News and notes from Tom Crean’s radio show

  • 11/29/2016 7:56 am in

Inside IU basketball with Tom Crean was live on Monday evening from the Holiday Inn in Bloomington as the Hoosiers prepare for a rematch of last season’s Sweet Sixteen loss against North Carolina on Wednesday. The Hoosiers also face SIU Edwardsville and Southeast Missouri State this week on Friday and Sunday.

Below are news and notes from Crean’s comments on Monday evening:

· Crean said the 71-68 OT loss at Fort Wayne was comparable to losing a first-round NCAA tournament game. Crean mentioned coach Bob Knight’s philosophy that basketball is four parts mental to one part physical, and IU was on the wrong side of that on Tuesday night.

· The loss was a due to mental preparation, but Crean said other things contributed to the outcome: “We didn’t have the right mindset to go into the game attacking the right way. We never threw that knockout punch. We shot too many jump shots early, didn’t defend well enough with the ball screen, and communication wasn’t nearly as good at the beginning.”

· A positive from that game was Zach McRoberts. Crean said McRoberts stood out because he was the most aggressive and finished +15. Crean said: “Somebody’s going to dare him and not guard him and then he’s going to bury three in a row.” McRoberts started against Hope College (IU’s first exhibition) to help him realize he belongs here and he’s an important part of the team.

· Sunday night, IU defeated Mississippi Valley State 85-52 with another slow start for the Hoosiers. Crean said they weren’t used to having to make those kinds of plays under a zone pressure yet. Adjustments during halftime included a better job of attacking the pressure and working the ball in the middle.

· Crean said Thomas Bryant had back-to-back double-doubles last week and it shouldn’t be a surprise. The focus in film sessions has been working on doing more things through Bryant.

· Update on James Blackmon Jr. sitting out Sunday: “We worked with him and are just trying to get an idea of where he’s at. We’re going very slowly with that and he’s doing a lot of rehab. He’s very, very serious about not only getting better, but getting healthy. We’ll see how he feels tonight and tomorrow.”

· In regards to Johnny Jager, Crean said they’re spending time building his range and his dribble game. Part of his improvement will come when he realizes his capability, but “he fits right in,” Crean said. He added, it’s not fair to compare Jager to Jordan Hulls because Hulls had a sneaky quickness, while Jager brings more strength.

· Crean didn’t give any new updates concerning Hartman’s status but says: “He has more responsibilities inside the game. He’s truly evolving into what we wanted him to be, even before he got hurt. His voice, his presence, his experience, his understanding, is really strong and I trust him with a lot and I think his teammates do too.”

· On Troy Williams and Yogi Ferrell in the NBA: In a game where Williams started, he had a career-high 18 points and contested the game-tying three. In the post-game interview, the announcer said somewhere Tom Crean is smiling, “and he was absolutely right,” Crean said. As for Yogi, he’s currently the fifth leading scorer for a rookie. “They’re both there to stay, there’s no doubt about it.”

· The 1981 National Championship team will be reuniting in Bloomington on Wednesday night to be honored during halftime of the game. The ’81 team helped coach Knight capture his second NCAA title with a 63-50 victory against UNC.

· Crean says, “We’ve taken a lot from the championship teams and made it into poster boards for all the players when they walk through Cook Hall with different quotes of why they were successful or why other teams have been afraid to play them. Whether it was the ’76 team or the ’81 team, they found a way to win. They had star players that played unselfishly, and those teams really could defend.”

· Crean’s notes on how IU will match up: “We’ve got to be hitting on all cylinders. It all starts with transition defense, but it doesn’t end there. You’ve got to guard the shooting and I’d put their ability to rebound the ball with the best that we’ve seen coming here in my 9 years at Indiana.”

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  • Lance76

    I think that Zach McRoberts could be this years Colin Hartman. Smart,hustles and plays defense. Hope he gets the opportunity to score and prove some doubters out there wrong.

  • Hardwood83


  • SCHoosier

    Hope so..sure haven’t seen any evidence of his ability to “bury three in a row.” TC is right about one thing…Hoosiers don’t play transition defense well they will get run out of their own arena.

  • BL4IU

    Sounded pretty iffy on JBJ. Not good.

  • I actually listened to this last night. I was very unhappy with Crean’s basically dishonest answer to a caller’s question, asking for an update on Hartman. It was a very simple question and he proceeded to talk about anything and everything OTHER than his injury. Sorry, but I can’t stand sophistry, a form of dishonesty. If he doesn’t want to discuss it publicly, then he should say so. He said absolutely nothing about it, but pretended to be open about it. My take away was that Hartman is finished as an IU player and won’t be given a red shirt. Very very very very very disappointing.

