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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  • bretts

    Quite frankly Dakich used those examples to degrade those athletes in an effort to cover himself for being a miserable coach. People often forget when we had these guys, we were winning. Are we winning now? No. Will we next year? Probably not. Why? Because Crean runs his players like a dog. Even Selby said yeah I liked Indiana but Crean’s practices are absurd. If these guys wanted to run all day they would join the cross country team, not the basketball team. There is a reason why we play horribly in the 2nd half, this is because before the game our team probably had 2 practices and ran suicides for an hour. If Crean wants to get good players, like winning teams do, he is going to need to realize this isn’t the marines. In addition, we have some great citizens on our team right now, but if you haven’t noticed we are terrible. It is embarrassing that this program has sunk so far.

  • Andrew

    I agree, Dirk. Wasn’t aware, however, that Armon was kicked off by Davis. It obviously seemed weird that he left–do you have any idea what he did? And I didn’t know Brandon McGee wasn’t at Auburn anymore…again, any idea why?

    Here’s my thing with Dakich, though. He is doing what he by far does best—talk. What I’ve never understood was this: If these players were so out-of-control, and he was so concerned about doing things the right way, the “IU” way (because no one understands the “culture” like him, remember?), why did he wait until AFTER the season to get rid of Ellis and Bassett? I’ll tell you why: Because just like Sampson, he would have sold his soul to win games. (The huge difference being, of course, that Dakich, at least to our knowledge, keeps his nose clean). To have any chance of keeping his dream job, he needed Bassett and Ellis. I realize the team was put together by Sampson, and I’m not saying it was Dakich’s fault that IU had a bunch of troublemakers, but waiting until the day before Crean got the job to clean house is disingenuous at best. A couple posters below seem to have some warm and fuzzy feelings for Dakich, which I find absurd. He constantly pontificates on some Indianapolis radio station, but he was more than willing to look the other way until the ’08 season was over. The funny part is, all it got him was a 3-4 record.

  • Dirk

    On his radio show today Dakich responded to the article by pointing out what happened to these guys. Deandre Thomas was thrown out of Robert Morris (the NAIA school in Chicago, not the D1 school). Jamarcus Ellis went to an NAIA school in Oklahoma City and was thrown out. Armon Basset was thrown off the UAB team by Mike Davis and went-with Dakich's help-to Ohio U where he has been suspended and recently sent to the locker room in the middle of the game. Brandon McGee went to Auburn and was thrown out- now he says he's going to UK, whatever. Let's not get too gushy about these guys. If Crawford was afraid of being disciplined for being late, good riddance.

  • jboozie

    Agreed. Good riddance. Crean and others surrounding the program knew they had more than a challenge ahead of themselves in rebuilding our tarnished program. It only took a few days on the job to realize that these players problems far overshadowed their abilities on the court. And as Dirk pointed out, time proved the decision to rid ourselves of these players to be wise. Just another nod to Crean for understanding where we stood, where we wanted to go, and the best strategy for getting us there. I happily watch our ups and our downs, week in and week out… KNOWING we are on the right track!

  • Hardwood83

    Dirk is right. Crawford MAY have been the only salvageable player of that whole mess, but maybe not, so best to just start over. As painful as it's been I don't regret any of those guys moving on.

  • DavidC

    I've watched a couple Xavier games this year and I'll freely admit I root for Jordan Crawford. I always liked him when he was at IU. He always had a smile on his face and seemed like a nice, easy going fellow who gave his all when he was at IU

    I certainly wish he was still with IU but even now that he isn't, I'll always wish him well.

  • superhoops

    So Crawford saw there were consequences for his actions and bolted? Maybe Xavier is coddling him and telling him everything will be ok. Do father figures really allow their kids to do whatever they want? I think not. So I don't get this whole father figure crap. Maybe brother figure, good buddy figure or any other figure that doesn't really care what happens to the kid, but not a father figure. Father figures are engaged and on top of grades and assist when needed. Father figures are engaged when a kid smokes dope and assists with correcting the issue. Father figures teach respect, honesty, discipline, hard work and work to develop a relationship with a kid. Sampson was in it for himself and the kids were simply a means to an end for him. If he truly cared, he would still be at IU and learned his lesson the first time he got caught cheating. Jordan could have been great at IU, but obviously didn't want to work for it if let stairs and rain scare him away.

