News and notes from Tom Crean’s radio show

  • 12/15/2015 9:16 am in

On Monday evening, Indiana coach Tom Crean spoke at his weekly radio show hosted by Don Fischer and looked back at IU’s wins over IPFW and McNeese State and also previewed Saturday’s game with Notre Dame, among several other topics. Nick Zeisloft also joined the show as the player guest for the final segment.

Below are news and notes from what the Hoosiers’ coach had to say:

· On the win over IPFW: “A few too many turnovers, but that’s going to happen when you try to turn your speed up a little bit. I thought we got more of that corrected on Saturday (in the win over McNeese State). But we have to get better at both ends of the court, constantly. And there’s probably very few teams that don’t, but we know we do. And we want to get better.”

· Crean noted that the objective coming out in the McNeese State game was to come out and play aggressively on defense without fouling. “We wanted to make sure we didn’t take any steps back on the defensive or offensive end. And we had some tremendous runs defensively and stuff that we can build confidence from.”

· Crean said that this time of year is very important for improvement. “Pretty soon here we’ll have a chance to spend a lot of time on basketball (after exams finish). Our teams have always gotten better at this point.”

· On Troy Williams being named CBS Sports national player of the week: “That’s a nice personal award for him. I didn’t realize that. To me, Troy’s development is the most important thing. That he just continue to grow as a player, he’s aggressive on the glass, that he continues to see things.”

· Crean was asked who some of his top students have been in his time at IU and he said the list of guys who haven’t been good would be much shorter than those who have been good in the classroom. He credited Marni Mooney for being instrumental in the program’s academic success.

· Crean said he isn’t sure that IU’s APR score will be 1,000 again the next time scores are announced because of some transfers the last year that will “probably dip into that.”

· When asked who practices shooting the most on this roster, Crean mentioned Zeisloft, James Blackmon Jr., Robert Johnson, Yogi Ferrell and Josh Newkirk. He said Collin Hartman and Max Bielfeldt “to a degree” and said that Williams “needs to be one that does more on his own.”

· On Newkirk: “He’s going to be so good for us when he’s eligible and healthy.” Newkirk is expected to be cleared to practice next month, according to Crean. Newkirk is continuing to recover from microfracture surgery.

· Crean mentioned that he believes Newkirk will make a difference when he’s able to begin practicing with the team. “He’s going to make a huge difference in our practices down the road and if we add anyone else down the road. Those kind of things will hopefully get better in January because of it.”

· Crean was asked about the advantages of having Johnson in the starting lineup. He said he believes the team has eight starters and the lineup is going to become matchup based as the season moves along. “When we’re playing against a really big team, I’m not sure we’re set to be in a three-guard lineup.”

· Crean says he isn’t sure that every player will go home for Christmas, but “everyone will have somewhere to go.”

· Crean noted that Thomas Bryant was more healthy in the McNeese State game. He said that he was more aggressive defensively. “Sometimes it’s baby steps, sometimes it’s big steps. He’s just scratching the surface.”

· Crean asked what the strangest items are he’s asked to autograph. Says he hasn’t been signing many autographs lately: “I really haven’t.” More on the autograph thing, Crean joked: “Sometimes people see me coming and they go the other way.”

· On Notre Dame: “They all move without the ball. They’re shooting the ball at a very high rate. Mike’s a great coach. They’re always hard to play because they rarely beat themselves and he’s going to switch defenses. Their movement without the ball is always extremely high level.” Crean noted that he believes it’s the 14th or 15th time that he’s coached against Brey.

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  • Young Hoosier

    Elijah Thomas is transferring from Texas A&M… we could use him.

  • CreamandCrimson

    “I haven’t been signing many autographs lately, when people see me coming, they go the other way”….it has to be incredibly awkward/difficult for a coach (or any very public figure) to feel that way in his state and place of employment. How do you deal with that on a daily basis? How do you effectively recruit with that kind of reception and reaction from your “fans”? (I’m thinking of the loaded 2017 and 2018 classes with guys like Wilkes, Scruggs and Langford…it would really stink to see those guys starring elsewhere)

    This is the first time I can remember him acknowledging the reactions of others so that’s interesting to read.

