Crean talks Abell, timeouts, other issues on radio show

Tom Crean took a lot of calls on a variety of topics on his radio show on Monday night. Some of them didn’t make a whole lot of sense, but some of them were topics that have picked up traction here. The more interesting responses follow.

— Crean was asked about freshman guard Remy Abell, who didn’t play at all against Penn State and has played a total of three minutes in the last three games. An audience member suggested that Abell is a great defensive player.

“I wouldn’t go with great just yet considering he’s a freshman,” Crean said. “But there is a place for Remy. There’s no doubt. Yesterday, it just didn’t work out that way with what we decided to do in the second half defensively. There’s no question that Remy is going to be a big part of this team, even going into Wisconsin. The law of averages sometimes say that the freshman guarding the senior is not always gonna work out, especially when it comes to the officiating. That’s just a fact. It’s just the way that it is.  But at the same time, he’s got really good leg strength. He’s got quickness. It’s just a matter of him being really aware of what’s coming, where the picks are and things of that nature. But Remy’s doing a good job. We fully expect to have Remy be a big part of this week.”

— Crean was asked about his use of timeouts to try to stem runs on the road. He said he does like to save those when necessary to draw up plays late in games.

“We’ve been in so many games over the years where we wanted to have those timeouts to stop the clock at the end of the game so you could set things up,” Crean said. “The greatest feeling in the world is when you win a game and you had some timeouts in your pocket. I know a lot of guys want to burn their timeouts, but I watch enough games, where people are out of those timeouts at a tough spot or they’re down to one timeout with five, six minutes to go. That’s really, really hard. I play time and score a little bit. I play substitution a little bit. I play media timeout a little bit. But at the same time, you’ve gotta have a feel for your team and if you think the crowd, especially on the road is overwhelming your team a little bit, then you’ve gotta get that timeout quick and try to get everybody settled back in, but I think the substituting can sometimes be as important as the timeout.”

— Crean was asked about his substitution patterns, what makes him make decisions when.

“It’s kind of possession by possession,” Crean said. “You read the fatigue level. To me, I read the frustration level. I’m not a big believer in frustration. I think that’s relatively childish. I think you gotta get over it. I think it’s one thing to be angry. Can you channel your anger another way? I think playing frustrated leads you to being distracted. Distraction leads you to making mistakes. Mistakes lead to losses. I’m looking for that. Somebody who’s maybe not locked into the game plan the way they should be. A lot of times, we’ll pull that out and get that corrected. I think it’s important that I continue to sub quicker when those things come. Sometimes I have a tendency to let some guys play through it. I told them after the Nebraska that I’ve gotta get a little harder on that with not letting them play through the mistakes that shouldn’t be happening. That’s communication. That’s strength in taking care of the ball. That’s rotations. All of the things that we spend a lot of time on. Those are the things that happen. Guys are gonna get tired. Guys are gonna make mistakes. But when they’re making them because they’re distracted or because they’re not as locked in as they should be to what we’re doing, I’ve probably gotta sub a little bit more for that.”


  1. Coach you have more bulls–t than a xmas turkey. Most of the time what you say doesn’t even make sense. You don’t really know why you sub.

  2. “We fully expect to have Remy be a big part of this week.”

    Hopeful news this night from Dustin? There’s a place for Remy? My Remy? Thank you, Dustin. I’m in the mood for an old sappy Broadway tune.

  3. elmo, where did you pick up your vast knowledge of basketball? It’s second only to your insight into the human psyche. I’m torn between assuming you are a successful D1 coach or, perhaps, a successful leader of a corporation or other organization. Either way, you are a leader of men, I am certain.

  4. I must also ask you to explain the connection between bull—t and x-mas turkeys. It’s so far over my head it doesn’t even make sense.

  5. Elmo, all of that made complete sense. Whether or not you agree with it is another thing, but it wasn’t difficult to comprehend.

  6. The sub pattern is pretty clear. It’s pretty much the same each night.

    I was pleased with the high-low screens & movement yesterday. It was a nice wrinkle vs. the silly weave up high all game.

    As far a Remy goes, the coaches comments are political. Looks to me like Remy’s in the doghouse for his practices, grades, classes or something other than his game play. Or maybe it was that Jones just wasnt coughing it up over and over. These comments were just excuses for something else. Remy sat between a two coaches the whole game. He needs 10 min per night.

