Notebook: Crean feeling ‘tremendous amount’ of responsibility for recent struggles

  • 11/05/2014 6:03 pm in

Late in Tom Crean’s lengthy press conference on early Wednesday afternoon, the Hoosiers head coach was asked to clarify a comment he made earlier in the press conference regarding how else he would have handled the events of last Friday night.

After more than 40 minutes of speaking on the team’s multiple offcourt issues, the coach beginning his seventh season at Indiana paused, holding back emotions, and gave an answer.

“If I could go back and do it again the other night, I would have had them in there until midnight, would have gotten some sleep and then would have come right back in (at 5 a.m.),” Crean said, pausing at times during the answer to contain himself. “And I would have never let them out of my sight. Not sure if that’s realistic, but that’s what I would have done. Could I do that every night? I don’t know, but that’s where we’re at.”

Just after Indiana’s practice ended on Friday afternoon — the night of Halloween — Crean spoke to his team for more than 20 minutes on what not to do that night. Hours later, he was in the emergency room at IU Health Bloomington Hospital with sophomore Devin Davis in serious condition and freshman Emmitt Holt scarred, rattled and cited by police.

During Wednesday’s press conference, Crean said he feels “a tremendous amount (of responsibility)” for what occurred that night — not because his players did not listen to him after practice but rather that he had to confront Davis’ parents in the hospital just after.

“My passion level for what my responsibilities are are as high as they can possibly be,” Crean said. “And when it doesn’t go right, it’s the responsibly that falls on my shoulders. Am I disappointed? There’s absolutely no question about that. Am I extremely disappointed for my family, for our coaches, for their families? No question about it.

“But when you do this, you feel the responsibility to the kids. You feel the responsibility to the parents.”

As under fire as Crean has been recently, though, he said on Wednesday he will continue to do everything he can to get the team’s decision-making to improve and to get his players’ immaturity to become maturity.

But he knows the thoughts of late Friday night and early Saturday morning won’t leave his head any time soon.

“You are always going to wonder what you could have done better, and that’s where the beat-up is because you constantly beat yourself up over that,” Crean said. “At the same time, you’ve got to keep communicating, you’ve got to keep going with it and you can’t stop. You’ve got to continue to have those people around you that can help you enlist that message the best way possible.”

Zeisloft, Crean discuss lack of leadership, maturity

Only having come on campus about four months ago, junior Illinois State transfer Nick Zeisloft spoke alone in front of the media on Wednesday, discussing the events of the past week and the team’s perceived lack of leadership.

He refused to say he was “embarrassed or mortified” by the recent events, but he did admit there needs to be change.

“We just need to grow up as men,” Zeisloft said. “Yes, being an IU basketball player you have all eyes on you. We understand that from the day we get in here. And we haven’t been doing a great job of that.”

During Crean’s press conference just prior, the Hoosiers coach openly said the team is “not doing a great job in leadership at all,” that “it’s a growth process and it’s certainly not growing fast enough.”

“It’s got to start at the beginning,” Crean said. “Who has the courage and the conviction of their own values that of their friendships to say, no, we’re not doing this, no we’re not going in there?”

Crean said he has seen a close bond from his players, but it’s come in the form of them being “buddies” instead of having true friendships. The difference, he said, is clear.

“At the end of the day, friendships and being buddies are on two different ends of the spectrum,” he said. “Because true friendships are like comrades. They’re not worried about the popularity of that friendship to get you to not be at the right place. The problem is in this day of age, and where we’re sitting right now, we have too many people that are in the same spot. And that’s what we’ve got to continue to outgrow.

“And do I feel a responsibility for that? Can’t tell you how much. I really can’t.”

But perhaps the recent events have struck a chord with the Hoosiers players, Zeisloft suggested. He said watching Davis in the hospital has impacted the team significantly.

“I can see each and every one of my teammates growing up from here on out,” he said, “and understanding that being here at IU, is bigger than each and every one of us.”

Suspensions include exhibitions because of ‘timing’

The reason Holt and sophomores Troy Williams and Stanford Robinson are suspended for four games — including exhibitions — are due to the timing of the suspensions, Crean said.

“It’s all about the timing of it, “Crean said. “If it were two weeks from now, it wouldn’t be for exhibition games.”

According to the IU student-athlete handbook, suspensions begin immediately from the time they are issued, and they include all games. Since Williams’ and Robinson’s suspensions were given due to events over the summer, and Holt’s from Friday night, they will start with the Northwood (Mich.) exhibition on Thursday.