  • Hardwood83

    I assume the ‘add anyone else’ means Fuchs joining after the bowl game….but who knows?

  • Arch Puddington

    “They’re always hard to play because they rarely beat themselves and he’s going to switch defenses.”

    Said as though switching defenses is a virtue, by a coach whose defensive switches are so ridiculous as to have mystified the winningest coach in NCAA history.

    Mike Brey is, if anything, a worse defensive coach than CTC. Here are Notre Dame’s defensive rankings over the last five year, including this year: 133, 102, 204, 78, 52. During that same stretch, their offensive rankings have been 2, 2, 43, 22, 54.

    Just another indicator that coaching defense is a skill unto itself, and that not all coaches have it. Mike Brey, like CTC, has had good players and has produced some really good offenses. And like CTC, he consistently produces lousy defense. Either they can’t teach defense, or simply don’t give it the same priority in practice as offense. Either way, all the switching in the world won’t make up for it.

    It comes as no surprise that neither of these coaches has had much success in the NCAA tournament. In a combined 22 years at their current posts — 15 for Brey at ND, 7 for CTC at IU — they have a total for trips beyond the round of 32: three Sweet 16s and one Elite Eight. At the same time, they have nine years of no NCAA tournament at all, and another five years losing in the first round of the tournament. So they are more than 3 times as likely to completely flop as to make a serious run, and neither has anything other than a cinderella’s chance at a Final Four.

    People focus too much on turnovers. Even with our embarrassing rate of turnovers, we have the #4 offense in the country. The issue for this team, and indeed our program in general, is entirely about defense (well, recruiting is most imporant; gotta have the horses). As long as we are coached by someone who can’t or won’t produce consistently strong defenses, we will be a consistently underperforming team.

  • RDD#76

    Yes, if you don’t think our negative fan base doesn’t drive some instate players to go elsewhere you are kidding yourself. It’s like Troy he gets ripped here and CBS makes him player of the week?? Yes he turns it over to much but also look what he can do with the ball and some players don’t get 19 rebounds in a month. we also have a Top 10 offense support the team and remember their just kids not pros

  • Arch Puddington

    Whatever store of good will and optimism he once had is completely gone. Sad, but understandable. There just isn’t any reason to expect we will be a premier, nationally competitive program under this regime. The record and the product on the floor both speak for themselves. I’m not angry at him the way some people seem to be, but I certainly do not believe a return to prominence is possible at this point.

    Again, sad.

  • cooper

    CBS is drunk

  • MK

    Couldn’t agree more. Our fanbase is incredibly critical and volatile. We all want a winner, but sometimes we go a little over the edge. Going nuts isn’t going to bring us a winner any faster, we just look crazy.

  • Arch Puddington

    Our fan base is, if anything, far MORE supportive than most. Assembly Hall remained consistently packed and noisy through some truly terrible years, and IU fans are frequently the loudest and most numerous at tournament venues. The criticism to which you and RDD#76 are referring is common to ALL teams at this point. Try looking at the blogs for UCLA or even UNC at this point. It is just the nature of social media to give voice to disgruntled fans, and there is nothing different about IU fans in that regard than any others.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I 100% agree. I don’t understand why some insist on calling him names or ripping on mannerisms that he has toned down (and that never actually mattered in the first place) or why some seem to be downright outraged with Tom Crean and offended by his existence as the head coach. That being said, I completely understand the desire to move on, thank Tom Crean for his time and look to re-energize and unite the fan base behind a new head coach. I just thought it was interesting that Tom Crean actually acknowledged the reception he’s apparently getting in his day-to-day life in public. It’s the first time I’ve heard that happen.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Bingo. 99% of fan bases are pretty much the exact same. The 1% would be the fan bases that happened to win a title that season or possibly the season before. I don’t believe that “negative” fans are keeping in-state recruits from committing. Rather, I believe that in-state recruits have a pretty good idea about whether or not a coach is going to be around long-term and whether or not the local program they hear about everyday is one that is looked upon favorably (or not) by family and friends. That’s just my opinion and maybe some nastiness from IU fans is a reason for it…I just don’t think so.

