Just walked back into the office from an informal (or as much as it could be with Crean on the podium and around 10 reporters sitting in those old school seats with the attached desk) sit-down with Tom Crean.
I think the overall message is that Crean, three months into his new position as IU men’s basketball coach, is absolutely, 100 percent positive about the Hoosiers. So positive I wondered if he listened to a Polyphonic Spree album while running through a field of jelly beans this morning.
Why is he so positive? Because, Indiana is still Indiana. The home games are still being played in Assembly Hall. National media is going to care, and televise games. And, oh yeah, it’s Indiana.
“We have a program that really has not lost its luster,” Crean said.
So, what else do you guys want to know about?
RECRUITING: Unless a big man who can score suddenly becomes available, IU is done with the incoming freshmen class.
“I’d rather hold the scholarship,” Crean said, explaining the player available now would probably be a reach.
Everyone on next year’s team, sans Jeremiah Rivers (was with dad for the NBA Finals, and now is at the elite camps) and Malik Story (committed too late to come in for summer sessions) is on campus. Crean compared them to a pack of wolves, running together.
They’re looking hard at the class of 2009, and even the class of 2010 and 2011. And yes, a rising freshman or two. Just dont’ expect Crean to pull a Tim Floyd and announce a committment from a 15-year-old anytime soon.
MALIK STORY: Speaking of Story, IU officially announced his commitment late Monday. No one doubts his talent, but he did leave Oak Hill Academy and Southern California was willing to let him walk from his verbal commitment.
Crean said he felt comfortable with Story.
THIRD ASSISTANT COACH: It’s a priority, but not the top one. Mainly, because only two assistants could recruit right now, anyways.
Â RICK GREENSPAN: I wrote that Crean appeared sullen at last Thursday’s press conference to announce Greenspan’s resignation as athletics director, and it seems I was right on target.
“I was devastated for a while,” Crean said.
BRINGING OLD PLAYERS BACK: As he has said before, this is a top priority for Crean. Said he had a long phone conversation with Isiah Thomas on Monday, and Thomas volunteered to come down and speak to Crean’s basketball camp (there were oodles and oodles of little boys in IU practice gear running around Assembly Hall). Crean politely declined for this week, but expect to see ol’ Isiah around campus this upcoming season. It’s not like he has a job or anything (Hmmm, assistant coach opening + Isiah’s availability = purely subjective, laughable rumor only suit for print in US Weekly).