public during his annual lecture Thursday night at the IU Auditorium.

He discussed the importance of family and education, he reminisced about some of the key moments from last year’s improbable run to the Sweet 16, and he talked about his expectations for the upcoming season.

Here are some of the highlights from the evening:

1. Sheehey, Zeller improving

While Crean said all the Hoosier players have made strides in the offseason, he specifically pointed out junior Will Sheehey and sophomore Cody Zeller for their improvements.

“They’re neck-and-neck right now for most improved players on the team,” Crean said. “They’re the ones who have stretched their games the most.”

According to Crean, Sheehey, who averaged 8.6 points per game for IU last year and hit one of the biggest shots of the season against VCU, is in elite physical condition. Crean said Sheehey lasted an IU-record 14:06 during a VO2 treadmill test, and he has improved in the gym as well.

As for Zeller, already IU’s best player heading into the offseason, Crean said his big man led the way over the summer. Given that opponents usually begin their game planning with Zeller, Crean knew IU needed him to develop his game in other ways.

“We had to get to a point this offseason where, no matter what [the opponents] do in their office, that he can go above and beyond that,” Crean said. “He’s so secure in his fundamentals and so good at reading what’s going to happen that he takes his game to another level.”

Crean said the coaching staff is trying to get Zeller to be able to get from one end of the court to the other in two dribbles. Right now, it’s at three.

“Is he ever going to need that? He probably won’t,” Crean said. “But he needs that mindset.”

2. Freshman to start?

There has been much speculation about what IU’s starting lineup will look like when the season begins. With all five starters returning from the team that won two NCAA Tournament games and a recruiting class that includes Yogi Ferrell and Jeremy Hollowell, there clearly won’t be enough starting spots for everybody.

While Crean didn’t give any sort of a possible lineup to begin the year, he did say that a freshman may start.

“We might have eight or nine starters,” Crean said. “I probably wouldn’t put it in a Sharpie pen just yet, but I might use a fountain pen that we’re probably going to start a freshman because that’s probably what’s going to happen. The battles are on right now.”

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Crean on GameDay, Zeller’s improvement and defense

Tom Crean joined Eric Crawford and Rick Bozich earlier this afternoon on ESPN 680 in Louisville to discuss a wide range of topics, including ESPN College GameDay’s return to Bloomington, the progression of Cody Zeller, defensive improvement and much more.

We’ve recapped several of the highlights and notable quotes from Crean below and you can also listen to the complete interview here.

Crean excited about GameDay’s return to Bloomington

ESPN announced the complete schedule for College GameDay on Wednesday and along with a marquee ACC-Big Ten Challenge game against North Carolina in November, the Hoosiers will host Michigan for GameDay on Saturday, Feb. 2.

“We’re excited about it,” Crean said. “When we first got to Indiana, really the first couple of years, one of the biggest things we showed to recruits, the first year especially, was the highlights from the game before when GameDay had been there. There’s nothing like it. We had one at Marquette my second-to-last year.”

Crean said the fact that GameDay is returning to Assembly Hall for the first time since 2008 is a testament to the work that has been done to turn the program around.

“The thing I like best about GameDay is we earned it. The players earned it,” he said. “They (ESPN) don’t come in for favors, they don’t come in because you know somebody, they come in for ratings. And I think that’s exactly what our team is about right now. They’re earning everything that’s coming their way.”

Zeller continues to add strength, diversify game

Many of Indiana’s players are currently off campus for a break between the second semester of summer school and the start of the fall semester, but Crean was asked for the latest on Cody Zeller’s progression before he left campus.

“When he left, the measurements were as good as they’ve ever been from him. He was squatting 400, he was benching 305. He did 185 (on the bench) twenty-two times, which is incredible,” Crean said. “He came in doing it ten times a year ago, so that’s the kind of jump he’s had in that time frame. He’s grown. He’s a legit 7-foot in his shoes. His vertical has gone up almost three inches since he’s been at Indiana.”

Crean said that Zeller, who was recently cited as the most coveted player in college basketball amongst a poll of coaches by CBS Sports, is also more confident in all aspects of his game.

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Peach Jam Notebook: Top 30 guard Ahmed Hill likes IU

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – Indiana sees Ahmed Hill as a shooter, and the soon-to-be junior had to smile about that.

