Indiana freshman guard Maurice Creek, who suffered a fractured left knee in Indiana’s 90-42 win over Bryant on December 28, continues to making progress in his rehabilitation and is ahead of schedule, according to Tom Crean.
After a caller requested an update on Creek during Crean’s Monday evening radio show with Don Fisher, the IU coach provided the following update:
“He’s been doing very well. He had a great first semester, I know that doesn’t have anything to do with his injury, but he’s continued to work very hard academically. He’s ahead of schedule. He’s still definitely a ways away from being on the court and being able to work out on the court in a hard fashion. He put up 205 six times the other day, which is real progress there. I think his body will continue to really grow. He’s on all of our trips. We have him doing different statistics for us during the games just trying to help him really learn the leadership that he’s gotta have to be successful moving forward.”
Creek, who was leading all freshmen nationally in scoring at the time of his injury, averaged 16.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.8 apg and 1.4 spg in 12 contests.
It’s an “old saying,” according to Tom Crean. I’ve never heard it, but then I’m not that old.
Whatever its age and origin, it hit close enough to home after the 78-46 loss to Wisconsin that Crean was willing to give up practice time to get his players into the film room, where they were required to critique their own performances, rather than hearing it from the coaching staff.
“Every once in awhile, you’ve got to give up the floor for the film room, and I thought that was yesterday,” Crean said Saturday afternoon inside the coaches’ locker room at Assembly Hall. “It’s one thing to see it on paper. It’s another thing to see it yourself and have to call it out in front of your teammates.”
So Crean gathered his charges in the the foyer of that same locker room where he met the media, and the Hoosiers graded themselves. Crean said he hopes the sense of accountability brought about by the exercise will continue to foster growing leadership within the program.
“The best thing that happens — this is hard for guys — is that they verbalize it before the coaches do,” Crean said. “But again, it’s all part of the progress that you have to make.”
That progress could be measured as soon as Sunday, when the Hoosiers travel to Iowa City to face a team that, like the Hoosiers, has just three Big Ten wins in 15 tries. But the tables have turned significantly since both teams met, something Crean and his team have not forgotten.
When Iowa made the trip to Bloomington, the Hoosiers were riding a two-game winning streak and finally appeared to be making the tangible progress so many fans had clamored for in Puerto Rico or against Loyola-Maryland. Then they ran into the Hawkeyes, who outhustled and outmuscled them at Assembly Hall, dealing the Hoosiers a 15-point loss. They have not won since.
Crean admitted Saturday that his team overlooked Iowa, (“I think they embraced success a little bit in those games”) one reason why he’s placing an emphasis on his players’ mentality in Iowa City.
“I’ll be very disappointed, OK, for them, for individuals that don’t come out tomorrow understanding that we better have some toughness and fight in this game,” Crean said.
ALTERNATE TITLE: The night Tom Crean’s frustration finally got the best of him.
Tom Crean had enough.
The turnovers. The poor defensive rotations. The other team carving up his squad like a Thanksgiving turkey. His Hoosiers lacking the effort, fire and resolve he demands.
So after a questionable foul call on Bobby Capobianco midway through the second half, Crean launched into a verbal attack on the ref who called said foul. He took a swig of his drink. The profanities continued to fly out of his mouth. He kept going. And going.
As Crean walked off the court to exit, he turned back around the free-throw line to bark some more, and assistant coach Tim Buckley had to restrain him. Just off the court and walking through the entranceway, Crean was maniacal, screaming and yanking his head from side to side. He popped into a room to the side of the corridor under the stands and kicked the door. And that same rage was still bouncing around his soul when the camera finally cut.
Who knows. They might have needed a straight jacket to contain him.
The hardest part about coaching Moses Abraham? Keeping him hydrated.
“He just doesn’t stop running,” Joe Boncore, Abraham’s guardian, told Inside the Hall on Monday night. Abraham, a 6-foot-9 forward from Progressive Christian in Temple Hills, Md., picked up an offer from Indiana last week, personally delivered by Tom Crean.
The Hoosiers joined an impressive list of suitors for the young man, who also has offers from, among others, Georgetown, Tennessee, Texas, UCLA, Connecticut and Kansas State.
Thus far, Boncore said, Abraham has made his greatest impact on the defensive end of the floor using a 7-foot-3 wingspan to block shots and rebound.
