Tom Crean Archive

Five story lines from the first July evaluation period

(Photo credit: Jamie Owens of J. Scott Sports)

With the first of two live evaluation periods in the books, Inside the Hall takes a look at five Indiana basketball recruiting story lines from the opening ten days of July recruiting:

— Tom Crean earns frequent flier miles: Even with nine verbal commitments lined up for the Hoosiers’ next three recruiting classes and the current No. 1 class nationally in 2012, Crean blazed a trail across the country in the first ten-day period. Confirmed stops included the adidas Invitational in Indianapolis, the NY2LA Sports Next Level Invitational in Mequon (WI), the LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, the Kentucky Hoopfest in Louisville, the Nike Peach Jam in North Augusta (SC), the adidas College Coaches Classic in Indianapolis, the NY2LA Sports Summer Jam in Mequon (WI), the Best Buy Summer Classic in Minneapolis and the Best of the Midwest in Indianapolis. Crean is often described as relentless on the recruiting trail and that was certainly the case as Indiana’s head coach worked from sun up until sun down scouting IU’s current commitments and top targets.

— Elite goes deep at adidas Invitational, Best Buy Classic: The Indiana Elite team that features Hanner Perea, Jeremy Hollowell and Yogi Ferrell was questioned by some for failing to win a tournament in the spring, but the trio of Indiana commits led Team Indiana into the semifinals of the loaded adidas event at North Central. After dropping their opening super pool contest to Shabazz Muhammad and Dream Vision, Elite bounced back to knock off the Andre Drummond-led Connecticut Basketball Club and the Atlanta Celtics. In tournament play, the hot hand of Hollowell (more on him in a bit) led Elite to three straight wins before falling 60-58 in the event’s semifinals on Saturday to New Heights. In Minneapolis at the Best Buy Classic, Elite advanced to the championship game and finished 5-1. For a group that’s playing together for the first time and possesses limited depth, Team Indiana’s play in the first evaluation period was impressive.

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Greg Graham praises Crean’s “guts” in hiring of Cheaney

Inside the Hall had the chance to catch up with former Hoosier and NBA guard Greg Graham, who is now a physical education teacher and the basketball coach at Warren Central, on Saturday at the USSFA High School Shootout.

The primary focus of our conversation was 2013 commitment Devin Davis Jr., but we did ask Graham about the recent hiring of his former Hoosier teammate, Calbert Cheaney, as Indiana’s director of basketball operations.

Here’s what Graham had to say:

What did you think about Calbert Cheaney going back to Indiana as director of basketball operations?

“I knew that was going to happen. It was just a matter of when. Cal’s been down there the last few seasons, golf outings and I know he has a great relationship with Crean. I think it’s good for Indiana basketball. This is something that’s been wanted for a long time. To finally have a coach to finally come in and have the guts to hire a Knight guy, that’s good. And I think that’s primarily where the separation with Hoosier nation is from. If you don’t have any former players down there who are involved with athletics, I mean, people around here grew up watching Knight and his players. I think you have to still keep that connection and that tradition going.”

Do you think that’s the biggest thing Crean has done, that the past two coaches didn’t do, is embrace the tradition?

“I think it is the number one thing. And people have been wanting that. Crean finally was brave enough and had enough confidence in himself to bring a player back. I mean, why not? He’s probably arguably the best player that the Big Ten has ever seen. I say that loosely, but he’s the all-time leading scorer (in the Big Ten). He’s a proven player, I think he can help with recruiting, I think he can help a lot of those guys develop their game.”

Video: Cheaney, Crean meet with the media

Indiana head coach Tom Crean and new Director of Basketball Operations Calbert Cheaney met with the media earlier today at Assembly Hall. Watch the entire press conference below, courtesy of IU Athletics:

A deeper look at ESPN’s A-HOPE investigation

ESPN.com, as you know by now, published a series of stories written by Mike Fish focusing on the Bloomington-based African Hoop Opportunities Providing an Education (A-HOPE) program and Indiana Elite today.

Their main piece focuses primarily on Mark Adams, who founded A-HOPE. He’s also a coach with Indiana Elite and is the father of Drew Adams, who was formerly the Director of Basketball Operations at Indiana.

A related story claims that 2012 La Porte La Lumiere commitment Hanner Perea received benefits that, according to ESPN, “appear to put Perea in violation of NCAA preferential treatment and extra benefits bylaws (12.1.2.1.6).”

After reading over both stories thoroughly, some thoughts follow in no particular order of importance:

— Perea, guardianship and benefits: Adams did not deny in e-mails to ESPN.com that he paid for airline tickets for Perea to visit his native country of Colombia as well as a $400 laptop that he shares with Obij Aget, another A-HOPE and Indiana Elite member that attends La Porte La Lumiere. The story also mentions that Perea received a used iPod.