  7. I agree with Elmo. Coach is king of the BS. He continues to just give answers he thinks we fans want to hear. I continue to support him and the team, but I have never felt he is the one we will win a national championship with. Get to Final Four maybe, but not a title. Just my opinion and I’m sure many will disagree. And if does win a title, I will come back here and say I was wrong. Fairly confident I won’t ever be doing that though.

  8. So Monkey Man, what coach do you think IU could win a championship with AND who would have wanted to come to IU during her darkest hour?

  9. Crean’s comments about his substitution patterns is complete and total non-sensical drivel. At firs the says he looks at “frustration level”, then he says he doesn’t believe in frustration, then he says he’s looking for guys that aren’t locked in and how he’ll put that out and get it corrected, but then says he lets guys play through it…blah, blah, blah. Coach, the question was…”What is your freaking subsitituion pattern?” A better response was the old Mike Davis…”it’s on auto-pilot”. lol

  10. “We’ve been in so many games over the years where we wanted to have those timeouts to stop the clock at the end of the game so you could set things up”


    I take it there was absolutely no opportunity to ask follow up questions? Hosts not allowed to speak?

  11. i would like to hear crean response as to why sheehey played only 14 min why?-i thought when will was in there he did great

  12. Said it before and I will say it again – some of you are the worst. fans. ever. Plus, its especially clear that many of you know it alls have never coached anything – ever. I don’t know enough basketball to coach more than a freshman team in high school – but I know sports psychology and Coach’s answer makes perfect sense…. Every kid, and every situation is different and I am sure that Coach and his staff know those young men way, way, way better than any of us. I may be as arrogant as some of you say – but at least I don’t second guess and act as if I can coach better than an accomplished D1 head coach. I am sure all of you guys who know so much more about basketball than coach could have beaten Nebraska, figured out how to make every player play a mistake free game every time and even could have beaten Ohio State at Ohio State. I marvel at your skill level and it is just amazing to me that you aren’t head coach at at least a mid-major powerhouse. And as a guy who has coached at the highest level of another sport – I can tell you with absolute certainty that 95% of coaching happens in the gym and not in the game, which none of you have seen and even if you were the super awesome coaches that you believe yourselves to be – you would know that you don’t know enough to be making the statements you are making.

  13. We are in a bit of a scholarship crunch (oversign) for next year, right? This facts leads me to believe that Mr. Abell may be the subtle victim of this situation. Just a harmless thought.

  14. OldIUGymnast, I agree with your post. Can’t we just take what Crean says at face value and stop trying to twist it all around? He implied strongly that we would see more Abell soon. Let’s just see what happens. Anyone who thinks there is a set “substitution pattern” that works for every game has never coached anything. What he said made perfect sense to me, he goes with the flow of the game and tries to read his players. Knight was a fairly successful coach who also believed in saving timeouts and letting his players play through those tough periods. Knight also made mistakes. Crean will make mistakes. I’m pretty sure Crean will make fewer mistakes than anyone posting on this blog…

  15. hey! coach ran a little bit of the old flex on sunday. anyone else notice that? couldn’t believe it. i always loved that. he should run the flex early offense. does any team run early offense any more?

  16. Wow how many experts are on this blog? Is IU 16-4 in the #1 conference in america? Is IU going to make the toury when everyone said we wouldn’t? Did we beat #1 and #2 in the same month? Not to mention we only added one major piece during the off season and in my opinion we have the worst back court in the B10 “sorry Geoff” Im pretty sure CTC know a little bit about the game of basketball maybe just maybe even more than any of us. IU will be fine a 20 win season in this MONSTER conference gets us in the tournament according to Jay Bilas and Digger Phelps so everyone remember this man has us a full year ahead of schedule!!

  17. OldIUGymnast–#13…John from Beyond–#15
    You both hit the nail on the head. During the Neb game, CTC called timeout with about 10 seconds left before the second free throw. Was he icing the shooter and/or setting up the next play? I believe both. CTC probably thought Neb might be caught off guard by not calling another timeout. A timeout would also have given Neb more of a chance to prepare their defense. I also believe Jordy just made a mental error by not shooting a short jumper when he became open. As a result, people criticize CTC for not taking a timeout.
    BK made substitutions and called timeouts that had me scratching my head. CTC has also done the same; he is the coach we’ve needed to lead IU out of the darkness into the bright glare of the national spotlight.

