Reading between the lines

  • 09/23/2010 11:04 pm in

BLOOMINGTON — Tom Crean has started speaking in past tense. It’s reasoned, measured and cautious, sure, but when Crean preached the rebuilding gospel that has endeared him to IU fans over the past 2 1/2 years Thursday night at the IU Auditorium, he suddenly began referring to so many of the Hoosiers’ obstacles much the same way America is supposed to now refer to the recession.

“Every day it’s been about rebuilding or restoring, however you want to look at it, this great program back to those great heights,” Crean said.

By this point, there’s no need for me to rehash or you to relive what’s gone on since February of 2008. That would be wasted space. But as his team has taken various steps — and often stumbled between them — Crean has offered both rallying cries and sobering, realistic assessments of the Hoosiers trials, in measures almost equal.

Thursday night, he began to speak like a man who knows that, at some important levels, his team has turned a corner.

“People have gotten used to seeing Indiana being down. … Our opponents, they don’t want it to come back,” Crean said. “They like knocking Indiana. They like the 19 Fs and all the drug tests failed. They like that Indiana.”

Perhaps Crean’s point, albeit one made abstractly, is that “that Indiana” is finally becoming a thing of the past.

There’s significant reason for optimism in Bloomington this fall. The non-conference schedule, while respectable, is by no means unbearable, and it’s easy to envision Indiana entering Big Ten play with 10 wins already on its ledger. The roster turnover and inexperience that marked the last two seasons is significantly lessened by the return of all but three players from last year’s team, and both Crean and his charges have talked of a productive offseason in the weight room.

This isn’t a beating of the drum for dreams too lofty. The NCAA Tournament would be a long, long shot for this team, though some sort of postseason action really isn’t out of the question.

Sports types who prefer Bill Parcells are fond of his quote: “You are what your record says you are.” That’s another way of saying there are questions about this team (or any team) we won’t be able to answer without hard evidence, something only available against live competition.

But Tom Crean certainly can, at least to a more educated degree. No one would be more qualified to measure the improvement Indiana has made in the last two years not just because he is their coach, but because the Hoosiers have had to come such a long way. So when Crean begins referring to the problems of his program like as though they are passing — like some great fever finally beginning to break — Hoosier nation ought take notice.

This proverbial, arduous road Indiana has traveled is not yet run out. The Hoosiers will still struggle this year with mistakes of inexperience and mismatches of size and strength. Just because Indiana got stronger and faster in the offseason doesn’t mean Michigan State didn’t either, or Purdue, or Ohio State. When Crean preaches better decision-making, when he hammers home a need for more toughness on defense, and on the glass, he says these things not in the same philosophical way he once spoke about rebuilding a culture.

But as the problems, the questions and the answers get more specific, so too can the expectations. Without putting too much pressure on his team, without making bold statements or sounding like some sort of basketball Don Quixote, Crean has begun raising those expectations, slowly but surely, toward levels with which Indiana fans are far more familiar. And comfortable.

Filed to:

  • Yogi Kelin Zeller

    CHandler did ditch L’Ville and has some interest in KY. Not sure if KY has any bigs coming in next year, or should I say unpaid ones. Not sure how much IU is interested, I have heard some chirps about grades but he didn’t do what his teammates did and jump ship for prep school. I hope this is a moot point if Cody commits in the next 30-45 days

  • Outoftheloop

    There is no question that Chandler WANTS KY. But there is also NO QUESTION that he is very low on the KY shopping list. When you look at the Rivals list of top 50 recruits for 2011, there are probably 10 guys ranked higher who are either committed to KY now or have KY on their short list. The strategy is to wait until the spring signing period starts to sort itself out, talk to Cody and see if he wants another big guy in his class or more firepower in the 2012 class, and continue to recruit Chandler in a low profile manner to let him know that if KY does not work out, IU is interested. If Cody says no, then the need for Chandler is MUCH greater!