  • CutterInChicago

    To largely agree with the posts thus far. Jordan was talented, that was clear and if we (a big IF… like totally improbable IF) we could have salvaged a solid team from Crawford, Bassett, Ellis, McGee, Thomas and Holman, then Crean would have had a nucleus of talent to build and recruit with. However, let's remember that Jordan was suspended three games during the 2007-2008 season – for violation of team rules (Bassett was also suspended if memory serves me correctly and maybe even Ellis during the season as well) and that Ellis and Bassett were kicked off the team before Crean arrived (who then upheld the dismissals) Thomas and McGee were gone for academic reasons and Holman threw a plant in what was described as an orchestrated move to leave IU. What we need to realize is that even if Sampson had not dialed his way out of Btown, the program was most likely on a crash-and-burn trajectory with the academic issues.

    Sorry Jordan, I loved your performance against Kentucky in 2007 and really wished it could have worked out but you were not going to last under new management.

  • cooper

    Sorry but if I was Crawford I'd be out the door too. why stay when you have no team and no shot of being a tourney team.

    It's understandable when the majority of your team has left, the interim coach you wanted Is gone and your coach is gone that you may want a little love. You have a wannabe in Dakich trying to hang on to IU and be the big man by talking on radio. He was a glorified substitute teacher and had no clue how to get those players tobplay for him None of the players liked him and he is a hack of a coach. Anyone with half a brain could see why you need to let the guys not kicked off know they are wanted Being two minutes late to class hardly necessitates steps in the rain

    never heard any issues with Crawford at XU and he is a good player. I hope he has a good career. It would have added a few wins if he was here. I hope Dakich soon gets a coaching job far away from IU

  • HoosierFromCT

    So Jordan got scared from running some stairs for not following the rules???? When a coach says to be at practice at 7, it usually means 6:45. Stop your bitching and just follow the rules. I can see why Sampson wanted these kids, because all they care about is themselves. There was an ESPN piece about all these guys and Armon was quoted saying…”Some of it is pure fabrication. All it takes is one person to start one rumor. One dude said I was playing Nintendo 64 while I was at IU and I was smoking with them. First of all nobody has a Nintendo 64 anymore. It's just funny”…. doesn't sound convincing, Armon. Way to back it up.

    And McGee was quoted saying after Gordon's drugs comments, “You look at our team, three guys form Chicago, Jordan from Detroit, we were all a bunch of kids from the inner-city, people not from the best cities,” said McGee. “He singled everyone out that wasn't from Carmel, Indiana. They just stereotyped it. It made everybody think it was true.” The fallout was fast. “Everyone felt betrayed. I thought (Eric) was a close friend. I thought if anything when they interviewed him he'd have our back,” said McGee. “He was stating them like they were facts. Most of the things he said weren't true. When he said we were losing because of drugs, does that mean we were winning in the beginning because of them, too?”
    Brandon, so you are admitting to doing drugs all year. So sorry that EJ, DJ, and the “kids from Carmel” didn't talk back to Dakich in the middle of games and walk out on practice. These kids are pure examples of “wasted talent”.

  • Kelin Blab

    Here is a sobering thought ……Davis, Sampson, Dakich, and Crean have all at one point suspended Armon Bassett or kicked him off the team. Including his current coach. These guys have all PROVEN at their other schools they were problems by getting dismissed from . Crawford has had some success at Xavier but he was literally running from 'hardwork'.

    At one point I wanted some of them to stay but now looking back I am glad Crean started over and a lot of us owe dakich an apology, as I blasted him when he started booting these guys off the team.

  • BaseballBuc

    Its amazing how all these players got kicked off their basketball teams after indiana. It just goes to show you how Crean is trying to change the atmosphere of iu bball by recruiting high quality guys. (Very similar to what the Colts do). I know a guy that went to an event where Crean spoke and he said his policy of missing class was: if you miss once, you get up at 5 or 6 in the morning and run, if you miss twice, you get up and the whole team runs with you, i'm guessing if you miss any after that, your future with iu is gonna be in question.

    Also, I want to bring up a point that was made on the Dan Dakich show about Tom Crean getting angry. Dakich said yesterday and he has said before that Crean is ALL over his players in practice as well as the locker room, so much that it is ugly. Dakich added that he comes off real positive on the sidelines but is all over his guys behind the scenes.

  • jacobdetroy

    I'll admit, at the end of the 08 season I wanted to kick Dakich in the face, but now, as story contiues to unfold it is clear that this particular team was a train wreck. Where was Sampson's leadership? Also, it makes me wonder how high talented recruits expect to be treated. It seems that the moment Dakich took over he tried to right the ship by reinstating some hard line discipline. If we can assume this is true I wonder how tense it must of been between Sampson and Dakich leading up to Kelvin's departure?

