Izzo defends Crean: “He helped me build my program” #iubb

As his friend takes the brunt of frustration from a displeased fan base, Tom Izzo is lashing back at those who believe Tom Crean isn’t the right fit at Indiana.

The Michigan State coach defended his former assistant after his team’s 74-72 win at Assembly Hall on Saturday, saying that Indiana’s players deserve as much criticism as their coach for the Hoosiers’ late-season slide.

“Am I a little frustrated? Yeah, I am,” Izzo said. “Do I think he’s a helluva coach? Yes, I do. Do I think he has to make adjustments, just like I do and everybody else? Probably. But I’m telling you the guy can coach and the guy can recruit.

“He helped me build my program. My program wouldn’t be as good as it is if it wasn’t for Tom Crean. I mean that. I really do.”

Izzo pointed to the players Crean has lost in the last few seasons, specifically referencing Noah Vonleh’s decision to leave for the NBA after only one season in Bloomington.

“Vonleh was a good player, (but) I’m not sure anybody else thought he would be one and done,” Izzo said. “Maybe two and done. How do you recruit to that?”

Crean’s ability to get his team to overcome the November distraction of the Devin Davis incident should not be discounted, Izzo said. He said Crean called him from IU Health Bloomington Hospital every night while he visited and checked on the status of Davis, who was hospitalized for over two weeks after the Nov. 1 crash.

Crean served four seasons as an assistant on Izzo’s staff before becoming head coach at Marquette in 1999.

“I think he’s a great recruiter, I think he’s a great x’s and o’s coach,” Izzo said. “I think he gets misread sometimes for a variety of reasons, some he’s got to own up to, some he doesn’t.”


  1. Coach Izzo can have him back. That was too easy. Please take him. We will pay Tom $11M to go help you. I think NV was part of the problem last year and when he left he didn’t even tell Crean first. Great relationship so who knows if he would have even stayed, Can’t build programs on could of, would have and should have.

  2. which begs the question (reporters in the room….), what are the shortcomings that Crean has to own up to?

  3. What a bunch of pap. What did anyone expect Izzy to say other than something warm and fuzzy about his homeboy? These coaches only say bad things about each other when battling for recruits, otherwise it’s a good-old-boy fraternity. Besides, Izzy has owned the Hoosiers for years. Why then would he risk evening the scales by suggesting that IU make a change?

  4. This is like asking seones mom what kind of person there son is. What else is he going to say? Move along nothing to see here

  5. Spot on above comments. Coaching fraternity and friendship garbage.

    ” I think he’s a great x’s and o’s coach, ” Izzo said. Really – that’s what you think? Please. You’re ashamed he’s the nut that fell from your coaching tree and your name comes up when his does.

    If Izzo was hooked up to a lie detector during these comments – the friction of the needle going back and forth would have burned down Assembly Hall.

    Top 3 reasons he lied.

    1. He’s a good guy and loyal to a literal fault.
    2. Why would any opposing coach ever want to have a better coach come to IU.
    3. Does not want CTC and his family living in his basement again. ( the dog thinks CTC is weird )

  6. I think CTC reached is upper most level of coaching as an assistant coach. The fan base feelings at Marquette and now at IU say the same. He cant coach at major Div 1 schools. I would like to know the REAL reason Kenny Johnson left to take same job at Louisville and basically recruit AGAINST Indiana for the same players?? As Izzo suggested, if CTC was such a good recruiter then why is Marvin Lee playing for Izzo when CTC could offer him all kinds of playing time (MSU and IU were both recruiting him) CTC couldn’t coach defense to a dam holding back a river. Absolutely the WORST coach for defense;even a blind man can see that. 3 yrs ago ,with Zeller and Vic, Crean was a media darling at Atlanta…now hes turned IU into the basketball world’s “traveling comedy show” Glass needs his balls in a vice and told to choose….CTC or his balls…..perhaps the money people will do that now.

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