Two open events coming, Crean says:
An open scrimmage after the Northwestern game, and the “Haunted Hall of Hoops” on Halloween.
“I don’t look at Indiana as a place that has fair-weather fans.”
That’s what Crean believed before he even got here, he says. And he’s realizing that even more now. So he hopes that fans will stick with the team through what inevitably will be an arduous season.
About 30 kids contacted Crean about trying out for a walk-on spot. It’s not like he can just fling the doors open and have a try out. The players have to fill out paper work before they can even hit the court. Crean hopes to have at least one more try out session.
“You know as well as I do that we’re going to get into these games and panic is going to set in.”
Here’s Crean the realist. He knows how tough it’s going to be to take this young team into Rupp Arena or the Kohl Center.
Crean may add two or three more walk-ons to the five the team has now.
And, he’ll try to get a football player or two to join the team if that’s OK with Bill Lynch.
“We have got to make the star of the team the team.”
What Crean means here, is that there can’t be one player who thinks the offensive load is on him. That was clearly the case last year with Eric Gordon and D.J. White. It can’t be this year. The goal has to be never to take a challenged shot.
Crean doesn’t want to schedule the team out of a shot at post-season play in future years. So he’ll schedule carefully. This year’s schedule was already set, so it’s not really in the discussion. Future schedules will be a bit easier, and will focus on getting on television and helping with recruiting, Crean says.
Crean is obviously a guy who looks for upsides. You’d have to be to be in his spot right now.
Along those lines, he thinks this year is something of a coach’s dream. Because the goal of every coach is to get every player to see every game as the biggest game of the season. And that’s how the Hoosiers will look at things this year. They don’t have much of a choice.
Here’s what has come to light, so far: Crean wants to eventually have a great man-to-man mindset in the program, but that might not be the best thing for this year.
So, Crean will be teaching for the long-term. He wants to make sure the young players understand how they need to play in future years while also being capable of doing some things this year, as far as zones and traps and presses, that might swipe a win here or there.
Pat Graham told Crean this recently: We were afraid of coach Knight, but not nearly as afraid as we were of the juniors and seniors.”
That won’t be the case this year. The team obviously respects Kyle Taber, the lone senior, but he, too, is learning a new system. So this team is structured unlike any Crean has dealt with.
The early goal? Teach the kids to work, and to work through fatigue.
There’s not going to be one or two leaders on this team, Crean says. The coaches are the leaders for now, and other players will have to take turns being leaders in different areas. That’s how much of this team will work; everything will have to be by committee.
The team will be “concept-based” this year instead of having hundreds and hundreds of plays to run. The play book will be slimmer, and work on that will continue through the season.
Here’s your first day of practice agenda: work on fundamentals first, possibly put in an offensive set or a transition defense. Crean says the major difference for this training camp will be that he will build the team toward longer practices, as opposed to tapering down.
He is here.
He says IU is excited to get started, just like every other team.
Unlike every other team, IU has no idea what’s coming.
But Crean is preaching daily improvement, as he has done over and over.
Tom Crean should arrive any second.