  • If Jordan Crawford couldn't take watching a teammate run steps for being late (I don't care if it's one second or a hour, late is late), then he obviously wanted to be coddled and is better off elsewhere. That. Is. All.

  • CutterInChicago

    So sayeth the Shepard. So sayeth the flock!

    I am trying to imagine how Crawford would have reacted to seeing a Knight “8-10 record!” workout…

  • jdelisle

    Kind of off topic, but I continue to come here because of the tone of the articles and comments. This place is unlike so many other sport message boards. I quickly tire of the personal attacks and general kindergarten intelligence shown other places (ahem…ESPN…ahem). Anyway, thanks for continuing to provide such a quality site. It's much appreciated. GO IU.

  • I have to admit, I was one of those that was criticizing Dakich at the time when those guys were kicked off the team. If I remember correctly, it was more because I felt those decisions should have been up to the new coach, not an interim one, than I approved of what the players were doing. Definitely did not approve of the players

    I totally missed that one…as evidenced by the actions of these guys at their next stops. Too bad though that CTC had to be left to pick up the pieces. I'm very glad Sampson and those players are gone, but man it would have been nice to have the next coach be able to field a competitive team.

  • because it's Indiana

    Why is this story so lovey-dovey towards Crawford? It got tough, he bailed. Stairs, Wow. Come on Osterman, are you going to send him a heart shaped box in two days? I have more respect for every single IU player on the roster now. They all knew it would be tough and they are gutting through it. Lets focus on those guys and not worry about Crawford anymore.

  • Dirk

    Dakich threw Basset and Ellis off the team because they didn't show up to do some discipline running after the season was over. It would be purely speculative that there was cause for Dakich to throw them off earlier.

  • Dirk

    Were winning then? Yes. Were we cheating then? Yes. Did we get caught? Yes. Was there accountability in the program? No.

  • Casey

    Thanks for your insightful comment… Do you happen to have a link for that Selby quote?

  • HAmmer

    Woosies stay away! If you cant cut it here youll never make it in the Pros–If that is your goal! Learn how to do it now and it will pay dividends down the road! I understand young people dont grasp this but it does make a difference! In life youll always have challenges, if you run now when challenged chances are youll never make it whatever your sights are on. Belly up and learn how to be successful now.

  • rricketts

    were talking three years ago. we need to be worring about this team

  • widget

    Hmm. I'm thinking that smooching players vs. building men is what got us into this to begin with.

  • Kelin Blab

    Not sure why I just watched an entire game with Kyrie Irving. It was like coming back from the bathroom at a club and watching some guy dance with your girlfriend and she acts like she doesn't know you…..geez he is good.


    I have been saying all along that I thought that was what he does. Embarrassing them before a national audience is not the right way to take care of those kind of things or the right thing to do IMO. This also should prove ( if true and I think Dakich probably knows if it is ) to some fans that they do not know what goes on when the cameras not around and what they percieve as to the way things are handled and how things are actually handled are two completely different things.

  • jwoody

    Dirk, I don't lump Crawford in with Armon, Ellis, etc. Those guys were kicked off the team. Crawford decided to transfer. I'm disappointed that he thought he couldn't handle the discipline/hard work. Yet, given what the program had gone through and the fact that he was a teenage kid at the time, I can forgive the decision. I would've liked to see him stick it out at IU. I can't say that about the other guys.

  • tberry

    If Selby wants to play somewhere that HE can decide what and how he will practice, then, I for one, hope he goes somewhere else.!!!

  • jboozie

    “We should not have to push you to work hard, you should work hard because you want to be a great player.” – Bob Knight

  • Dirk

    Crawford saw a teammate running for being late and rather than telling himself “I'm never going to be late,” he transferred. And he also was suspended for, rumor has it, smoking dope with Armon and Ellis in Chicago and Sampson staggered the suspensions to keep the team competitive. It's obvious he wasn't going to be buying into what Crean is selling so good riddance.

  • lug

    I think we play like crap in the second half because we are young and somewhat inexperienced. Not cause these student athletes practiced too hard. I am fine with a recruit to go somewhere else cause he thinks the practices are too hard. It is hard to play in pre-season tournaments, it is really hard to play in the Big 10 and it is almost impossible to play in the NBA…….So you are going to have to bust your hump if you want to be the man.