New Herald-Times IU beat reporter Dustin Dopirak is wasting no time getting himself acclimated to the workings of Hoosier athletics. Dopirak was on hand for Wednesday night’s IU Tailgate Tour stop in Indianapolis with a pen and notepad in hand. Here are a couple of items Tom Crean addressed for IU fans (complete transcript here):
The eligibility of Maurice Creek and Bawa Muniru: “There’s some technicalities with it. We’re looking forward to them being cleared very soon. We don’t have any reason to believe that they won’t be. it’s just a matter of it getting done. The paperwork that goes into it, it’s all there. Hopefully we won’t have to revise their schedule at all. Right now I can’t tell you exactly what we’ll do there. We’re going to wait and hope we hear something by the end of this week or the latest hopefully by the beginning of next week, I’ll be disappointed if we don’t hear something by then, that they’ll be cleared and ready to go.”
On Bobby Knight’s induction to the Indiana Hall of Fame: “I was all for it. It’s just a matter of looking out and saying ‘Let’s get it done.’ I think it will be fantastic to be able to walk into that building and have people walk into that building and know that their coach is honored with all of the other greats at Indiana, because certainly it’s one thing to have him in the Naismith Hall of Fame, but with everything he did at Indiana, the shelf’s not full yet. Let’s get the shelf full and get him in there.”
Crean’s comments are a good indication that from the IU perspective, Creek and Muniru have completed the necessary requirements to be declared eligible by the NCAA. Unless there’s more to the story, it looks like all six freshmen will be ready to roll come October.
As far as the comments on Knight, both Crean and Fred Glass should be given kudos for attempting to bring him back to Bloomington. The gesture to induct Knight into the Hall of Fame and put on the full court press for his return is a brilliant move. If Knight shows up, many of the fans who are still angry that he’s gone (they still exist, believe it or not) are suddenly back on board. And if he doesn’t, the finger can no longer be pointed at the university for turning it’s shoulder and not acknowledging Knight’s accomplishments. Sounds like a win-win.
Our friend Derek Schultz, sports director at Indianapolis’ XL 950, passed along the audio from an interview with Tom Crean that aired Wednesday afternoon. The Indiana coach talks about the recently released schedule, Dick Vitale, Bawa Muniru/Maurice Creek and the Rick Pitino situation. Listen to the complete interview with Crean in the embedded audio player below:
With classes set to start at the end of the month, there are still two noticeable absences from IU’s 2009 recruiting class on campus: Maurice Creek and Bawa Muniru.
The details have been a little murky, but it’s believed Creek, due to bouncing around to several schools during his high school career, was finishing up course work this summer before being able to make the jump to college. Muniru similarly had work to do — or scores to acheive — before he could make the leap to college.
This is a couple of days old, but Tom Crean was on The Drive on JMV late last week and talked about a variety of topics including recruiting and reality television. You can listen to the complete podcast here. Here’s a transcript of some of the highlights from Crean’s appearance:
On the recruiting strategy for the next three classes:
“This year it’s really more of just kind of finding exactly what we need. Being picky. Which is what we’re trying to be because we know what positions we’d like to address right now. But really what’s so important is that we treat the next three classes really the same way. We’ve gotta treat the rising seniors, the rising juniors and the rising sophomores the same way. Because what happens, when you lose the ability to build on those classes, is there’s no question, I’ve said this before, we’ve been behind on the class of rising seniors because people have had so many years to dive in and get to know those guys and last year we had to put together a class for this coming season but we also had to put a team together for this past season. We don’t want to get caught behind as we continue to move forward. So what we’re trying to do is spend a lot of time with all three of those classes, really much the the same way.”
On the prospects for an IU basketball reality television show:
“We’re not going to do that. And I probably let that go a little too long out of friendship. That’s just not us, it’s really not and I don’t think our program needs that kind of stuff. There’s a lot more risk than there is reward to that and maybe it’s just my fear of what happens with reality television. Our biggest thing is, we’ve got a story here but we want our story to be about improvement, we want our story to be about leadership and teamwork and all of those that are going to go into making us successful. And I’m not sure it needs to be played out in a reality show.”