    The same went for JBJ and his status for tomorrow’s game. Listening to the non-answer Crean gave makes me think he won’t be playing again. I am a little more understanding about this one, considering that there is a big game coming up and he doesn’t want to give the opposition any “unneeded” information. All fine and good, and completely different from the Hartman long-term situation.

    I am absolutely fed up with the dishonest use of language, basically lying, that is now so common in this country today and have zero tolerance for it anymore, from anyone. I’m sorry to say that that include my beloved Hoosiers. Crean needs to just stop this. He’s fooling nobody and makes himself look like a wannabe crook politician or corporate lawyer. If he doesn’t want to admit that Hartman will never play again, that’s fine. The least he could do is to simply say he won’t discuss it and leave it at that.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Classic “coach-speak”. When interviewed for the paper, my old high school coach would give nearly word-for-word the same cliché responses after every game. I completely agree with you Clyde and I’ll extend my dislike also to the use of “buzz words” and repetitive phrases we use in sports. Among my favorites is when a coach or player says they “overcame adversity”. If sports were easy everyone would do it, and in most games/sports there is an opponent who is against you (creating adversity). Ok, rant over!

  • HoosierStuckInKY

    Even IF (and that’s a big “if”) everyone knew Hartman would never play for IU again, he’ll never say that to the media. I don’t blame him. Can you imagine how that would make Hartman feel? Crushed. Crean’s loyalty lies with the players over the fans. I don’t blame him there either. I didn’t listen to the show, so I don’t know Crean’s tone. But I do know Crean is limited by law on what he can disclose regarding the specific injuries. Keep in mind the recovery time on knee injuries have a wide range. And the recovery also varies depending on the player, doctors, etc. Given all those variables, Crean isn’t going to say out loud to the media that he has basically given up on Hartman ever playing again. Especially since it’s only been 2 months since the surgery. A lot can between now and the end of the season, especially when you’re talking next year’s roster. We’ve seen it all before. After watching Crean tear up (at the winery?) discussing Hartman’s injury, I don’t think he’s going to screw Hartman over or anything. If he plays again or not, I think it’ll be a mutual decision between Crean and Hartman.

    I’m not a fan of the coachspeak that you’re referring to either. But that’s basically the way most coaches (except for Popovich) speak. Don’t let it get to you.

  • Bill Graham

    A couple questions:

    1. Does anybody think we have a reasonable chance against UNC without James?
    2. Is McRoberts presence in the lineup here to stay or is this a result of O.G. being sick, Collin being injured, and James being out?
    3. Should we come out in a zone right off the bat against NC? Berry, Jackson, and Britt are decent shooters but none of them are Paige-esc.
    4. The key to beating N.C. is ______?
    5. The last true PG we recruited was Yogi. Every other guard has been a combo guard. Does this years team prove that we need to start recruiting at least one true PG every couple years?
    6. Does the lack of securing guys like Bridges, Brown, Alkins, and Pinson prevent this team from being a title contender? Maybe this question is a bit ridiculous now but its something that needs to be evaluated eventually after losing guys like Porter, Wilkes, Jackson, Scruggs, Bridges, Brown, Richardson, Alkins, Williams, and the list continues.

  • Bill Graham

    Agreed. People get tired of the Knight comparisons and maybe we should bury them…but at the same time. So many of us evolved as Hoosier fans because of Bobby’s qualities. His ridiculous expectations, his ability to create leaders, and his bluntness. Its okay to be blunt sometimes. Look at the election. Bluntness was used as a tool for victory (I’m not expressing any views either way – I’m simply commenting on the method). People are either offended by bluntness or they respect it. Simple as that. CTC needs to learn that questions are asked because people want answers. Sometimes he should just be blunt and give them an answer.

    EX: “Collin is done. He’s going to graduate. He was an excellent leader and still is for this team. This is his and our decision.”


    “We don’t know if he’ll be healthy by conference play or not so we haven’t made a decision.”


    “Collin is out for the whole year. He can’t play. He’s injured. He is still evaluating graduate school and redshirt options.”

    Sure we may not have liked any of those responses but sometimes the truth is more valuable than a politically correct answer.

  • Bill Graham

    He’s out. I highly doubt he plays. We’ll struggle without him. Its hard to just replace 17+ points per game.