  • Yogi Kelin Zeller

    I am 99% sure of this information….Watching h.s. football highlights this morning, saw Gary Harris make a 1 handed TD catch like Randy Moss….he comes down in bounds and standing inches from him in IU gear…Tim Buckley.

    Are my eyes deceiving me on this?

  • Yogi Kelin Zeller

    Did you see Crean was at Dematha this week…Not for quinn cook though, two other 2012 kids.

  • Outoftheloop

    You are, thankfully, both totally wrong and uninformed. Also your math is weak: if IU places 11th in the Big 10 we would be in the bottom 0-9% of the Big 10, if 10th 9-18%, if 9th 18-27% of the Big 10. So to be in the bottom 15% of the Big 10 IU can finish no higher than 10th in the Big 10. Last year we were tied for 10th, so we were in the bottom 9-27% of the Big 10, the average would be 18%, and you would be wrong (i.e. IU would be better than the lower 15% of the Big 10)! As to the bottom 15 % of all Div I basketball teams-you are so far wrong as to be laughable (Pomery Rankings as only one example, IU 183 out of 347 = bottom 47%, interesting we finished above PSU in the Big 10, but they were ranked #97, and we tied with Iowa and they were ranked #173)!!! You can think that IU will be bad this year, that is pure opinion. But when you throw in numbers try to think it through or you appear ridiculous!

  • Outoftheloop

    If you read closely the investigators said that they could find NO documentation supporting the grade change from C to A, but could find NO documentation of impropriety. Translated, that means there was NO documentation at ALL! That means that to change a grade from C to A by any teacher for an athlete in Birmingham AL, you just need that teacher to say, verbally, with no record keeping whatsoever, that the grade change was justified. Now that system is fine if you are AL and Auburn in football and KY in basketball, but it is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE if you are the NCAA! If they let this go by they have Zero credibility! The NCAA must vacate all KY wins for 2009-10 and vacate their appearance in the NCAA-it would also help NCAA INTEGRITY if they made KY refund the money that they received for being in the NCAA Tournament. This will not effect Coach Cal’s style at all-BUT what a lifetime achievement award-the first Coach in College Basketball to have to vacate 100 wins DUE TO CHEATING!!

  • N71

    You’re right, quite a catch and quite the positioning for the IU staff. Harris looked like a giant, has he grown? How does Gary’s bb game differ from Ron and DSR? I know there’s a difference, just don’t understand the specifics.

  • HoosierNshaker

    Come to the tailgate fields now, sick setup for the game against Akron. Really need to get a “YOGI YOGI YOGI…TREY TREY TREY” chant going and show these guys some HOOSIER love.

    Time for ITH to get some ACTIVE RECRUITING in!!!

  • Yogi Kelin Zeller

    Harris is as good of an athlete as Patterson, both players can defend very well and play above the rim. Harris, just as DSR is super strong and has a college body now. He needs to develop his ball handling more but once he does that he is easily a top 10 prospect nationally. He is a game changer and at the 3 position would be a ‘zeller’ like get for IU.

  • Anonymous

    I truly can’t put this one on UK. It’s the high school. Of course, the questionable background never stops Criminalipari from chasing these guys…

  • Anonymous

    I agree. I don’t think they’ll do it, but I agree.

  • Anonymous

    Eloy Vargas, a juco guy (who played one year at Florida) who’s 6’10”, Kanter (if some moron at the NCAA office decides he’s eligible,) Terrence Jones, a 6’8″ PF (the other player they took who’d already committed to Washington,) this season and Anthony Davis (6’10 PF) & Kyle Wiltjer (6’9″ PF) next season.

  • Anonymous

    That reminded me of the old Kevin Mitchell one handed grab down the left field line (of course, Harris meant to do it; Mitch had no choice ’cause his big lazy fat ass was out of position.)

    And on another football note, Purdon’t got sMACked

  • Yogi Kelin Zeller

    Per Yogi….