“Moses is a big eraser,” Boncore said. “He plays above the rim.”
Abraham, a Nigerian native who was studying to become a priest before he decided to focus on basketball full-time, possesses a high level of athleticism Boncore said Indiana could use on its front line.
But most of the talk surrounding Abraham focuses on his defensive ability, a big reason why Crean’s approach got Abraham’s attention.
“He was talking about Moses on the offensive end too,” Boncore said. “Coach Crean likes the way he always wants the ball.”
Abraham is working on his offensive game with a former trainer of Kevin Durant, also a D.C.-area product. While Boncore said Abraham would never be expected to score quite so prolifically as the former Texas All-American, he said Moses’ potential and work ethic create a high ceiling for the forward to reach.
(Editor’s Note: Video from Crean’s press conference discussing Michigan State is available after the jump.)
It’s not often that a coach is asked about recruiting the day prior to a game against a top 15 team, but that was the case earlier today when Tom Crean met with the media at Assembly Hall.
Terry Hutchens, the IU beat writer for the Indianapolis Star, asked the following question:
“In these next two classes, there’s lots of guards that have been committed, is there a need to really target some big men?”
And here, for those of you longing for a big man, was Crean’s answer:
“I think we are. Again, going back to trying to do this program, we had to get a team on the court. We had to fill scholarships. We didn’t apply for a year off. We didn’t apply for a sabbatical. So we had to get a team to be on the court which we had to use scholarships to do.”
“We get the class, we answer a lot of needs, we try to cover every position, knowing that we need to get size in that last class. This class, with the couple that we had, we knew we needed to improve the wing position.”
Speaking on this morning’s Big Ten Coaches teleconference, Indiana coach Tom Crean said it’s unlikely that sophomore guard Matt Roth, recovering from a broken fifth metatarsal in his right foot, will return this season:
“Matt Roth, I would doubt very much that we’re going to be able to use him this season in the sense of him being able to recover right now. It’s been a slow process. It was a process that was moving in a good direction, but at the same time, it’s maybe kind of run its course so I’m not sure we’re going to be able to use him.”
“I think it’s pretty probable it’s going to happen right now (a medical redshirt), because that was the plan all along if he couldn’t play. I would say that it’s right there. I don’t think at this point it looks like he’s going to be cleared to play, so we’re just going to leave it where it is. I’m just going based on what I know.”
For no reason in particular, there is an old Lincoln quote rolling around in my head today (Abraham, not continental). It comes from a message to Congress that was a precursor to the Emancipation Proclamation, when Lincoln penned the words “the dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present.”
Now, I’m still not entirely sure what that means, but it’s been rolling around in my head for the last few hours, so I just thought I’d get it out there.
Like most (if not all) of you, I watched at least some portion of the sound beating IU took at Wisconsin on Saturday. I was unable to watch from stem to stern, but I got the gist — not enough offense, not enough defense, not enough points, not enough hustle, not enough of anything for anyone to really find positives in anything but the final buzzer and those brief moments when it slipped from your mind that there was a game yesterday at all.
Now, it’s been suggested, in this space and in others, that I, specifically, am too easy on Tom Crean, too forgiving of the Hoosiers’ plethora of shortcomings as this season slowly turns the way of last.
But the truth is, folks, I understand. I really do. I understand how hard it is to watch this team play, and struggle as it does. There’s a standard Indiana fans expect, and it’s not being met.
And I know that for many of you, that standard isn’t measured solely with banners or wins-per-season averages, but simply with hard work, teamwork and commitment. The majority of you have (at least, I think you have) bought into what Tom Crean is selling — the rebuilding, baby steps approach that celebrates every move forward this team makes, and forgives most of its regressions.
But water will always boil when succumbing to intense heat, and so fans will become displeased when they see performances like the last three IU has managed. I’ve seen part or all of Northwestern, Ohio State and Wisconsin, and this time, I’ll agree with you, Hoosier Nation, your complaints are valid.
Thanks to our friends @ChrisKorman and @DustinDopirak over at the H-T/Hoosier Scoop, you can listen to the postgame comments of Tom Crean, Christian Watford, Daniel Moore, Verdell Jones and Jordan Hulls following yesterday’s loss at Wisconsin.