  • I think we’ll need CuJo to step up big-time. Can a freshman step onto a national stage again and shine like he did against KU? If he can, and then if OG takes the next step, then I think we can win without JBJ. If not, then I’m not feeling so great about the game.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    great questions BeeGee, surprised nobody’s taken a stab at answering yet. allow me to go first…
    1. hard to tell which team will show up, but my answer to your questions is yes. i think they’ll play with a big ol chip on their shoulders, and they’re tough to beat at home
    2. i think it depends on how quickly FMcS and D’RD progress, because it’s hard to deny both have a much bigger upside. regardless, i still think he’ll play an important role
    3. i’m not smart enough to answer this one, so i’ll use it to segue to the next question…
    4. DEFENSE! i’ll guarantee a win if we keep em under 80
    5. this team’s missing a definitive leader, PG’s are typically in the leadership role, therefore yes i think we need to focus on recruiting solid PG’s. easier said than done these days i guess, which segues to the next question
    6. yes, i think CTC has to make up ground on the elite recruiting teams. and i’ve said this a billion and one times, i think it starts with securing his back yard. CTC needs to build a proverbial wall (or maybe deploy a massive fleet of drones) around the entire state.

  • Hoosier Brews62

    40 mins of Hard Nosed Defense and efficient free throw shooting can and should win the this game for IU. Go Hoosiers!!

  • BigBoi

    Are we all convinced that JBJ actually had an injury that wouldn’t allow him to play, or just that he got benched for being awful in the IPFW game? I obviously hope it’s the latter, we definitely need him, but it would also be refreshing to know that CTC is holding players accountable for poor play, which has been a criticism of him in the past. GO HOOSIERS!

  • Ok, fine. But if his loyalty was really with the players, then why not make a red shirt an option? Why even try to hedge on that one? Or just say he’s not going to talk about it at this point in the season, etc. I just don’t like how this one is going. The coach can say he simply won’t discuss it, for any of the reasons you mentioned and leave it at that. He talked for a minute or two in answer to a question specifically on Hartman’s recovery and said zero words that actually pertained to the question. I just don’t like it. Not at all.

    If it’s not something he wants to talk about, then he should just say so and I’ll have no problem with that. Seems to me like he’s buying time and hedging his bets (i.e., next year’s recruits and scholarships), suggesting something other than perfect loyalty to the players. Sorry to go off on this one, but there was something in it that just really made my ears perk up. And not in a good way.

  • Thanks, that’s basically my thoughts as well. As I mentioned elsewhere, I wouldn’t even mind if he simply said they’re not going to discuss it right now. I don’t like the pretense of the non-answer, where he pretends that he’s open to discussing the thing, but does the exact opposite. First, it’s dishonest. Secondly, it disrespects the caller (and audience). Third, it only adds to speculation and nonsense instead of batting it down. I’m not even saying they need to be thinking about possible options right now for him and am perfectly satisfied if they won’t talk about it. But if that’s the case, just say so. I really hope I’m wrong on this one and reading too much into it. I heard what I heard and didn’t like it. And not for my own sake was I displeased.

  • Paige wasn’t even a really great shooter last year. He had a great tournament, however. Go figure.

  • That’s pretty interesting and I hadn’t even thought of that, per JBJ. Hmmm.

  • Bill Graham

    Haha I like the drone idea. It just used to be that in-state kids dreamt of wearing the candy stripes. I wonder where/how that all changed.

  • Bill Graham

    Agreed. Assembly Hall should help us a bit. Its just nerve racking missing our only go to guy if it comes down to the final minute or two. Hopefully we can feed the beast or experience some high flying put backs by OG.

  • Fifer39

    I commented much the same when CH first got injured and TC was evasive around the red shirt issue saying he was a senior and he didn’t know what he’d want to do or something which I really didn’t understand.

    Whatever his reasons are, I would hope that he is really acting in the best interests of his players and everything about TC suggests that he would. If, however, he is hedging his bets then I at least hope he’s had an honest conversation with CH about – I’d be really surprised if he hadn’t.

  • Fifer39

    3. Don’t mind, but don’t be starting switching mid-possession again!

  • HoosierStuckInKY

    Scholarship numbers aside, is the red shirt for Colin no longer an option? I haven’t heard anything about that…Not scrutinizing your comment, I seriously just don’t know. I agree with just saying that he’s not going to talk about it. Although, us hardcore fans would probably overreact and read too much into that too. There’s no 100% right way to handle the situation. I feel bad for Colin, even if he does somehow play next year. I am glad to hear he’s active while on the bench though. Perhaps coaching will be in his future someday?

