A new sense of direction for Indiana basketball

  • 04/02/2008 5:57 pm in

creaniu2.jpgThe last 48 hours have been nothing short of a whirlwind of emotions for fans of Indiana basketball.

Monday night, the feeling was that of doom and gloom as we learned interim head coach Dan Dakich had dismissed Jamarcus Ellis and Armon Bassett from the program and the coaching search appeared to be at a standstill.

Then yesterday, everything changed with early afternoon rumors that Indiana had its man, Marquette coach Tom Crean. When PostmanE, PostmanR and myself started to gameplan how we were going to cover the coaching search here on ITH, we decided to make a list of potential candidates and profile each of those guys. Ironically, the first name we profiled was Crean.

When I wrote my Crean profile, I felt like he was a great candidate, but I was not optimistic about our chances to pry him away from Marquette. Crean’s situation at Marquette was a very good one and he’d finally relieved himself of the knock that he couldn’t win in March without Dwyane Wade with an NCAA win over Kentucky just weeks ago. Why would he leave a comfortable situation for a program in turmoil?

Then, once Crean opened his presser today, I understood why, right from the man himself: It’s Indiana.

You see, this is a man that understands the tradition of basketball in this state. Just 30 minutes of listening to Crean speak gives you a great understanding of his opinion of the program and its place in the landscape of college basketball. As Crean said, there are certain jobs around the country that you don’t turn down. The position of head basketball coach at Indiana is one of them. The fan base and support is unparalleled. Basketball is the show in Indiana. And it always will be.

With that said, there’s a lot of work to be done to return IU to the glory it once enjoyed. Crean understands that and hopefully all of you do as well. The upcoming season is sure to have its challenges — mainly due to personnel or lack thereof — but you can be sure of one thing: the players you’ll see on the court will be proud to wear the Indiana uniform. It will be about Indiana, not the individual. I know many of you will probably ask my opinion about the possibility of Ellis and Bassett returning next season. Both players have a lot of work to do to earn their way back. It won’t be handed to them nor should it be. If they don’t wish to do the things necessary to return, good riddance.

A good sign of encouragement from the aftermath of today’s press conference were the quotes given by freshmen Jordan Crawford and Eli Holman to the media. Both seemed thrilled with Crean’s arrival and while they wouldn’t commit to returning, I would be surprised if you don’t see Crawford and Eli in the cream and crimson next fall. From all accounts, Matt Roth, Tom Pritchard and Derek Elston are all on board, which is nice to see.

So breathe a sigh of relief, Hoosier fans. We’ve got our man and the program is headed in the right direction. It was arguably the toughest season of basketball we’ve all had to endure and it’s nice to see a sunny day in what has been a dark couple of months.

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  • ChiCityHoosier

    Crean & Crimson, baby! For the glory of old IU …

    I'm pumped about this hire. He has the potential to blossom into one of the great basketball coaches in the land and it is an honor to be an alumnus of the institution he will be leading back to greatness. While a lot of analysis has been poured into the NCAA violations, the departure of players, etc., I think it is integral for those of us who truly bleed crimson to give Crean some space and support him as he takes on this challenge. While M. Davis may not have been the coach of the Hoosiers, I would hate to see fans criticize Crean out of B-Town in a redux of the Davis era. Crean is here to bring us all together once again – to unify us – and I say we give him and the team our full support. Go IU!

    Never daunted, we shall not falter …

  • jgongora86

    I say we hunt down and belittle the person who buys the domain name ” www. firetomcrean.com . This crap has to stop and we all have to be unified and help Crean as much as possible. The mail nailed this is Indiana. we live and die this stuff.

  • peaychris

    Crean has been a pleasant surprise to me in the first 48 and i LOVE IT!! i think the crean and crimson will give him a pass this year, but its nice to see someone who WANTS to be here isnt it?

  • hoosierfan27

    After the press conference it was clear that Tom Crean is the man to rejuvenate the program. It was so great to see his enthusiasm for the game and how proud he is too be coach of IU. He has the charisma and drive that the program needs to get back to an elite level. Today was the first day in months I have felt confident that the program was headed in the right direction. Thanks to Tom Crean for taking on this challenge.

  • Probably a Marquette fan.

  • tberry

    Very satisfied with Tom Crean and very relieved to be moving on to the future. I hope the players and recruits understand what an opportunity they are being offered.

  • Davis ran himself out of town…he was a terrible coach who burned bridges with the high school coaches in Indiana. I'm tired of hearing that the fans ran him out of town.

  • bpark83

    nicely put bigA…nicely put!

  • Kelin Blab

    I like Eli's response and he seems like a REALLY good kid, soft spoken and I can see some of DJ's rub off on him. THe also knows how to handle a interview….”no comment” his is a great hire although I am still not a big fan of Greeny, I have decided to hire 10 people to make all decisions for me.