    Chillin wit my bro @Maurice_Creek3

  • Anonymous

    nice – mo helping to bring in more recruits! don’t know him personally but he seems like a real cool and mature kid – awesome for IU to have such a great person to be a role model for the younger guys

  • Anonymous

    Did anyone else catch the video clip at the game last night for Hoosier Hysteria? The first half looked like footage from Azur’s video and even had the same music. I’m watching it and thinking ‘um I’ve seen this a few times’. The second half was cool with Vic and Will throwing it down at Cook Hall. Those guys are sure to the crowd pumped up… and there’s less than three weeks left!

  • Diesel

    YKZ – I saw that Quinn transferred to Oak Hill Academy

  • Anonymous

    RPI Rankings from March 14 2010:
    IU 222

    FL Gulf Coast 321
    Wright State 80
    Miss Valley St 325
    Evansville 250
    NC Central 347
    NWestern St 314
    Boston College 125
    Savannah State 316
    pUKe 2
    SIUE 322
    SC State 225
    Northern Iowa 17
    New Mexico 10/Colorado 120

    Big 10:
    PU 16
    Wisc 21
    OSU 22
    MSU 28
    Minn 62
    ILL 74
    NWestern 116
    Mich 131
    PSU 194
    Iowa 210

    Before Big 10 season starts:
    38% of games played against teams with a higher RPI ranking from last year
    53% of games played against teams with higher or similar RPI rankings from last year
    46% of games played against teams in bottom 15% of RPI rankings from last year.

    After Big 10 season starts:
    100% of games played against teams with a higher RPI ranking from last year
    0% of games played against teams in bottom 15% of RPI ” ” ” ”
    83% of games played against teams in the top 50%
    39% of games played against teams in the top 10%

    While not the most difficult schedule in the NCAA conference, it is one that makes sense given the place the team is in at this time. Pull your head out of your butt.

  • Anonymous

    Yogi just tweeting that him and Hanner just got through meeting with Crean AND his staff. While that does not guarantee a commitment from both or even one of them it doesn’t exactly mean that were are losing ground to anyone either. Any way you cut it this is a good sign cause you don’t meet with the entire staff and WITH another high profile recruit at the same time and something bad come out of it.

    Him also tweeting that he’s chillin with his “bro” Maurice Creek I think pretty much falls under the heading of positive things rather than the heading of cause for concern.

    Anyone else think it is just a coincidence that our recruiting has took a drastic uptick ever since a certain assistant coach was no longer in the recruiting picture ?

  • LTTelamon

    I don’t really think it’s related – it’s simply the fact that the program is more stable and appears to be headed in the right direction, and so recruits who might have been scared away before are now willing to listen.

  • ArtistFormerlyKnownAs_Aceman07

    Yeah, I was talking about this with the old man this weekend, and we agreed that this should and will be the first season where we can start to critique CTC as a coach as well as a motivator and recruiter. He CAN recruit. He CAN motivate fan bases. However, we don’t know yet whether or not he “CAN?” get the most out of his talent and maximum a team’s potential.

    We’ll find that out this year. Here’s the three most “key” players to this year’s team as we agreed on and why:

    1. Guy Marc-Michel – because IU desperately needs a big man that can just defend the lane and clog the middle and grab defensive rebounds. If he does nothing else this will double the teams potential. How many times in the past two years have no name big men from school like NWSU had career games because there was really nobody to defend them on the floor for IU.

    2. Jordan Hulls – because even if he isn’t he fastest point guard IU will have for the next couple years, we were murdered when teams started to press us full court last year so someone has to be counted on to get the ball to the right places and get it up the floor. IU also desperately needs a PG who can get the ball into scoring position once the offense does set up.

    3. Derek Elston – because IU needs some muscle in the game that is also a scoring threat so can he build on the progress he made the second half of next season.