  18. Is IU going to make the toury when everyone said we wouldn’t?

    hoosierfaninky- F

    First, I would assume you meant tourney.
    Second, you once again said “everyone” when you were assessing the regular Scoop blogging crowd and their predictions of where the Hoosiers would be come season’s end. You did this once before and I found it necessary to kindly correct your mistake..I don’t presume to be an expert..Never coached any sports…Played a lot of hoops growing up and have watched thousands of hours over many decades. Does that make me an expert? Nope. I’m just a plain old fan of the game that has a heart for the Indiana Hoosiers and what I believe to be the best state in the nation for basketball. Before the Hoosiers were playing their first regular season game, I predicted 22 wins, an upper-middle of the pack finish in the Big 10(4th or 5th), and an NCAA tournament invitation. Would it be too great an inconvenience for you to say “nearly everyone” next time you make your blanket statements? I will gladly go digging for one of my old posts on Scoop if you would like visible evidence my thoughts/comments on various threads three months ago regarding where the Hoosiers would finish this year. For what it’s worth, I also predicted in early November they would break into the top-20 by mid-December.

    I also liked that Remy Abell kid the very first time I saw a a clip of him playing in a Louisville high school tournament. It was back in the days when Kellenberger was still at Scoop. He used to censor most my posts, but I think Dustin would likely remember my blabbering on about Remy. I believe Remy backed out of a commitment to Bradley because of a coaching change. The kid has swagger and is very fluid on a b-ball court. I think he can go at a higher gear than what we’ve seen during his little PT. Whether or not he ever gets a chance to grow into his potential with the Hoosiers seems to be in question. I still think he has a great set of natural basketball skills that will someday get noticed by somebody, somewhere…Maybe not “everyone”….but someone.

  19. There is no question CTC’s substitution pattern is hard to decipher.He frequently pulls people right after they have made a big play while letting some(Verdell) keep playing after multiple mistakes.I think his answers are just deflections to questions he doesn’t really want to answer.Can’t say as I blame .Where’s the percentage in telling everyone your reasons?

  20. i just really don’t understand the comments on Abell….he’s playing great BUT…..he doesn’t play in the last three games but he’s going to have a big part this week? i bet you he would play better DF than vj3, scored more points than vj3 has in the last three games getting only 10 min where vj3 gets 30, i just don’t get it. i understand the senior thing but it doesn’t make any since

  21. The frustration topic, I wonder if he had extended that sentence about not believing in it, he would have said something to the point that he does not believe it as a motivating stimulus to positive play. Sometimes both he and Coach Wilson have a dictation style that leaves gaps in thoughts. Just a thought, but there is something there making us sometime scratch our heads. Yes there was subtle changes to the offense resulting in good movement last game. If they continue to practice those additions maybe the shot clock will no longer be our enemy.

  22. WHOA!!!

    HfKY – I have never once said or insinuated I knew more than CTC. I have been one of his biggest supporters and written the same exact post the oldiugymnast wrote at least 3 times before on this site. Do not associate my name with A) a Crean detractor, or B) some who thinks they know more than a D1 coach.

  23. Well, I am definitely an “expert” because I’ve coached junior high girls and boys basketball. And in my “expert” opinion, subbing is far from a perfect science. Mind blowing stuff, I know.

    It’s impossible to sub the way I want in those games with limited options. I can only imagine how challenging it is when you have a group of guys with very different skill sets.

    Let’s not forget either that Crean has a slew of talented assistant coaches on the bench helping him make these decisions and observing what’s happening in practice, etc. I trust in them more than I trust in my judgment from a watching a TV screen or sitting in the stands.

  24. Clarion – you are exactly right about Crean’s comment on frustration. How Elmo and athleticscoach don’t understand what he’s saying says a lot more about them then it does about Crean.

  25. HfKY – to expand on that. I never say (other than play VJ3 less) what coach should or shouldn’t be doing. I dont come on here questioning his subbing patterns, offensive game plan, defensive philosophy, etc. NEVER!

    I come on here and break down what did or did not happen. Occasionally I make predictions based on my analysis, but I never question Crean’s coaching (other than the love affair with VJ3, but who doesn’t?). So if I’m ever combative it’s because I disagree with something a poster said, not something Crean did.

  26. We’ve been patient by by now CTC should have the team in the ranking and be beating highly ranked teams.

    What’s that? Oh never mind.

    Just can’t please some folks.

