20 comments

  1. Indiana wins on the road which is always good….3 pointers going in…Interior defense no good….IU has to be mentally and physically tougher all over in pretty much everywhere to take care of leads (inside on defense + inside game on offense). Still looking forward to winning record on the road. Currently, I put OSU, Mich State, Mich (IU luckily held on and pulled that one out at home)ahead of IU in conference….We will see….

  2. Dustin,

    Thanks as always for your insightful comments.

    A quick personal question. You mentioned being a Penn State grad and, as I recall, Ryan graduated last year from Michigan.

    How does it feel for you guys to be covering a school (IU) for a devoted fan base when you yourself must have some mixed emotions. For Ryan, those emotions are even very recent, correct? And you both probably covered sports for your school papers, right? So you must know all the coaches, etc.

    Interestingly, I suppose it is akin to what you get from coaches coaching against their old schools, e.g. Dane Fife asst coach at Michigan State. Or for that matter, Bob Knight when he was at Indiana playing against OSU.

    Also, I would assume it would be just a blast for you to get back to your home campus while covering a game like this – seeing old friends, profs, hangouts, being the “go-to guy” for the best local pizza place, etc. Yes? No?

    Anyway, for what it is worth, I don’t notice any bias in your coverage, one way or another, which is probably the mark of your good reporting.

    And thanks again for what you do and the good job you do in doing it.

    WestCoast Hoosier

    P.S. Now that I think of it, as a Penn State alum, you probably knew Jerry Sandusky. I’ve heard no comment from you on that and, perhaps I shouldn’t ask. But, if you have any thoughts and feel you can share them, I for one would find that VERY interesting. Did you ever have any inkling of anything going on there? Was he clearly a jerk or was it buried down deep? Did you have any thoughts about the deification of Joe Pa? Did that in any way lead to this? Are there lessons to be learned?

    I hope I’m not stepping in anything here myself – nor causing you to do so.

  3. Wow, those are really great questions. While I’m sure Dustin will be exceedingly careful not to become part of the story, Id be interested to hear any insights or impressions he could share.

  4. Yes, those are some great questions. I’d also be interesting in hearing if Dustin enjoys being the “go-to guy” for the best local pizza place.

  5. Dustin, I’ve always appreciated your passion for IU Basketball. With that said you better watch it. You called Coach Crean, “Crean” several times. I’d watch myself if I was you. You could get attacked by coach. 🙂

  6. Ha, nah, I get it. I’m about to hit the road to come back to Indiana, so I don’t have time at the moment, but I will address the Penn State questions later today. Thanks guys.

  7. Give him some time West Coast. Tough questions and he’s probably got plenty of other work to do.

    Not to mention, the Sandusky question? Yuck. Who really wants to talk about that one. Funny how every time there is a heinous crime committed, someone comes out and wants to know if the person was weird or disturbed beforehand.

    Then you hear the perfunctory “He seemed like a nice guy; he was my neighbor and he waved to me”…”seemed like a normal person to me”…that’s usually the extent of it.

  8. I’m cool, Wells. I just read “later today” and was interested.

    And, as you may have noticed, it’s now two days later.

    And I understand that Dustin may not want to talk on Sandusky and both the “yuck” factor and the perfunctory stuff.

    But who knows what Dustin thinks? He may really have some insight and the delay may speak to that.

    I’d love to hear what he said about it in private, which may very well differ from what he’ll be willing to say publicly.

    And note my questions also dealt with easier topics that are also of interest – covering a game against your own school for a different school and something of the life of a reporter on the road in a town that you know well.

    And, by the way, I appreciate anything I get on these questions. Even if I get nada, I still appreciate Mr. Dopirak and Mr. Kartje – and I suspect they appreciate the questions and the thought behind them even if they can’t, won’t or just don’t answer them.

    I’m cool!

  9. Hear ya’. Actually, the question about sports jounalists’ allegiance is a pretty interesting one. I wonder what percentage of sportswriters end up actually liking the team they have to cover (assuming its not their hometown team), versus simply pretending to like the team because the job requires a certain level of enthusiasm. For example I wonder if Kelenburger still checks up on the Hoosiers, and whether he does it out of fanship or just morbid curiosity.

  10. West Coast,
    Sorry I’ve been delayed on your answer. I was just starting to write one, but I’m obviously trying to be careful. Will have one later today, this time I promise.

  11. Dustin, I’m waiting for your post before I write my Purely Positive Post…

    Harvard is about to pass out from holding his breath.