Crean’s four-game suspension is just one more than the mandated three-game suspension. However, he also said there is ongoing internal discipline for both Williams and Robinson that started at the beginning of the school year.

First exhibition tomorrow against Northwood, tip at 7 p.m.

With Indiana’s first exhibition of the season on Thursday evening against Northwood, the Hoosiers will be without Robinson, Davis, Holt, Williams and freshmen Jeremiah April and Max Hoetzel.

Though the Hoosiers will be limited in personnel, Crean said the team is excited to play — even in spite of all of the off-court buzz surrounding the team at the moment.

“I’m excited about it, to play,” Crean said. “I know they are, too. But at the same time, it’s not like any of what we’re dealing with, with Devin or any of those things, are going to go away. But I think everybody will be excited to play basketball.”

Crean noted he does not expect his team — which will include sophomore Collin Hartman, who suffered an ACL injury in March — to be at its best on Thursday but also hopes his players can play the best they can against Northwood.

The Timberwolves have multiple Division I transfers on its squad, as well.

“They’re a talented group,” Zeisloft said. “They’re ready to come in here and put their best show towards us, and we’re going to do the same.”

Filed to:

  • INUnivHoosier

    What objectivity was displayed by saying that he should face a tougher suspension?

    Laying aside the completely ridiculous lack of consideration for the seriousness of his situation, your commentary lacked any objectivity.

    The only team rule he broke was underage drinking, which Holt broke, as well. Additionally, Holt was cited for another violation. Why, then, would Devin be punished more severely?

    Williams broke one rule, like Devin, so why should Devin be punished more severely than Williams?

    Furthermore, Robinson broke team rules two times (that we know of). Why, then, would Devin’s punishment be more severe than Robinson’s?

    The objective person would look at the facts of the situation and wonder why Davis would be suspended at all? He is going to miss more games than all of the other players combined. Objectively, additional punishment would be excessive and unnecessary.

  • dssnyder1

    From what I’ve read, CTC did talk to the team before the night of Devins accident. They chose not to listen and are now suffering the consequences. On another occasion, he brought in a player whose career was cut short by his drug addiction to talk to the team. Some players on this hand picked team have made the decision to “play” by their rules and not the ones implemented by their coach. Not much more to say than that

  • millzy32

    We all know in house punishment like running laps or getting ribbed by teammates or whatever doesn’t mean anything. The only thing that actually means anything is the loss of playing time and because IU was depleted on the front line Hanner was able to escape getting a much deserved suspension of many many games and I totally believe that. However, I would never say that because Hanner didn’t get a big suspension that it somehow led to what happened to Devin Davis. It just sounds like a freak accident from horseplay gone terribly wrong that would probably have happened anyway. After all he wasn’t the driver, the driver was basically sober at .025 and Devin was just getting a safe ride home. You’ll never stop college kids from drinking but you can try to stop the drinking and driving.

  • 1901Fan

    I’ve been listening to Tom Crean talk for seven years. He always seems to say the right things. How often are these things done? The amount of times I’ve heard “more off ball movement”, “more screening”, “less dribbling” and more fan-pleasing things from him are countless. I’ve also heard him preach countless times about honoring the tradition of Indiana. How much of that has actually happened? We’ve seen the same moronic offense for his entire tenure and at this point his players might as well be wiping their asses with the five banners since they clearly do not give a damn about what they mean. I know that none of you will agree and will come running to Crean’s defense, but I pay absolutely no attention to what the man says because frankly, it’s all BS.

  • david r

    If i’m Hulls, Watford, and Elston, I would wanna come back and kick some butts. I’ve been an IU fan for 40+ years and was never any prouder of a class than those guys. Then this bunch? They are clueless about the sacrifices and the dedication of the previous recent teams. As far as blaming Crean, I WILL NOT! He is nearly 50 years old and in that time has earned the respect of many people in the coaching and teaching professions. Coaching, like parenting, can be a tough gig.

  • david r

    someone drop u on your head as a baby?

  • DRT

    The guy’s at least 113 years old. Give him a break.

  • oldiugymnast

    Shouldn’t that be between coach and athletes? Seriously, having the entire fan base bashing kids isn’t exactly helpful – they obviously messed up, but as someone who coached for a long time at the very highest levels, when you chew a kids butt, they know it. I used to tell my kids parents that they were to NEVER chew out their kid for something in practice or during a meet – that was my job and after I get done chewing them out, they need to be supported. That is what should be happening here.

