Talking about an old friend

  • 02/12/2010 12:12 pm in

It’s been nearly two full years since we last said goodbye to the mess begotten of Kelvin Sampson’s late-night departure in 2008. The faces have nearly faded, so much so that it’s almost easy to forget that at least some of them are still out there, trying to put an orange ball in a round iron hoop for someone’s enjoyment.

Enter Paul Daugherty of, who brings us this brief piece about Jordan Crawford finally settling in at Xavier. Crawford, you’ll recall, was essentially the last of Sampson’s one-time recruits to leave Indiana, heading east to play for Sean Miller.

Then Sean Miller left for Arizona.

Just like Kelvin Sampson had, albeit under different circumstances.

The article talks about the post-Sampson period briefly before delving into Crawford’s transition to Xavier. Both Crawford and his mother Sylvia (who is a publicist for the city of Detroit? Yeesh.) talk with Daugherty, making both good points:

“I wish all the grown people with the power would realize the situations they leave these young people in,” (Sylvia Crawford) said. “You trust they’re on top of things. You put a lot of trust in the university. It challenges my faith in them. Why is the kid the one punished?”

And bad:

Crawford said he knew it was time to leave when he saw one of the last Hoosiers holdovers, Brandon McGee, running stadium steps in the rain, as punishment for being late to study hall.”He was two or three minutes late,” Crawford said. “It was after the first day of summer classes. No homework. I was thinking, if they’re going to do him like that, they’re going to do me like that, too.”

If we’re being honest here, I’ve always had a little bit of a soft spot for most of the Sampson bunch, because frankly, so much of this stuff was way over their head. You’re in college — you shouldn’t have to sit down and make sense of the politicking and power struggles that go on in times like that. And none of them ever picked up a cell phone illegally. (Or at least not that we know of.)

Did they screw up? Of course. Did some of them, at least, need to leave, if for no other reason than because of academic issues? Yes, probably. But so often, it felt like these kids were villified for just wanting to play basketball for a man they considered a father figure, and feeling abandoned by a lot of different people, perhaps including Sampson, when he left.

Daugherty’s story — though it only sideswipes Crawford’s time at Indiana — reminds us that there were, and still are, real people behind the catastrophe that IU basketball became from mid-February to the end of April 2008. There was a lot of anger, bitterness and resentment, I know, but we certainly weren’t the only ones feeling it.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, it sounds like Crawford’s found a place to call home and finish out his college career. I certainly wish him nothing but the best.

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