Adams explains in an e-mail to ESPN:

“Hanner got here with one pair of old shoes and 2 to 3 changes of clothing!! I am sure there have been times with all the A-HOPE kids while at school either a roommate or friend that had a much better financial background would get something new and just give the old item to one of these kids. Hanner was here for 2 years with no cell phone, there were times that his family tried to call but couldn’t reach him so last August I bought him the cheapest cell phone my cell provider offered and he shares my minutes. I don’t really know where he got the iPod, I may have given him one of my kids’ old ones. You can get iPods for next to nothing anymore. The only two kids at La Lumiere [Perea’s current school] that didn’t have a laptop was Obij [7-foot Obij Aget from Sudan] and Hanner. A-HOPE bought the cheapest $400 laptop Best Buy offered for Obij and Hanner to share.”

Whether or not Perea faces eligibility issues as a result of the reported benefits could come down to one issue that is not made clear in the story: Is Adams the legal United States guardian for Perea?

Adams told ESPN that he is the legal guardian for two A-HOPE kids, but said it was not important to identify their names.

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Around the Hall: 2012 class ranked No. 1 by ESPN

Around the Hall is recommended reading from the Inside the Hall crew. So go ahead, get your read on.

It appears Tom Crean was asked about job security during an IU tailgate tour stop today in South Bend. Crean’s comment on what was likely a question on if he’s feeling any heat: “I would sure hope not. Based on what we walked into three years ago. I certainly don’t see it that way.” IU Athletics Director Fred Glass chimed in as well, “I get that we want to be back where we belong as basketball royalty. I think we have the absolute right guy to take us there.”

ESPN released an early look at the 2012 recruiting class rankings and Indiana took the top spot.

Jason King of Yahoo! Sports breaks down the top newcomers in the Big Ten and writes that no freshman in the country will be counted on more heavily than Cody Zeller.

Penn State is turning to Eddie Fogler to assist in finding a replacement for Ed DeChellis. East Carolina’s Jeff Lebo, Duquesne’s Ron Everhart, Drexel’s Bruiser Flint and Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Rob Jeter are potential candidates.

Michigan State guard and Indiana native Russell Byrd is having foot surgery again and will miss four months.

John Gasaway of Basketball Prospectus chimes in on the Big Ten’s proposal to increase monthly stipends to athletes to cover the full cost of attendance. Our old friend Eamonn Brennan also addressed the proposal over at the World Wide Leader.

The Big Ten fared the best of the six major conferences in the latest APR data released by the NCAA.

Indiana posts perfect score in updated APR report

The NCAA released updated Academic Progress Rate (APR) figures through the 2009-2010 academic year earlier today and Indiana’s four-year average in men’s basketball is now 929, which is four points above the minimum 925 required to avoid penalties.

The Hoosiers posted a perfect 1000 for the 2009-2010 academic year, which bolstered the four year average to 929.

“I want to congratulate Coach Tom Crean for providing the leadership necessary to raising the program’s standards with regard to the APR,” said IU Vice President and Director of Athletics Fred Glass.  “This is a tremendous step for the program and an accomplishment that all of Hoosier Nation should be proud of.”

In Tom Crean’s first season in Bloomington, Indiana received a 975, up from the 811 figure posted during Kelvin Sampson’s final season in 2007-2008.

Indiana voluntary gave up two scholarships in the summer of 2008 in anticipation of low APR numbers during the final season of Sampson’s tenure.

Here’s a look at IU’s APR numbers over the last seven years:

03-04 939 (Davis)
04-05  905 (Davis)
05-06  827 (Davis/Sampson)
06-07  932 (Sampson)
07-08  811 (Sampson/Crean)
08-09  975 (Crean)
09-10  1000 (Crean)

The complete APR database for all Division I schools can be accessed here.

Crean on Indiana’s latest signee, Remy Abell

Indiana coach Tom Crean took to Twitter this afternoon to offer his thoughts on the Hoosiers’ latest signee — Louisville Eastern guard Remy Abell.

Crean’s tweets, formatted here into one paragraph, are below:

“Excited that Remy Abell will be joining the program. He is a year-round winner who will bring a great deal of versatility to our program. He is a big guard who will have an immediate impact defensively with his ability to guard three positions. He can get to the rim on offense, knock down open shots and will really add to our transition game. I think the most impressive thing about him is his ability to make everyone around him better and he does not have to have the ball in his hands to be effective. In a lot of ways, he reminds me a lot of Jerel McNeal who we had at Marquette. We are very excited to have been able to get someone with ties to the So. Indiana/Louisville area where we have such a wonderful fan base.”

The Louisville native committed to Indiana back on April 27. He was selected for the Kentucky All-Star team and was named first team All-State by The Courier-Journal. He averaged 16 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.5 steals and had 25 blocked shots during his senior season at Eastern.

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