  12. Ok, here goes. Sorry West Coast. Been a busy couple of days.
    Anyway. I’ll start with the easier questions first. Trips back to State College definitely bring some mixed emotions, but that doesn’t have anything to do with the game itself. Every time I go there, the trip become much less campus-based. Saturday night before the game, I stayed with one of my best friends since fourth grade, who now has a big house (with a wife, a daughter and a dog, plus his brother and sister in law, their four kids and two dogs) in Port Matilda, which is about 20 minutes away. I was only on campus for the game and ate dinner after at a place off campus that didn’t exist when I was in school. But still, it’s nice to see people you knew then and know that they still remember you. The Centre Daily Times beat writer Jeff Rice worked with me at the Daily Collegian and was the sports editor when Korman and I covered football. PSU’s play-by-play guy Steve Jones was a professor of mine in a class in sports broadcasting. There are a number of other beat guys and sports information personnel who still remember me, and that’s nice to know. Of course, I don’t know any of the coaches, as the basketball staff is brand new and everyone knows what’s happening for the football staff. It’s weird for me to be back around the old school in the same way it’s weird for everyone who goes away from their alma mater for a while and then comes back, but it’s still generally good.
    As far as caring about the outcome of the game, that’s not so much an issue at least for me anyway. Not that I was never a Penn State fan. I was, and I suppose I still am in my heart of hearts, but this job is so much more important to me than any fanship ever was, so it’s not that hard to dis-invest yourself from the outcome when you have to. I can’t speak for Ryan, but it’s probably easier for me than it is for him because I’ve been in the business for seven years. I know how much of a scarlet letter it can be to be considered a biased homer in one way or another, and I consider avoiding that critical.
    Of course, when horrible stuff like the Sandusky case happens to your school, you still find yourself emotionally invested, because it’s not just about sports teams anymore. And yes, I did know some of the people involved. Sandusky I only spoke to once, as he was retired by the time I enrolled. He was perfectly cordial then, and you’d have a hard time convincing people then that he wasn’t Santa Claus. He obviously left coaching to work at a charity for underprivileged children. At the time he sounded like the most generous person you could imagine, because for all Paterno’s talk about there being more to life than football, he never left it for a more meaningful calling. Only in retrospect, of course, does the move raise red flags. What little knowledge I have about this sort of crime — which comes almost exclusively from episodes of Law & Order SVU — the people who commit these sorts of crimes don’t appear to be jerks in public. They are overly nice, and overly affectionate, because the really sick, twisted and tragic part of it all is that in their demented minds, they’re committing acts of love. Whether that was true of Sandusky, I can’t say for certain, but there seems to be evidence to that effect.
    As far as the deification of Paterno and it’s effect on the failure to report, that’s the part that I’m still struggling to put into perspective, mostly, because I still can’t figure out how things got so incredibly screwed up through the chain of command. I certainly haven’t ruled out that Paterno started a cover-up and demanded that Tim Curley and Gary Schultz sweep McQueary’s accusation under the rug, and if that’s what happened, that certainly proves that Paterno felt himself deified and above the law. But I don’t know that’s what happened. Maybe this happened because Joe Paterno and football in general became too big in State College. But maybe that didn’t have anything to do with it. I’m still waiting for more definitive information before I’m willing to come to a conclusion on that one.
    Thanks West Coast. Hopefully I’ve answered everything you wanted to know. Let me know if I haven’t.

  13. Dustin – I certainly appreciated it. I think you strode the fence perfectly on being open and candid, but also fair and professional. My one follow up question would be… Did you get the sense that Paterno had that type of clout and ego to “demand” things of Curley and Schultz? Not even necessarily with something this enormous or scandalous, just in general…

  14. Dustin – an off-topic question… Do you (or anyone in your immediate network) know of a site that gives next level stats like individual player’s opponent’s FG%? Specifically I’d be interested in how offensive players are shooting when being guarded by VO… But would go to a site like that for my obsessive curiosity on all kind sof things…

  15. Fantastic. Informative. Interesting. Classy. A little poignant (re being back on campus). Insightful. Way deeper than typical . Worth the wait.

    Also what I expected, having read you for a long time. (You may recall, I’m the one who corrected Kellenberger on pronunciation of your last name.)

    And I owe you a major thank you for taking the time. Wish I could hand (shake) deliver it. I saw you last year in Las Vegas with one of my kids, who ended up shagging balls for the team (that set up with games at the hotel was a bit different!) and you seemed busy, so I just said “hi” in passing.

