Year in Review: The Best of 2008

  • 12/31/2008 12:31 pm in

With 2009 upon us, it’s time to look back on the year that was here at Inside the Hall. In no particular order, here are our favorite posts of 2008:

The Morning After: That’s that: “If you want to get angry, don’t blame the players, and don’t blame the administration. (At least not for this. Fall break — now that’s an issue to get mad about.) Blame Kelvin Sampson. He ruined everything, not only for himself, but the players he claimed to love, and for the university he devoted himself to. He had the balls to sit in the office of the winningest coach of all time — a coach with his own flaws, but with high standards, too — and merely pay lipservice to the notions many fans hold dear to their hearts. But he didn’t get it. It’s not just talk. It can’t be, not at IU.”

Katz and ESPN: Major violations at IU: “Whatever these “major” violations are — and by the time you read this, these may already be known since the University is making them public today — it’s not anywhere near a stretch for me to say that Sampson is likely done at IU. And Rick Greenspan might well be, too. Sampson isn’t even through his second year at the helm and already two incidents have come up; when Greenspan hired Sampson we were told any nonsense and he’d be shown the door.”

A matter of when, not if…: “The reality is, this situation is about to get very ugly in a hurry. There’s a game tonight at Assembly Hall and to my knowledge, there’s no press conference scheduled for this afternoon. And my guess is that in usual Sampson fashion, he won’t field questions regarding the NCAA allegations. Talk about a PR nightmare.”

The Morning After: Tom Crean: “It’s over. The speculation, the rumors, the top five lists for coaching candidates — it’s over. Tom Crean is IU’s next coach. And really, I think it’s a great fit. I was infatuated with Tony Bennett like the rest of you out there; I was hoping for a big splash name too. But Crean falls somewhere in the middle of that. He’s young at 42. (Who else is relived we didn’t land Lon Kruger or Mike Montgomery? Phew.) He’s got Big Ten experience under Tom Izzo at Michigan State and recruits Chicago and Indiana. He doesn’t have to get set up for recruiting in the Midwest; he’s been doing it for years.”

Eric Gordon: Perception vs. reality: “Is Gordon the best freshman in the Big Ten? Yes. Is he the best freshman in the country? Debatable. (I’d go with Michael Beasley.) Is he going to be a lottery pick? Most likely. Could he stand another year at IU, one in which a new coach will reign him in (something Sampson, and now Dakich, refuse to do), thus cutting down his turnovers and making him an overall more effective basketball player? Absolutely. But he’ll go pro. And I don’t blame him in the least.”

The Morning After: A brief time of sincerity: “Will I get sick of hearing, constantly, as we did last night, that IU is disciplined and focused and gutty and gritty and hard-working, but gosh, if only they weren’t barely a mid-major in the talent department, they’d be good? Shucks, this team is just bad! Yes, I will grow tired. Very. But instead of getting angry about every time, instead of getting annoyed, I’m just going to suck it up. I’m going to avoid cynicism. And I’m going to remember that the whole point of watching is never just about wins and losses, that the means are often as much fun as the end, that every day — even a day as mundane as going to work and coming home and watching college basketball — is a gift.”

Q & A: L. Jon Wertheim: “Wertheim: I had been told by multiple sources that Herbert took an active role in the hiring of Sampson. Let’s put it that way. I asked a variation of this question to Herbert via email and was not extended the courtesy of a response. I know that Bob Kravitz raised this issue as well but I thought the lack of accountability and candor was pretty galling. For the high-minded “light and truth” talk (at a publicly funded university, no less), you’d like to think the leaders would have been significantly more answerable to the students/constituents when scandal hit. As for Rick Greenspan this didn’t make the SI story, but I emailed him a question about Dr. Herbert and whether he felt betrayed or thrown under the proverbial bus. His response: “On these type of questions, I have and will continue to take the high road. I have seen the low road and there is too much traffic.”

Did that just happen? Yes, it did: “Nonetheless, it still hurts. Really bad. Credit goes to Minnesota for executing an improbable play. As far as our Hoosiers go, you can’t let someone catch a 75-foot pass, turn and hit a shot. It was amazing how clean of a look Hoffarber was able to come away with. And it’s just not acceptable to even put Hoffarber in position to make that shot. You have to either knock the ball down or get a hand in his face. Neither happened and well, you know the rest of the story.”

On live blogs, the Internet, and people who just don’t get it: “Look: No IU fan is running to Wake’s site being like “OH MY GOD I HAVE TO ONLY FOLLOW THEIR GAMETRACKER BECAUSE IPS IS THE RIGHTS HOLDER.” It’s their team, they’ll go to their site. And furthermore, if this is the case, why does IU and ESPN have a GameTracker on their site as well during the game? (I think CBS does, too.) Can someone explain that one to me? Now, I’m assuming it’s because of the fact that Korman and Dollinger were actually there, live, in person, blogging. But again, the blog/chat still continued. I still wrote, E still wrote, A still wrote, John Decker still wrote, Zach Osterman still wrote, Doug Wilson still wrote, Jared still wrote, a million of the commenters still wrote. Hell, Korman and Dollinger still wrote, just not as much, as they were allowed four or five postings in the second half.”

The Aftermath: Eric Gordon: “With that said, Gordon’s judgment (or lack thereof) when deciding if it was the time to attack or when it was time to spread the ball around was troublesome. At times, he looked like a player that still felt he was playing against high school talent. The reoccurring scenarios that stand out to me: A) Drive into the lane where there was no opening and turn it over or B) Drive all the way to the basket, throw up a wild shot and pray for a foul. Neither were advisable decisions, yet neither were corrected throughout the season. It happened time and time again.”

The Morning After: Illinois: “Chester Frazier, I truly love you. When you decided to shove Eric Gordon in the pre-game handshake — a fair-play gesture supposedly above the frivolous hatreds people bring to sports — you officially confirmed your d-bag status for life. What’s worse, you’re not even the kind of d-bag one can take seriously, or get mad at. You’re the type of d-bag that’s just so silly and ridiculous that all one has to do about you is laugh. You’re the guy at the HPER who wants to fight everybody. Yeah, Chester. You’re that guy. I hope you enjoy yourself; you’ll never not be that guy for the rest of your tiny little life. Too bad about the ankle, though.”

Inside the Hall turns one year young: “Lastly, we want to thank each and everyone of you. Without the comments, the visits, the feedback and the tips, we wouldn’t be nearly as enthused about the site, and what the future holds for it. To the commenters who have been here since the start, (hi Kelin and Jamie!) we thank you. To those that joined along the way and have made a community out of this place, we thank you.  We hope we’ve done a good job with year one; we look forward to year two.”

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