  • SilentBob

    I actually find it hilarious when people say Crean runs a bad offense. His 3 best teams in his career actually ranked top 5 nationally in offensive efficiency. Marquette 2002-2003 ranked number 1, 2011-2012 IU ranked number 5, and 2012-2013 was number 2. If you’re gonna say it was because of Wade or whatever just stop, Syracuse had Carmello that year and ranked 30th. I would compare the results to that of the triangle offense in the NBA. When you have the players to run it, it looks beautiful. When you don’t it looks terrible and ugly.

  • oldiugymnast

    You know his “moronic” offense is very similar to the teams that have cut down the nets for the past 10 years, right? Just because it isn’t always executed properly, doesn’t make it moronic. Are you another one of those pining away for Coach Knight’s antiquated offense?

  • TomJameson

    Again, a lot of assumption that the in-house punishment wass running laps and getting ribbed by teammates. lol I think I’ll assume that they had to go to some drug/alcohol classes like the courts require, curfews, more ‘independent’ practices, etc… NOT a teammate elbowing you in the ribs saying “yeah man, really on a toot that night, huh” LOL

  • TomJameson

    Can’t add too much to the answers you’ve received from your pretty absurd statement, but I do want to make a point. The object of punishment is to make a point or teach a lesson. Punishment isn’t doled out just to hurt somebody. So I would think that DD, as well as the entire team, has learned a very valuable lesson with the cost of that lesson being borne mostly by DD himself. Please, use a bit of decorum and refrain from talking about punishing DD. I believe he’s had enough.

  • SilentBob

    I’m sure most won’t read this long thing, but ya know I was actually in the same boat as a lot of you who didn’t think the suspensions were long enough until I discussed this issue with my father (an educator) the other night and he reminded me of an incident that took place in my childhood. When it comes to individuals there is a big difference between punishment and discipline as Crean said. Now while looking back at it you may say maybe it didn’t send the strongest message to the team, or in my case my siblings, but for that individual it might have worked best. It isn’t a flawless approach, but it works better than mere punishment.

    As a child I was a middle class kid attending a poverty stricken school. By the time kindergarten was over I had a pretty in depth knowledge of foul language. One night when I was 8 or so I didn’t get my way with my parents. Being the turd that I was I called them the “worst parents ever” and used some pretty foul words to go with it. Now I got a pretty big spanking from my father, but that didn’t move me much. What did move me was what happened the following weeks.

    I wasn’t grounded like most kids in the sense I didn’t have my room stripped of everything fun and wasn’t allowed to participate in my favorite sports. I did however have to go to my fathers work everyday after school. My father worked at a school for boys. Some of these boys were criminals, some had mental illnesses, and a lot came from abusive families. During that time not only did I see how big of a punk excessive use of foul language makes you look, but I was moved by a fourteen year old boy who asked my father why I had been there so often lately. When he heard, he laughed and told me a rather graphic story of how his parents treated him. He finished by telling me I should should pray day and night thanking God for the family I was blessed with.

    Ever since then I’ve been extremely grateful for that family. Of course I continued to get mad at them throughout my time growing up, but that feeling of gratefulness never waivered. Punishment is just that, discipline allows you to learn.

  • Gregory Spera

    That “long thing” was worth reading.

  • plane1972

    It ABSOLUTELY is between the coach and player, and I would not want or expect anyone inside the program to share that with fans. It was simply a curiosity question of what others thought the potential in-house punishments could include. I expected nothing more than complete conjecture.

  • dwdkc

    Yes, I am just assuming. But the evidence seems pretty strong to me and others that the Hanner incident was a missed opportunity. And we don’t know how Yogi’s Little 5 incident was dealt with, but as the leader of the team that was a big deal. I respect Crean a great deal and I hope you’re right.

  • dwdkc

    Yes it’s a tragedy, but I agree I don’t see it as reflective of a discipline problem. The failed drug tests, especially after Stan getting in trouble in April, was more disappointing from that standpoint.

  • dwdkc

    Ole Man, I thought you were going soft in a couple of recent posts, but you seem to have reclaimed your cranky mojo. Good to see 🙂

  • INUnivHoosier

    I’m not trying to be a downer or anything, but I was just thinking that this incident makes me very glad that we have this student-athlete bill of rights.

    I don’t know Devin’s full situation; I am very hopeful and optimistic about his return to game shape. However, in the event that he’s not able to return to the game, I feel better knowing that IU is going to give him the opportunity to finish his degree, even if he needs to leave school for a while to recover.

  • Aiken_Hoosier

    Thanks for sharing.

    Great read and definitely applicable to the current state of Indiana basketball.