  • Hardwood83

    Not much to argue with there since ultimately the results are what matter. I could live with terrible defense, if IU still won….but we all know that isn’t how it works.

  • MK

    I agree we are supportive then most. I also admit I am really only exposed to our fanbase so maybe you are right. Just seems there is a very loud, very negative portion of the fanbase that is caught up in the past successes of our program and the way in which they “believe” those successes were achieved.

    I also personally think there is a portion of the fanbase that doesn’t care for the more, let’s just call it, “urban” athlete as opposed to the homegrown buzzcut Indiana talent. But again, these are just my thoughts and all are allowed to disagree.

  • Breakfast at Bruce’s

    Our recruiting has been decent but not great, and I think certainly not up to the standard that IU deserves if indeed we are a program that should be back in national prominence. And player attrition has to be seen within the larger recruiting picture. If fan dissatisfaction is contributing to turning away recruits, then so be it; this is what we get for having an average coach who has had average defenses at best. I think the honorable thing for Crean to do would be to step down as coach and forego his buyout. He, after all, seems to hold himself to a very high ethical standard.

  • Gregory Spera

    If Tom Crean wants to be more popular, it’s pretty simple. He’s already a really nice guy. He runs a clean program. He’s a good recruiter. There is only one reason he’s not well thought of. It has nothing to do with his hair or the fit of his pants. There is only one reason I don’t love him to death. He needs to win more. ASAP.

  • Young Hoosier

    Maybe. Thomas would be eligible to play next year. Was a Top 50 recruit this past year. Big bodied center. We need those.

  • oldiugymnast

    I sure hope we don’t get a repeat of the fanbase behavior last year. The booing and especially the heckling of a high school student who seems to be a pretty great kid is just beyond the pale. While I agree with you that a large portion of the fanbase is supportive, there are more than a few that treat players badly in an overly personal and insulting way. Not to mention the handful of folks that frequently call student athletes “thugs” because – not sure because some of the athletes being called thugs were good students, seemingly good guys and sometimes injured. I agree – coach needs to win more to acheive greatness. But all of us, myself included, need to face the fact that it 1. isnt’ 1987, 81, 76 or really any year prior to 2000, 2. the game has changed and the parity in talent is much different than it was 20, 30, 40 years ago and 3. it is hard to win in the NCAA without doing what Syracuse, Kentucky, Louisville, Duke and so many other schools do to garner the best recruits – especially when IU has our self-imposed (and rightly so) expectation of not cheating, not buying girls for the players and not cheating academically. With all that said – there are a lot of games to play. The team seems to be making strides both sides of the ball. I am going to root for a victory Saturday and then the next game and then the next – and give these guys my support, even though they frustrate me at times.

  • Nope. People are now trying to have it both ways. The fans are either: a.) “the best fans ever,” OR, b.) “nothing different” from all other fans. It can’t be both at the same time, by definition.

    Funny how once the fans begin to get called out for their behavior, all of a sudden they’re compared to all the others in the country, so as not to upset the overreactionaries. It’s blatant apologetics, after the fact.

  • it’s also very possible that in-state recruits want to avoid people from the state altogether? It’s hardly inconceivable.

  • Bloomington is the sole oasis in “buzzcut Indiana”. Buzz-kill might be more accurate.