    What I would like to see in the next week:
    1. A decision made on Armon and JE

    2. A coaching staff hired that includes Ray Mac

    3. An EJ and Crean meeting….not a decision….but a meeting. I dont' think Crean will try to hard sale him but he said he will tell him if he decides to stay on how he could help develope his game…..

    4. I would like to see the players who are staying make that call and get to work either way.

    5. Ebanks on campus with Holloway.

  • Dirk

    I was just watching Sam Smith on Comcast SportsNet's Chicago Tribune Live. He said worse things will come to the surface at IU than the published discipline issues. “They have a lot of problems down there, big probation problems. He could lose for four or five years big time… There's more to it than team discipline. You're going to find out that there's an insidious problem down there involving some illegal things going on.” Possibly more players being kicked off. “So there are big problems coming down there… he may be walking into a bad situation… I'm told this is illegal stuff that could be involved with law enforcement issues too.”

  • Kelin Blab

    I have read there are some uncommitted kids a 6'9 forward from NY and a 6'10 from MD that had Marquette on their list, just in case we lose some kids or as Crean said he doesn't want to in so many words just waste a scholly….because we have one.

  • Ryan_Btown

    Guys, I'm reading every article I can on Crean, soaking in everything people are saying, all of it…I have to say, this is gonna take time and I'm gonna give him time…But Tom Crean is my hero. I love this guy already.

  • Kelin Blab

    Sam Smith is interesting is known for the shocking. I would find it hard to believe that over an entire year given the problems IU has had, if there were illegal things going that the law wasn't involved.

    I do believe there is more to these stories than missed meetings which is why I would NOT be surprised if guys are dismissed. I have a bad feeling about Toine.

    I do believe KS overlooked a lot of stuff because of his own mess and desire to keep down the controversies. But he if Coach T has to “CREAN” house then get it done.

    give me


    and if they play hard I will be happy….

  • drode

    Right before we found out our guy was Crean didn't news come out of Chicago that they were going to go with Kruger? How reliable is this source?

  • Kelin Blab

    Yes it did…..

  • Dirk

    Sam Smith was the NBA beat writer for the Tribune for 20 years until this week and is generally regarded as one of the best in the business. He's definitely got the inside scoop in the NBA and pays attention to the college game only insofar as it relates to pro prospects. He knew about the conduct but didn't know about the dismissals.

    ESPN 1000 in Chicago reportedly reported the Kruger story which I do not believe Sam Smith would be involved with in any way. Chicago has a robust media. They even have two newspapers.

  • BrianK

    Hey guys. I missed the press conference and all the updates on ere I'm doing a training at work and can't get on during work for a few days. I was surprised at the contract but figured it would be pretty big. Congrats on the guess Easy lol. I'm glad IU dished out the money. It feels good to be excited again about IU basketball. I can see good days ahead. Next year may not be all that great unless we get our guys back including Eubanks but it'll be fun at least. I had U of L fans at work tell me they were glad we got him, because he's really good, but hate it because they loved playing against them and hating him. ITH guys you all have been awesome!!! You've had the best updates, stories and with the links you have etc this is the definitive site to be at to get the whole IU picture. I don't know what I would do without this site. Great Hire IU. I'd actually like to say thanks to the committee for getting a good one. It was a good shock of a different kind this time. I'm glad to be Crean n Crimson. GO IU!!!!!

  • Gordon is gone. What Crean has to say doesn't matter.

  • Kelin Blab

    I wonder..breifly….what the comments would be like today if Tom Crean was Mike Montgomory or Lon Kruger……

  • Sam Smith also has the credibility of Kelvin Sampson.

    While I think there are more things to be learned (like that Crawford and Bassett failed drug tests which led to their three-game suspensions earlier in the season), I doub that they're going to lose “four or five years” – that's ridiculous. He's struck out many times before on big stories.

  • southsidehitmen

    I hate to give the devil his due;

    But Greenspan and the pabst blue ribbon comitee did a great job on this one.

    Crean is clean, successful and young.

    I bash Greenspan often, but i'll give him some credit for this hire, nicely played.

  • JerryCT

    I disagree weakly but nevertheless disagree with your points as follows

    “What I would like to see in the next week:
    1. A decision made on Armon and JE”
    @ TC is the Player Development guy, he does not need a deadline and the players may need to take some serious steps which will take time

    “2. A coaching staff hired that includes Ray Mac”
    @ TC is the coach he hires who he wants, Ray Mac gets only an interview and he must impress the new sheriff

    “3. An EJ and Crean meeting….not a decision….but a meeting. I dont' think Crean will try to hard sale him but he said he will tell him if he decides to stay on how he could help develope his game…..”
    @ COuldn't agree more but only because its best for EJ

    “4. I would like to see the players who are staying make that call and get to work either way. “
    @ Amen

    5. Ebanks on campus with Holloway.
    @ Only if TC decides they fit otherwise adios

    I suspect you actually agree with my critique and you are just anxious to get the ball rolling

  • JerryCT

    I agree w you on MM but not whole heartedly on Kruger. Contrary to what was said on this site Kruger built the Fla program back from relative obscurity not DOnovan , and in fact Billy D almost hosed it.