    We agreed on these guys because it’s a no brainer that it’s key to the team that Mo Creek is healthy enough to play at a high level but if he is healthy he’s also a no brainer to lead the team in scoring, or at least be top two. And we also agreed that we can pretty much predict what CW is capable of and both hope he’s made the necessary gains in strength and conditioning to NOT wear out like he did last year. You couldn’t even see how good an athlete he is once the Big 10 season rolled around because he was spent.

    Sorry it’s a long post but we’re starting to get excited about this season and that definitely hasn’t been the attitude the past couple years.

  • ArtistFormerlyKnownAs_Aceman07

    You don’t have to know him personally to know that he idolizes CTC! He committed to IU without ever seeing the campus because he was going with CTC and he’s done nothing but work his *ss off and build IU up both on the court and with his recruiting help and actions!

    He’s the perfect teammate and player.

  • Yogi Kelin Zeller

    It would not surprise if Yogi AND Hanner commit to IU before Cody. I know Cody is the one many other recruits are waiting on, however…Yogi could be the one to convince Cody.

    2011 Cody and Austin
    2012 Yogi, Hanner, Jurkin, and Buss…..Think Hollowell is going to OSU, think Harris is coming to Indiana. The 2012 class is #1 in the nation with Harris easily

  • Anonymous

    TREY LYLES TO IU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (per his father, from a kyle neddenriep tweet)

  • HoosierDavey

    Unreal, isn’t it!?! Looking more and more like we are getting a generation of kids back to IU. Love the look of our future!

  • Anonymous

    Hot damn!

  • Anonymous

    “…but he wanted to be a Hoosier for several years” according to Lyles father. How great is that to hear?

  • JanisJ

    Kyle Neddenriep of the Indy Star says he committed to IU and coach Tom Crean on Sunday night while on an unofficial visit to the Bloomington campus. Lyles says Crean is a family coach who recruited his whole family. His Dad said Trey had wanted to commit after receiving an offer this summer, but he convinced him to hold off. Sunday his Dad was convinced committing now was the right decision. Woooohoooo!

    Purdue and Ohio State were also recruiting Lyles and he took an unofficial visit to Ohio State last weekend.

    Neddenriep has more on his blog on the Star.

  • Anonymous

    “He was just so adamant that it was here or North Carolina and he chose IU,” said Lyles
    Hmmm I wish someone else cough cough would make that decision!

  • Kevmiller1

    lets go yogi,hanner,zeller!!!!! seems like the cool thing to do lately is to commit to IU. Jump on the bandwagon baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Funny quote from CTC to top it all off:

    I love it

  • Anonymous

    Also nice to see that Trey had to convince his father that committing now was the right move. He already had to be talked out of committing during the summer. Seems to be no doubts that he will end up here.

  • Anonymous

    Funny how the solid 2014 class should help recruiting the 2012 and 2013 classes. I guess the dominoes are falling uphill.

  • Anonymous

    Hahahahahahahahaha I love this guy.

  • Anonymous

    Not to start the internet rumor machine, but i heard that Yogi is waiting for CZ – it’s a package deal wherever CZ goes Yogi will also be playing there. Let’s hope next weekend Hanner Perea gives his committment during the Michigan game.

    Hollowell to OSU is probably good for both – he doesn’t seem to have any passion for playing for IU and IMHO just wants a stepping stone to the NBA. We’re not it. And i don’t mean that in a bad way – CTC seems to have some of what RMK had in regards to graduating players and turning boys into men. There are plenty of IU guys who have careers in the NBA that didn’t see a whole lot of hardwood on the professional level – but their smarts (i.e. Keith Smart) are in demand “up” the ladder.

    Thanks Coach, for doing these guys right and laying a solid foundation for their futures in or out of the NBA.

  • Anonymous

    but that would only work if Cody chooses IU or Butler because Yogi doesn’t (at least according to Yahoo Sports,) have an association with UNC

  • Anonymous

    Well, then, it’s looking better and better for IU fans, isn’t it?!!! Hope we’re not putting the Korman curse on it. Chris, don’t write about any of this Yogi/CZ stuff until sometime in December, okay? jk;)