On his feelings about the incoming recruiting class:
“I’m extremely excited. Maurice Creek and Bawa Muniru are continuing to make strides in the areas that they have to make them in academically. So we feel like it’s just a matter of time there before they’re on campus. The four that are here, Jeremiah Rivers has had a very good summer. He was here for the first session taking summer classes and now he’s bouncing back and forth. He got to spend a week with his father in Orlando when he was with his summer league team. You can’t beat that. When you have someone that has that kind of opportunity to be around that kind of basketball, it’s great for you. I feel good about the progress we’re making, I feel good about the summer that we’re having. I think some of the players, from my understanding, have done a great job with the summer. I think some have done an average job with the summer. I think the whole message of, when we get on the court together, the individual competitors that are here that turn it into a real competition, those are the ones that are going to win out. So I’m anxious to see how that all turns out. I can’t wait to have a year after year when we have a full gamut of scholarships and we have a full gamut of competition.”
You are Tom Crean. (Not really, but for this exercise, you’ll be playing the part.) The first July evaluation period has come and gone. As of this writing, your lone commitment for the 2010 recruiting class is David Williams, a two-star wing from Jacksonville (FL). Hoosier Nation, as some like to call it, is clamoring for a big name commitment.
There are no shortage of targets on the radar for 2010: Kyrie Irving, Stacey Poole, Moses Morgan, Michael Cobbins, Cameron Wright, Terrence Jones, Vander Blue, Reggie Smith and others that will probably come to the surface as the summer moves along.
Keeping in mind the scholarship numbers, what is your ideal scenario for this class? Who is your top target? What position is your number one priority to improve? Do you sign as many players as you can and worry about scholarships for 2011 later? Or do you tread cautiously?
Questions, questions, questions. Your answers are due in the comments starting … now. Don’t be shy.
A who’s-who of college coaches arrived in Cincinnati Monday for the opening of the July evaluation period at the adidas It Takes 5ive Classic.
Among the coaches spotted: Tom Crean and assistants Tim Buckley and Bennie Seltzer; Louisville’s Rick Pitino, Walter McCarty and Steve Masiello; UCLA’s Ben Howland; Kentucky’s John Calipari; North Carolina’s Roy Williams; Ohio State’s Thad Matta; Minnesota’s Tubby Smith; Michigan’s John Beilein; Arizona’s Sean Miller; Memphis’s Josh Pastner; Notre Dame’s Mike Brey; Michigan State’s Tom Izzo; Maryland’s Gary Williams; West Virginia’s Bob Huggins and Georgetown’s John Thompson III.
Inside the Hall spent the day bouncing back and forth between the Fifth Third Center and the Campus Recreation Center and here are our observations:
+ The jury is still out on David Williams: The 6-7 lefty (pictured), IU’s lone commitment from the 2010 class, started the day slow as he failed to score in the Atlanta Celtics opening contest. Williams told us he wasn’t happy with his play in that game and looked much better in the afternoon in a 10-point effort. Offensively, Williams has a long way to go to become a scorer at the Big Ten level. He often looked out of rhythm offensively and needs to become more assertive. In July, the best players tend to stand out and make a name for themselves. Today, we simply didn’t see that from Williams.
+ Strong performances from Indiana Elite’s Matt Carlino, Cody Zeller and Marshall Plumlee: Carlino looked much more comfortable than he was in May and looked like a player that can make an impact at the next level. His court vision and ball handling were both excellent.
The annual Indiana-Kentucky game may be returning to its rightful location: a neutral site. According to comments made by UK coach John Calipari on Monday’s SEC teleconference, the UK coach and Tom Crean have discussed moving the rivalry game back to Louisville and Indianapolis.
The game was last played at a neutral site in 2005 at the RCA Dome, a game the Hoosiers won 79-53 behind 23 points from Marco Killingsworth.
In 2006, the game was moved to Rupp Arena because Freedom Hall was unavailable on the date agreed upon by IU, UK and CBS. Kentucky won in 2006 and 2008 at Rupp Arena and IU won in 2007 at Assembly Hall. This year’s game will be played in Bloomington.
If the game were moved to Louisville in 2010, both schools would likely want it to be played in the new downtown arena. The arena, which has yet to be named, is scheduled to open in November of 2010. Seating in the arena is expected to exceed 22,000, according to the Louisville Arena Authority.
One of the major storylines this summer besides recruiting is the eligibility status of incoming freshmen Maurice Creek and Bawa Muniru. Neither player reported to Bloomington for the second semester of summer school.
Creek is believed to be waiting for SAT scores and Muniru is finishing a summer course in Alabama. During today’s press conference, Tom Crean addressed the status of Creek, albeit briefly:
“I can’t tell you much and I’m not going to. We’re very on top of it. He’s very diligent with what he’s doing. We’re confident that everything is moving in the right direction for him. That’s really all there is to it with both of them.”
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out, but for now, the cause for concern is minor at best. Similar situations transpire each year across the country. The reality is that both players will qualify if the necessary criteria is met and Crean sounds confident that will be the case.