  • oldiugymnast

    Not disagreeing here – but I think it is not uncommon for teams that play a very fast offense to subsequently get beat on the other side of the ball, partly because of the speed of the game. This also goes for the somewhat embarrassing turnover rate. Both ND and IU can be sweet 16 teams (and lets face it, in a single elimination tournament, a nick, cut or separated shoulder can be the difference between Sweet 16 and national champ – so can the bracket draw). But with that all said – some of the defensive miscues are just laziness and lack of focus. Fix that and IU can be a really, really dangerous team. I think it may be a positive that they are rolling slowly into this season a little – what with the history of late season injuries and poor play.

  • Yeah, I have to admit it probably took some humility and courage to say that about his experiences of late. It’s respectable.

  • fourputtsforsnowman

    The issue for me isn’t just “poor defense.” I can acknowledge and live with a poor defender that tries to play defense, tries to improve. THAT’s what I HAVE NOT seen much of over the last couple years…the effort to play better defense. I think a lot of other fans see the same issue. THAT’S when the IU fan base becomes (justifiably) agitated.

  • fourputtsforsnowman

    I miss Bruce’s.

  • GL81

    More probable would be Goodluck Okonoboh from UNLV as we were one of his top choices before choosing UNLV.

  • Arch Puddington

    Sorry, Clyde, but you are conflating things to contest a point no one is making.

    For one thing, you are treating all fans as though they were the same. Some fans are loyal and supportive; others are hypercritical and obnoxious. IU is routinely among the top programs in the country for attendance — and was even during the REALLY bad years — and is notable for how well supported it is at away games. At the same time, social media has given a voice to the more critical fans, which is what RDD#76 was primarily responding to. Both things are true, and no one is apologizing for it before, during, or after the fact. Certainly I am not, and I have actually spent a good bit of time on this very website contesting the uglier comments and commenters. But they do exist, as do the more loyal fans both on ITH and the world at large.

    As Mike Wilbon likes to say, two things can be true at the same time.

  • CreamandCrimson

    “The sole oasis in “buzzcut Indiana””…I don’t even think that is close to accurate. There are plenty of communities within the metro-Indianapolis area that don’t fit the stereotype you are attaching to the rest of the state when you call Bloomington the “sole oasis”. That’s just my opinion but based on my experiences, I really don’t think you are portraying some places in this state accurately.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Jordan Fuchs is injured at the moment and was unavailable for the latter part of the football season so I’m not sure if basketball will even be an option for him.

  • Breakfast at Bruce’s

    I think a fan’s reminiscence about Bruce’s Cafe is enough to prove his/her fan credentials. Now I have to reconsider your many Yogi critiques, although maybe after the season is over and he has secured himself a nice job!

  • Ole Man

    They may be an anomaly, but last year’s Wisc team was one or two offensively and certainly within the top 50 defensively.
    Not arguing; but if you’re scoring quickly and a lot you should have plenty of time to get back on D.
    I don’t buy into the fast offensive teams get beat on the other side of the ball.
    To me that sounds like an excuse.

  • Ole Man

    He comes close.

  • Ole Man

    Why? Troy is probably our most gifted athlete.
    Yes, he turns the ball over……when he turns it over five times and doesn’t rebound and score, get back to me.
    He deserved that award.

  • Ole Man

    He wouldn’t be eligible until after Christmas.
    Also, he may be a “head case.”

  • Young Hoosier

    He’d be eligible next season. It isn’t like we have a standard on “head cases”

  • cooper

    He doesn’t play defense either.

  • inLinE6

    His shooting is dismal, if you look at his numbers. He wants to start and I’m not sure we can afford to have him start. From what I see, Bryant is unlikely to leave after this season. I don’t think we want to start a 4 who can’t shoot.

  • Ole Man

    Think you need the Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-bulance backed up to your door.

  • Ole Man

    He’d be eligible, if he enrolled at IU second semester, once the first semester “ends”. What don’t you understand about that.
    It’s what happened with Fischer, one example, when he transferred out of IU.

  • Young Hoosier

    Well 2nd semester of next year is next season… no?