    Harvard, you one or two references to your prediction away from being mocked (RC put a toe in the water). I’m sure everyone in Burma (that’s Myanmar to you) is familiar with them by now. It was truly one of the greatest feats in the annals of sports but you probably want to move on.

  27. Let Remy start and then move him in out of the game if needed and put him on Jordan Taylor. Remy will be nervous and make a few mistakes, then let him play thru it. Oddie and Remy really do well directing the offensive player they are guarding. For the time I’ve seen Remy on the court, I think he would feed off of Oddie and the two of them can disrupt the flow of Wisconsin offense. Giving the other IU defenders
    like Sheehey energy and call me crazy, but Pritchard.Elston
    would get theirs also. I’m trying to say in a portion of the game show a line up that is really tough on defense. Sheehey, Zeller and Oddie can get points. Remy may be the type of guy who clicks in game situations, not thinking so hard to impress as in practice. I don’t know, but I have seen it some guys are just gamers, let him at it. Coach Crean let him start and VJ3 actually feel like he is not a lock and will have to perform when inserted in the game.

  28. Always picking on poor elmo,some D1 coaches got their jobs by who they knew and not what they knew,just check his background. You take away eight of those first wins against the Little Sisters of the Poor and we are eight and four not real outstanding. i,m still an I.U. fan just don’t care mush about the coaching staff. I have that right to disagree.

  29. Play in the real world. You can’t rewrite history. Those 8 W’s are not going to be taken away; hence 16-4, 4-4 B10 and 3-3 away. Damned successful. I detest this statement, but,”it is what it is” and you cannot change it. The PUke blog is always needing posters, join them and knock yourself out. You’ll be the most popular poster there.

  30. I think Abell is a decent freshman. Taylor would eat his lunch. For all he has in physical skill, he is a little slower to comprehend what needs to be done. That is pretty much what coach is saying. You guys who are clammoring for him to play are the same ones who inject every freshman and JUCO transfer into our starting lineup from day one. Not gonna happen.

  31. Elmo – really good point…

    MSU is now 7-4
    Duke is now 9-3
    OSU is now 8-3
    UNC is now 7-3
    Florida is now 7-4
    UConn is now 5-4!

    Oh wait what was your point again?

  32. It was truly one of the greatest feats in the annals of sports but you probably want to move on.

    That prediction is my baby, Chet. I fed it. I nurtured it. I give it nipple….from a warmed bottle. Dustin once told me how cute it was and even offered to babysit. Please understand. Those days go by so quickly. You’re a parent, right? They grow up so damn fast. You want them to spread their wings, but you still want to hold onto the innocence..So spunky as a little toddler. You could take them out around town for a stroll and all the hot looking young moms would stop to say hello, tell you how cute your precious bundle of joy tucked under blankets in blue buggy.

    Soon, you come down for your morning coffee and they’re not there. Twenty years have evaporated right before your very eyes. Was it all a dream? You check your phone for messages…None. Their life now far too busy for your bother. You spend half the day gazing at old pictures and the other half moping around like a zombie while you type on a computer to chat with strangers about an attachment to a basketball team. I guess you lose touch and it shows in the words an old guy without much to do. I miss my baby, Chet. Now all grown up and so, so beautiful. It’s hard for those never a parent to understand. I’m ever so proud they’re out tackling a world that seems so impossible to me these days. But I still can’t help miss those moments of real connection of heart; mornings I felt a true purpose in the bosom of a simple memory, when my eyes locking onto a little smile from a bundle of happiness so entrusted my love, was all it took to make my day.

    One of the greatest feats in the annals of sports? You best believe it or I might just have to punch you in that fat, jello puddingish, pompous-a$$ nose of yours. Nobody puts baby in a corner…NOBODY!

  33. DaburnsO I didn’t say anything about other freshman or juco players. I’m thinking Remy if nothing gets the fouls instead
    of Oddie on JT from WIS. Oddie is better in the passing lanes and leads to more steals. Might keep Oddie closer to the basket for putbacks or rebounds. It is still solid to think Remy can contribute. Zeller is a given as a freshman sorry. Sheehey is good in the passing lanes.

  34. Chet you need to check your own spelling it doesn’t make sense some of the times ,but I,ll forgive your typing errors. Maybe you should becone an English teacher and forget the basketball blog because its evident you don’t know anything about basketball.

  35. Just read his comments, I think I pulled his chain a little too hard. He likes to check my spelling so I make mistakes just so he can comment about somethinng oops.