  • Outoftheloop

    I would like to know “why” this post was removed two times?: “It just does not get any worse than this! I am not sure if Indiana Basketball for 2014-15 can survive this tragic accident! Many will say that “you can’t watch them all of the time”. That is actually NOT true. There are ONLY 13 kids to watch! With all of the basketball staff and athletic department staff, you actually CAN watch them all of the time that they are in school and in Bloomington: 1) put all 13 of them in nice rooms with 3 bedrooms for 3 kids, or 2 bedrooms for 2 kids, very close to Cook Hall, within walking distance; 2) have each player have to park his car in a secure parking lot, with all car keys held by a coach; 3) have each player have to report where they are going and check in by 11:30 PM every night to a coach; 4) assign one staff as a chaperon for every group of 2 or more who are going out; 5) arrange for rides for the players to and from events, classes, etc. Yes these are extreme measures. Yes the player’s freedom of action will be curtailed. But no mother or father will get the call that Devin’s parents got Saturday morning! Indiana was lucky that Yogi and Stan were not driving. We were lucky that no one was injured by Hanner’s DWI. We are now devastated by Devin’s injury and Emmitt’s arrest. Coach Crean needs to take drastic action, but it may be too little…too late!” The post in no way attacks any individual player; it does not deal in rumors; it does deal in well known facts; it presents a solution that could be implemented immediately. What is the rational for deleting it?

  • Ole Man

    LOL! Can’t completely lose touch.

  • ForeverIU

    What is there to defend Crean against here? Nonsense?

  • ForeverIU

    Well said. Alex & Co. are class acts. I can’t imagine what I would have done if I didn’t have ITH as an outlet, especially at times likes these.

  • ForeverIU



    Well laid out comment, especially the part about outsiders taking cheap shots. If I was an editor and had a writer do a column that was basically going off of a former student manager, that had an ax to grind with the head coach no less, I’d be pulling that writer into my office for a discussion about his sources and about just how much faith he should be putting into a student manager’s word that obviously had a bone to pick with the head coach. Pretty sad journalism practices IMHO.

  • ForeverIU

    I think Crean mentioned running up stairs. But I imagine that is more of a punishment for the person supervising them as they do it.

  • ForeverIU

    And with the social media … twitter, etc. the noise becomes way bigger than the original source.

  • SilentBob

    Probably because of the extreme nature and there isn’t much need for it. I’d compare that idea to communism. Great idea, but terrible in practice. I mean this sounds like a halfway house if not worse. College marks the first time for a lot of players where they are away from their parents. This would be like a dictatorship. I imagine the players would rebel, especially the ones who have done no wrong, and it would probably destroy any chance we had with a recruit. The kids need to learn to be responsible for themselves.


    The way I’m reading the score, as of right now, it’s Alex 69 & Guest (you) 0 and on the other one it’s Alex 28 & Guest 0…again. If you didn’t realize the absurdity of your comment before, that score on the upvotes should clue you in pretty quickly. Geeeeez

  • ForeverIU

    Loop these suggestions are preposterous, and probably illegal. It’s like George Orwell’s 1984. Big Brother Watching You. Plus, Emmitt wasn’t driving his own car if I remember correctly. If that’s what’s required of IU basketball, then to heck with basketball. Are you serious?

  • SilentBob

    Ha throwin’ Orwell out there. I haven’t read that one. I had to do a book report on Animal Farm in high school and pledged to never read him again lol. I mean phenomenal satire but…


    Since he mentioned BS, my response to his comment would be one that was rather popular in my younger days, “BS ? If we want any BS out of you we’ll tilt your head back and dip out”


    Good read and if you call that long I’m wondering what word you have used to describe some of mine. lol

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    Oh, push the envelope further . ankle bracelets that measure alcohol and drugs and location! Lmao.

  • Ole Man

    Thanks, Mike.

  • ForeverIU

    Game streaming at various btown bars watching at brothers lol.

  • ForeverIU

    Yogi Hanner alley oop … Sign of the times lol.

  • INUnivHoosier

    What if they smuggle drugs in like in prison. Better do cavity checks and put cameras in the bathroom in case they try to sneak a joint.

    In case you weren’t sure, that’s sarcasm. They are athletes, not prisoners.

  • Outoftheloop

    What jail did you graduate from? You got to have your car nearby, go out whenever and wherever you wanted with just a check in call, etc., plus a free college education! Nice place!

  • Outoftheloop

    A college coach has broad discretion in setting team rules. The only punishment is you don’t get to play. So it is all VERY legal!

  • INUnivHoosier

    What college did you go to where they thought it was okay to treat you like they are your probation officer because they are letting you go to school for free while they are making loads of money off of you?