    As much as recruiting, transfers, etc. has changed in the past decade, I would hedge my bets every chance I could.

    Watching the pre- and post-game pressers, I do think Crean goes on tangents while answering questions. Sometimes to the point he doesn’t remember to address the original question. Maybe he’s dodging the question, maybe he just has so much going on between his ears he loses focus. Neither would surprise me. He does have a way with words. He has the ability to motivate me and confuse me, sometimes simultaneously lol.

  • Fifer39

    Not sure when JBJ became solely accountable for the IPFW loss?

  • I really hope so. Despite the early setback, this game should still be an open question and entirely winnable. I expected a good one with Kansas and a more likely win with UNC. If they could do it on a neutral court against a comparably good team, then this one is definitely not out of reach. Maybe JBJ plays? It’s also possible the freshmen have great games again. Despite it still being so early in the season, I personally am still waiting for a breakout game for Green. Seems like a great stage for that tomorrow night, especially if we’re short one guard. (it will happen eventually, so why not against #3 in the country?) Davis is going to have to have a good game, either way, and Jones has already proven himself to some degree. I’d also like to think that RJ has a very big chip on his shoulder, considering he had to watch from the sidelines the last time around. This one is going to be won on the inside, so our sophomores need to do what they do. Yes, I think we have a pretty good shot at this one.

  • Seriously. About the only player who wouldn’t be benched due to his performance against IPFW is McRoberts.

  • I seriously doubt it. As mentioned above, JBJ doesn’t really stand out in terms of poor performance against IPFW. What I actually find interesting about the whole thing is the idea that he was injured against IPFW and that impacted his play late in the game.

  • Fifer39

    I think TB is going to have his 16/17 breakout game having stewed on the sweet 16 disappointment all summer!

  • TB is going to be a factor in this game. He’ll be emotionally invested in winning–I just hope it’s not _too_ emotionally invested. He needs to play hard and finish strong, but not let his emotions lead to overplaying.

  • Michael McColly

    Well, I won’t comment on the election as an example of the effectiveness of either leadership or communication skills. I savor this site and community of IU fans as I share the ups and downs with you all and those who do such a good job in COMMUNICATING at Inside The Hall. I’m a fan that grew up in this state, had a father who was a coach and played myself in HS and for those reasons am a fan of all Hoosier Basketball across the state. And like many of you, it burns me that IU misses out again and again with players from Indiana. But it’s not 1981 or 1993 or 2001, and players go wherever they want. No dis on Knight, but he hardly is why this state has the passion it does for basketball. Indiana made Bob Knight, Bob Knight did not make Indiana. That said, Crean sometimes tries too hard to avoid saying something that might be misconstrued about a player’s condition so it ends up creating more questions. I think we can tell that Hartman’s injury likely keeps him off the court this season. And we should all accept this and go along with how Crean speaks about Colin’s future. Injuries are different for each person. JBJ looked during the game with Miss Valley like he was eager to back out there and cheered everyone on. He obviously was off or hurt or something in Ft. Wayne. But I expect he’ll be out there on Wed. But we do need a solid leader and PG in a hurry. This young team will be tested with NC and Roy Williams. I expect a great game.

  • Well I can honestly say I hope you’re wrong! ha ha. But seriously, at times during that game he seemed more interested in playing against old teammates than playing with his team. Maybe this really got on the coach’s nerves, and if so, combined with crappy showings or attitude after the game and in practices…maybe it’s true? Who knows. I agree it’s unlikely, but not impossible. Especially if he wanted to make a point in a guarantee game and right before a really big game. I’m also just looking for reasons to be more optimistic, which is easier if JBJ plays.

  • Well, I’ll say this: if he DID bench him for performance and not an injury and it wasn’t true, then that’s a bit problematic for me. It would be really dishonest, at the very least.

  • Ironically enough, I wouldn’t be very upset about it. Especially if it works. Just one game missed, and a rather unimportant one…but made significant if it makes JBJ play lights-out awesome in a later game that really did matter. My guess is he did ding his knee and they’re being super-precautious. Stupid injuries.

  • IdahoHoosier

    After some of the off-court issues that required disciplinary actions over the last couple years, I would assume Crean is not afraid to make an example out of a player. My feeling is they are just being careful with JBJ’s knee. I do think in general more discipline for the players is not a bad thing. I don’t mean micromanaging their lives, but holding them accountable for rules and expectations.

  • Steven Brown

    Can’t find any info regarding OG’s injury at the end of the game. Anyone know anything?