In Tuesday’s edition of The Indianapolis Star, Bob Kravitz penned a column (link) expressing concern over Tom Crean’s ability to recruit the state of Indiana. The headline: “Crean needs to start getting in-state talent.”
The overall tone of the column was hardly vicious, but there was quite a bit of discussion surrounding the 2010 class and the lack of IU flavor on the Indiana All-Star team.
If you’ve been following the program since Crean took over in the spring of 2008, he’s been transparent about the tremendous ground the program needed to make up in the 2010 recruiting class. And after landing a top 10 class in 2009, the Hoosiers will welcome a less-heralded three-man class this fall.
But back to the Indiana All-Star team. Kravitz mentioned three Purdue recruits — Terone Johnson, Donnie Hale and Travis Carroll — as well as Butler’s Erik Fromm and Chrishawn Hopkins and Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas. I’ve watched all six players and two stood out as clear-cut Big Ten level guys: Thomas, Mr. Basketball and a McDonald’s All-American and Johnson, who will be a high level player in West Lafayette.
And while it’s easy to type a line like, “Take a quick look at the roster for the Indiana All-Stars boys basketball team. On second thought, if you’re an Indiana University fan, don’t bother. It’s too depressing,” that statement is also a little misleading.
The reality, as Kravitz mentions, is the recruiting work on Thomas and Johnson was all but completed before Crean ever stepped foot in Bloomington. The other four — Carroll, Fromm, Hale and Hopkins — could potentially fill roles at their respective schools, but are not worth losing much, if any, sleep over.
The real litmus test on IU’s ability to recruit Indiana talent will come in the next three classes.
Indiana head coach Tom Crean appeared Tuesday night in Jeffersonville (IN) at a fund raising event for the Greater Clark County Schools.
The event, “Coaches Raising the Bar for Kids,” also featured former Louisville head coach Denny Crum and current Louisville women’s coach Jeff Walz and raised over $36,000 that will go towards helping students prepare to take the ACT.
A couple of quick highlights:
- During the Q & A portion of the event, Crum told Crean he’d love to come watch a game at Assembly Hall. Crean countered that he’d let him sit in his seat since he rarely uses it during the game. Crum then said, “I’ve noticed,” which drew a smile from Crean and a few laughs from the crowd. No word yet on whether the Hall of Fame coach will take in a game at Assembly Hall.
- Crean re-iterated that he consumes news on conference expansion and re-alignment just as the fans do: television, the Internet and the newspaper. He also stated that he hopes those in decision-making positions will do what’s best for the schools and the conferences involved.
- Crean said he is open to a series with Louisville in the future.
Here’s video of Crean speaking to the media prior to the event:
This release just popped into the inbox from J.D. Campbell over at IU Media Relations. Normally wouldn’t be posting much about Bill Lynch on here, but under the circumstances, it can’t hurt.
“We are excited to welcome the University of Nebraska to the Big Ten Conference. They are a perfect fit to what we believe is a group of institutions committed to combining the best that academia and athletic competition have to offer. We look forward to building on this new relationship.” Fred Glass
Director of Athletics
“Nebraska is a first-class institution that for years has competed at the highest level in intercollegiate athletics and have a loyal fan base with obvious great support. I have followed their programs for many years with great admiration. We welcome them to the Big Ten Conference.” Tom Crean
Men’s Basketball Coach
“We are excited about Nebraska joining the Big Ten. We think it’s arguably the best conference in the country and adding a powerhouse like Nebraska who’s great in all sports, particularly football and women’s basketball, it just adds to the Big Ten. We welcome a great program like Nebraska to the Big Ten Conference.” Felisha Legette-Jack
Women’s Basketball Coach
“Nebraska is one of the outstanding institutions in the country,” Lynch said. “It is a great fit for the Big Ten both geographically and competitively. Nebraska’s football program is one of the truly elite in the country. It is a model program many of us have studied over the years and it will be a great addition to the Big Ten Conference.” Bill Lynch
Among the various landmines Kelvin Sampson left in Bloomigton was an APR (Academic Progress Rate) score that was, in a word, unacceptable. Let’s go to the archives from May of 2009:
The NCAA released its Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores this afternoon and the result was a public notice for IU baskeball in response to a score that, well, isn’t pretty. To put it into perspective how low the figure is, the other 23 athletic programs at IU all had scores well above the NCAA benchmark of 925. The men’s basketball program checked in at 866.
“We take this public notice very seriously,” Indiana Athletic Director Fred Glass said. “The poor academic performance for which we’re being cited all occurred under two coaches who are no longer at IU. We are confident that under Coach Tom Crean’s leadership and commitment to academics, responsibility, and character, we will soon be able to put our previous academic issues fully in the past. Coach Crean’s outstanding academic record at Marquette, including the graduating of all of his senior players, speaks for itself.”
Fast forward to June 2010 and the APR is headed in the right direction.
This PDF report, released by the NCAA, shows the APR score for men’s basketball jumped to 975 for 2008-2009. The multi-year score also jumped 12 points to 878.
The multi-year figure is still the lowest among all IU sports. But the improvement, coupled with the fact that IU already self-imposed the loss of two scholarships during Crean’s first season, means that no additional penalties will occur.
Before we get to the aforementioned video, I’d like to publicly begin a campaign for Tom Crean to wear his crimson blazer in a game next season. In case you’re unaware of the storybehind the blazer, Crean received it as a gift from Fuzzy Zoeller, the professional golfer from Southern Indiana who is also a huge supporter of IU athletics. Anyway, it’s time to take the blazer to the next level, Coach. I’m thinking it would look good at next season’s Purdue game at Assembly Hall. Who’s with me?
Now, onto the task at hand. Following his appearance at Huber’s last Wednesday, Crean talked about each member of the incoming recruiting class. The video, courtesy of Rick Bozich, is below for your viewing pleasure:
I needed a few days to gather my thoughts on this topic, but since it seems be a frequent point of discussion in the comments, I figured it was worth addressing.
On paper, the signing of Guy-Marc Michel has left Indiana without any additional scholarships for the 2011 class. (Scholarship numbers are available here.) At this past weekend’s adidas May Classic in Bloomington, Herald-Times beat reporter Dustin Dopirak asked several 2011 recruits, including Aaron Thomas, Austin Etherington, Jeremiah Davis and Cody Zeller, for their thoughts on the scholarship crunch.
While I felt the question was fair, I’ve steered clear of asking recruits about it because my point of view is that it’s the job of the coaching staff to figure out how to best allocate scholarships. It’s safe to assume that if Zeller or Davis decide they want to play at IU, they won’t be paying their own way, right?
If you flash back to March of 2009, the scholarship numbers would have indicated that Indiana only had one scholarship to give for 2010. Malik Story and Nick Williams then transferred, freeing up two additional grants.
It’s not inconceivable a player could become homesick or unhappy with their role and leave the program. It happens every year at a lot of programs across the country. ESPN’s Outside the Lines ran a story last January where it looked at the roster turnover in college basketball with a specific focus on John Calipari and Kentucky. And the fact is scholarships are renewable each year.
“I have to sit here and look ahead into the future and figure out OK, how are we going to have to not do this again. That’s what’s hard because there’s a lot of good young players that we’re recruiting that we want and we’ve gotta make sure that we get those and we’ve gotta make sure we have the ability to sign them when they’re ready to come.”