  36. Abell seems to be very talented. That being said there are many reasons that he doesn’t get playing time that don’t have to be shared. He may be a complete pain in the ass or doesn’t try in practice or something like that… Who knows? Ctc has a reason and I’m pretty sure he is doing what he thinks is best for the team.

  37. HOOSIERPLUS, I am in agreement with your synopsis on injecting RA into the lineup. If it would bring around even a small change in the chemistry you describe why not add it to the arsenal. It at the least would add to the prep work a team has to do to play us. Central to the thought is when it comes down to the end of the B10 season,BTT and then possibly post play no team ever has to many options. From Coach Crean’s comments he must also be considering that move. What I personally like about Abell is he has tunnel vision when he is playing D w/o a lot of freelance.

  38. I should’ve clarified that better. I was just stating there is a lot of things that we don’t see and to speculate reasons why he isn’t playing is kind of silly. I just used bad examples

  39. Chet- I think you hit the nail on the head. We should move on from it now and let the coach do his job. We have a lot of weapons compared to year’s past. If Maurice Creek was healthy, I bet 1 or 2 other guys wouldn’t get much playing time.

  40. Here’s the problem I have: The more attention not playing him creates(and the added attention is very justified due to a knowledgeable fan base witnessing the obvious contributions he was bringing to the floor during the very brief chances he’s been afforded), the added pressure it puts upon his game once he returns. Leaving him out of the rotation may bring an added pressure to do too much, too quickly. I was really hoping it would work out for the kid.

    It’s hard to know what’s going on, but based on the few interviews I’ve seen Remy give(some before arriving in Bloomington), he appeared to be a very humble young man with a willingness to do anything that would make his team better. He is the antithesis of “the chosen one.” Now the spotlight and expectations have been needlessly elevated on the freshman and I’m not sure if that will help him stay settled when/if he ever gets back into the lineup. He displayed a lot of gumption and took risks that many freshman would be more conservative due to fears a benching might occur if those gambles would fail. He buried some timely 3-pointers and proved he could get by his defender and get the bucket. I remember a kid that was slightly upstaging a more senior member of the backcourt and I have to question if he feels he is now being penalized for his own successes. I don’t think his play was selfish, yet he has been given the medicine for exactly what a “chosen one” has never gulped a single dose. How much of it will play into his head? Will he now be tight? Will he be reluctant to take the open shot from the perimeter? Will he have the same comfort level, swagger, and confidence to play to his full potential when thrown into the fires as the stakes get higher for the team? He didn’t have to made into an issue and now he is.

  41. I enjoy the finality that some inject in this blog.
    Now we are playing 52 pick up with “IF DECK”
    Close the blog down then DABURNO has had his fill.

  42. Well anyway, I hope Remy see’s action for all reasons mentioned. Is Mo Cheeks conditioning and on the practice court? Does any one know about his rehab?

  43. My apologies harvard. Yes I recall you predicting something along those lines. Not sure when you did maybe after the 10-0 start. lol While your digging check out when I was begging everyone to get on board around week 4 or 5 if im not mistaking. I was telling people on here that Butler would not be our first real test. Im sure you know your stuff. Sort of.? Unless your one of those (Jordan Hulls is a huge asset to our team and will get drafted guys)!!

  44. Don’t worry about it, hoosierfaninky…I can frequently be a real piece of shi#.

    Harvard for Hillbillies
    Monday, November 14, 2011 – 8:10 PM EST

    This Hoosier basketball team is going easily into the post-season with 22 wins and they are not exiting in the first round of the Big 10 tournament. Wow. Have some faith in this basketball school. We’re in the NCAA tournament and finishing no lower than 4th in the conference standings.

    Harvard for Hillbillies
    Tuesday, November 15, 2011 – 1:01 AM EST

    You don’t think we can beat Kentucky at home this year? I think we send Calipari back to Lexington with a big fat ‘L’ this year. ND in Indy? Butler in Bloomington? I think it’s very possible the Hoosiers go into their first Big 10 game of the season without a blemish on the record…Possibly 10-0 or 9-1. The energy of the home crowds and the depth of this team will make us very difficult to beat at home? I think we can take at least 3 Big 10 road games and upset someone to get into the quarters of the Big 10 tournament.

    These posts were made right after the Sunday we beat Chattanooga to go 2-0.

  45. You know, I predicted Michelle Bachmann would drop out of the race after saying a bunch of crazy $hit back in September.

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