    If I had a replay, I’d do a lot more. Next time!

    The only thing you missed was the address of the pizza joint in State Park….

    Thanks again!!

  16. “Classy” was right-on. I myself would have had a hard time getting to those questions and would have left the Sandusky one hanging. Also, great writing from Dustin. Shines through even in blog post.

  17. West Coast,
    When it comes to pizza, I’d say it depends on how many you’ve had. I was always a fan of Hi-Way Pizza on College Ave., but I think that’s closed down. College Pizza and Canyon Pizza are the classic post-bar, by the slice joints. I was always a big fan of both. Brother’s Pizza is a good one, and there were several other random joints on College Ave. and Beaver Ave. that I was a fan of as well. Not sure how well they hold up for true pizza snobs, but it was good enough for me then.

  18. Snow day up here in Maine, so I took the opportunity this afternoon to re-watch the Penn State game. I think that Victor Oladipo is our most fascinating player. So much of what he does just can’t be seen in a box score. My goal in this viewing was to concentrate on VO and his influence on the game… Negative plays, positive plays, a general feel for what he does off the ball on offense, but most importantly how he effects the game defensively. This is obviously a microcosm, but here is what I came up with:

    His “official” stat line: 31 min, 2-8 FG, 1-4 FT, 6 pts, 6 reb, 2 assists, 1 block, 0 steals, 2 fouls, and 2 TO’s

    That doesn’t come close to telling you the story… Oh, and I found those stats to be somewhat inaccurate as well.

    His main contribution to the game was his defense of Frazier. Whenever they were both in the game VO was assigned to him. There were several times that Dipo switched off because he was screened, and that was when Frazier took advantage. However, Frazier was never in a flow, ending 7-23 from the floor. For the game I charted possessions in which VO was the primary defender of a shooter. His opponents FG% against him was 26% (5-19). He had only 14 points scored against him by all players, and 4 of them were in transition when he was the lone defender back.

    While he was in the book for only one blocked shot – a help side close out on a 3-pt shooter – he actually had another one against Frazier in the second half and altered several others with strong close outs on the perimeter. Despite that aggressiveness he was called for only one shooting foul.

    Dipo was also extremely effective at closing off pentration attempts by Frazier. I counted 12 possessions that VO beat Frazier to a spot and prevented a lay-up (or any shot, for that matter).

    Here is a list of the impact plays that Victor made over the course of the game ( + = positive, – = negative)

    First half
    + blocked a 3-pt shot
    + defensive rebound
    + offensive rebound, created a foul
    + defensive rebound
    + created an offensive team rebound between 3 PSU players
    + got to FT line on hard drive off opposite kick out by Cody
    + Hit corner 3-ptr
    – turned ball over
    – fouled Frazier on a shot
    + nice assist to Hulls on an extra pass
    – Frazier makes contested 3
    + closed out a 3-pt shooter in transition effecting the shot and creating a miss
    – Frazier beats him off the dribble for a lay-up
    – Frazier back cuts him for a lay-up & 1

    Opponents go 3-8 FG with 10 pts and 1 TO

    Second half
    + defensive rebound
    + defensive rebound
    + created foul on a hard drive to hoop
    + closed out Oliver hard creating 3-pt miss
    + made beautiful baseline reverse lay-up
    – TO on reckless drive
    – got tied up driving into 3 defenders, luckily IU has possession arrow
    + blocked a Frazier lay-up
    + Stripped the ball out of bounds on a Frazier drive
    + created a team defensive rebound
    +++ steals an inbounds pass and fouls Frazier out of the game
    – misses 2 FT in crunch time
    + defensive rebound

    Opponents go 2-11 for 4 pts and 2 TO’s

    Including the makes and misses he defended I counted 35 positive plays to 10 negative plays while going against arguably the most dangerous guard in the conference (leading the B1G in both scoring and assists coming into IU game). That is some ratio.

    As a side note, Abel was the primary sub for Dipo, so I watched him just as closely. In 7 minutes he was a very positive force in the game. He scored 5 points on 2-3 shooting and added a rebound with no TO’s or fouls. He played tremendous defense on Frazier, running him off shots, cutting off drives and only giving up 2 points. Basically he was +3 against the leading scorer in the B1G… He also played very good help-and-recover defense. He physically looked like a MAN out there, not a freshman.

    Great game by both players.

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