  • It did? I was to several games during that span, didn’t looked packed to me .. at least not at the ones I was at..
    And what about the attendance at some of the games this year.. would that be categorized as “supportive”? Just askin’…

  • Breakfast at Bruce’s

    The good thing about awards is that they also make you accountable. This can only help his game, regardless of what we think of it.

  • Arch Puddington

    Come on, Ken, you can’t seriously be making the argument that because not every game is sellout IU fans are not among the most passionate in the country. We have finished in the top 20 for attendance every year since Assembly Hall opened, including the first three years of CTC’s time here when the team was awful and we faced the worst economy in 75 years. Most years we finish in the top 10, and everybody from CTC himself to the announcers who call our home games observes that it is among the loudest, most intense places in the country.

    I do think that things have begun to tip, and I would not be surprised to learn that attendance is down this year. But even if so, it has taken 20+ years of frustration an disappointment to get to this place. The last eight years in particular have seen some of the worst basketball in the history of the program, and the last 2+ seasons have really shown how broken down our whole program is. Whatever optimism we might have had during the Cody/Vic years has been replaced by the sense that we are not only not where we would like to be, but not even on the road to it. After nearly 40 years of supporting the team, I have passed on free tickets twice this year myself. I still post on ITH several times per week, so the passion is still there, but watching the games has become such an exercise in futility that I can’t always bring myself to do it.

  • TomJameson

    Exactly! He would basically miss the entire pre-season … the time when all the players are getting used to how things work, and how to work together on the court. That’s almost a third of the season, and very impactful. It’s easy to say “next season”, but that would be misleading.

  • Oh I agree with you we have a pretty passionate fan base.. I’m just saying that hasn’t translated to playing before a packed house in every one of the games during the down years.. And I will submit that during that timeframe the attendance was off enough, that we certainly weren’t in the top four or even five in the Big Ten at that time. I just saw a lot of empty seats. I also agree with you that apparently the ‘up’ years of Cody Zeller and Oladipo were evidently no portend of of what we could expect under Crean. Hey I was one of them. I thought for sure we were back to the glory years… But the defeat at the hands of Syracuse was more of a an insight as to the direction we were headed than I was willing to admit at the time. Disappointment, hey count me but I just am not impressed with what we’ve shown thus far this season at all. I really was disappointed after the last two years and thought it would all come together this year. BUT, right now, I don’t think so. I think we’ll struggle on the road during the B1G season and even struggle to win some that we should at home.. I hope I’m wrong. I didn’t ‘re-up’ my Forum membership. I was just real tired of all the name calling and slandering and just made up crap that spews forth from everyone on that site anymore. Everyone just throwing stuff out like it’s facts when there is nothing to support a given line of thought.
    I still post on here every once in a while, and still watch the games, but I am pretty disenchanted right now. Wonder what ever happened to MillaRed?

  • Craig Mitchell Ha’o.

    Aloha Friends. Was “Bruce’s Cafe” at the corner of Woodlawn and S.Atwater, on the Ground floor of a Apartment BLDG? There was a Fav 24 hr Diner/Hangout called “OUR PLACE” there and a Excellent Cook/Attendant named BRUCE. VERY Good Food..esp the Home Fries and Sausage Gravy/Bisquits! And a Great Jukebox..orig “Girl from Ipanema” and other Classics. LOT of Coffee drank there lol.. Great corner hangout! ?

    Per Crean and #iubb well the msg has been Sent and received. IU FANS expect IMPROVEMENT and Solid in game Coaching from here on out. I like Coach Crean personally on a lot of levels but we NEED to See Improving Defensive Effort, Better Blockouts and Rebounding and better ball control/less t.o’s. We NEED to see Tougher more Physical play and NOT Confusing ineffective Defensive schemes. I want to see Tough efficient Basketball THAT MAKES SENSE on Both ends and subs/Adjustments that also MAKES SENSE. ENOUGH HYPE Already. We need to SEE IT ON THE FLOOR in Games. GO IU!!