While the Augusta, Ga., guard said he has no leader right now, he is impressed with the Hoosiers, who offered him a scholarship in the spring.

“I like Indiana,” Hill said Wednesday. “They got a lot of star players. They’re recruiting me as a shooter.”

Hill, who’s playing for the Southern Stampede at the EYBL Finals at the Nike Peach Jam, scored 13 points in his team’s 67-51 win against E1T1 Elite.

Though his shot wasn’t falling early, Hill did score 11 of the 13 points after halftime. He got going early in the second half, when a spin on a fast break forced a defender to foul him.

He later got his shot working when he made a pull-up jumper to increase his team’s lead to 54-36.

The Stampede’s game was one of four to start the only session of the first day of this year’s Peach Jam.

Coaches started sprinkling in around the start of the game, as Indiana coach Tom Crean, along with Alabama’s Anthony Grant and Georgia’s Mark Fox, were among those watching.

The Aquinas High School star, who led the Fighting Irish to the Class A state quarterfinals this past season, is ranked No. 26 in his class by Scout.com.

He also has scholarship offers from Connecticut, Kansas, Marquette and Tennessee.

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IU recognizes basketball staff with new job titles

Indiana announced changes in job titles to four members of the men’s basketball staff on Monday. Here’s the complete release from IU media relations:

Bloomington, Indiana—Indiana University men’s basketball coach has named Tim Buckley and Steve McClain to the position of associate head coach, added the title of recruiting coordinator to assistant coach Kenny Johnson and named Calbert Cheaney director of internal and external player development in addition to his duties as director of basketball operations.

“The chemistry inside of your program starts with the chemistry of your staff from top to bottom,” said Crean.  “Everyone in our program continues to work in a diligent and energized pace to keep IU on a continual rise.”

Buckley is the senior member of the staff entering his fifth year with the program. He was the head coach at Ball State from 2000-2006, returned to the Hoosier state in April 2008, as an assistant coach at Indiana after helping Marquette to a second round NCAA Tournament appearance in 2007-08. It was the second time that Buckley had been on Crean’s staff at Marquette and will be the third Big Ten school that he has worked at in his 20-plus year career, which has included stops at Iowa and Wisconsin.

“It’s a great honor,” said Buckley.  “Our staff has been through a lot of things here over the past four years, so I think part of that comes from the success that we’ve had this past season and hopefully for the future, and it’s one that I’m very appreciative of.”

“Tim has been instrumental from day 1 at Indiana with dealing with every aspect of this program,” added Crean.  “He administers, teaches, coaches and recruit at an extremely high level.

McClain, who boasts more than 29 years of coaching experience on the collegiate level, is in his third year as a member of the Hoosiers coaching staff. McClain came to IU after spending three seasons at Colorado, including the last two as associate head coach. He also served as interim coach for a portion of his last season and was the head coach at Wyoming from 1998-2007. He was an assistant at TCU prior to that and the head coach at Hutchinson Community College where he won a national JC title.

“I think, as we all talk about the staff, I don’t think anyone worries about what their titles are,” said McClain. “ I think the one thing that makes this staff so strong is the fact that everybody works the same every day for the same goals every day. It’s a great compliment, yet it’s a compliment of our whole staff.”

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WDRB.com: Crean’s non-traditional approach includes Denny Crum

WDRB.com: Crean’s non-traditional approach includes Denny Crum

So it was no surprise the videos Crean was studying the other day were not from his team’s unexpected 27-win season. They were videos of teams coached by a guy Crean has long admired – Denny Crum.

They were videos of the 1980 and 1986 University of Louisville teams that Crum directed to NCAA titles. Specifically, they were clips of how those teams, the ones with so many interchangeable parts, played Crum’s trademark switching defense.

“We’ve got a chance to have more depth,” said Crean, who has talked with Crum about visiting IU practices. “We have a chance to pressure the ball more. We definitely have more length. We can do more switching. That’s why I’m so interested in looking at the old Louisville teams of Denny Crum and how they did that.

“There’s so many more opportunities we have defensively right now because of our length and versatility. That’s how we have tried to recruit it. Get versatile, multi-dimensional, multi-positional guys. And try not to get too many people that can’t shoot the ball.”