    DOne great things everywhere but ATL and was nominated for COY this yr for losing 4 of 5 starters and making the NCAA. BAsed on everyone's previous gloom re AB and JE this feat is something everyone on this site would think is impossible for IU to do but quick to discredit Kruger.

    Essentially your comment is right but it contnues the uninformed drumbeat that Kruger is a bad coach.

  • JamesHardy

    In a unrelated story, several thousand men in the state of Indiana have suddenly disappeared. Wives claim the last time they were seen was roughly 6:30pm EDT on Tuesday. Many women are speculating it has something to do with the threat of NICE weather in the state, but others are claiming it has something to do with the continued demise of the Hoosier basketball program. Golf courses have not reported an influx of customers, so the men are not hitting the links. Bars are empty. Gentlemen's Clubs are going broke. Where did all the men go? No one knows…..

    ^switch cameras and anchor person^
    IU finally ended 6 weeks of speculation today as they hired former Stanford coach Mike Montgomery. Montgomery spent some time in the NBA coaching the……wait…..what's this….oh dear….how sad….This just in…Mike Montgomery fell over dead of OLD AGE at his IU press conference today. Looks like the Hoosiers need to get their Red Robin panel back together for another coaching search…..

  • JerryCT

    I am chagrined to agree.

  • JamesHardy

    To follow up on an earlier story….IU's red ribbon committee to find a new coach has led the panel out west where they ran into former Illinois coach Lou Henson. The panel offered Henson a 12 year deal worth a reported $36 million…..wait….what's this….UH OH….put this one under the “OOPS” column folks….It appears IU was looking for LON not LOU….OOPS!

  • JamesHardy

    aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh! It feels great to not feel suicidal anymore!! Not to mention, i don't feel like going postal on my students at school anymore! WHAT A GREAT DAY!

  • Kelin Blab


  • Kelin Blab

    There are a ton of things I like about this, primarily the guys who run it do a great job….but given my own self proclaimed brilliance, I do like the posters who can disagree without being an idiot about it….and there are some TRUE and KNOWLEDGEABLE IU fans on this site……….I have visited others and the traffic is sporactic but this one really shows the strength of the IU fan base.

    I am willing to say starting tomorrow, Big A, E, and R could begin looking at next years team and get consistant 30-50 post and we are 6 months away. Hell you could have a blog about IU changing uniforms and it would do a lot…..(no names on the back, but a nice grey, red, and crimson with a cursive Indiana on the front wouldn't be bad)

    solid solid site

  • Kelin Blab

    Yuk, I greeny compliment…..the poor guy at the presser looked relieved…

  • Dirk

    Smith has no credibility when it comes to proposing NBA mega-trades every week. And he may have been overstating things, but he may be on to something. The IDS reported the other night that Dakich told Greenspan he wanted to kick 4 players off the team. So maybe the administration decided no more dismissals were necessary. If so, then end story. But if two more get kicked off, it could take awhile to win.

  • Dirk

    I say keep the colors but have all the players wear red under armor tights and codpieces.

  • bz

    i am on record as saying that i really liked crean. i definitely had him in my top three. after listening to his press conference, i love him. he is enamored by the tradition that is hoosier basketball. he wants to unite the hoosier community. he knows that it might not happen overnight, but his team WILL play hard, WILL compete, and WILL regain the glory. it's hard not to smile!

    i actually wore my one of my iu t-shirts when jogging today. i haven't done that in a while. it's good to be a hoosier!

  • hoosiergal

    It feels really good to be a Hoosier every day but especially today!

  • Or Purdue.

  • You're not a Cubs fan, are you? 🙂

  • ALH_00

    He took IU to the NCAA finals…how that equates to “terrible”, I'll never understand. Davis may not have been right for IU (especially following RMK), but he certainly demands some respect for the development of those players and that team.

  • If you can tell me one player who actually got better while playing for Davis, I'll give you some street cred..

  • ALH_00

    Ditto guys!

  • ALH_00

    Tom Coverdale became the heart and soul of that team. Where was he before Davis came around? Jared Jeffries…he was pretty good to begin with…but we've seen what poor direction has on good players this year. Kyle Hornsby…he didn't always shoot lights out.

    Mike Davis took some average, and one above average player and made a darn good “team” out of them.

    Maybe he faultered at other times (Bracey Wright/Leach/Killingsworth come to mind), but you said “terrible” and I respectfully disagree.

  • JamesHardy

    Well…as a matter of fact…I am!

  • JamesHardy

    Well…as a matter of fact…I am!