Oladipo believes in Crean, defends former coach

INDIANAPOLIS — He still watches the games from afar, records them on his DVR when he’s busy and feels the pulse of the Indiana University basketball program from his home in Orlando.

So Victor Oladipo is plenty in tune with the trajectory of IU’s season, but the boos and displeasure directed toward coach Tom Crean aren’t fair, says the former Hoosier and current Magic star.

“It’s tough to hear and tough to see our fans do that,” Oladipo told The Herald-Times on Tuesday morning before the Magic’s morning shootaround at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. “I was there when we were winning (12) games, and they were doing the same thing. It is what it is. I know Coach Crean is going to continue working hard and do what he has to do and help those guys win basketball games. It’s tough that people act like that, but that’s how things are sometimes. I know he’s going to change things over there and turn things around like he did before.”

Oladipo says he keeps in touch with Crean, and gave a firm backing to his former coach on Tuesday. The former All-American points to Indiana’s success amid myriad distractions in November and December, and the team’s rise to the top of the Big Ten standings by late January.

He said it takes a quality coach to keep a program afloat when the grind of the season begins to test you. Despite eight losses in Indiana’s last 12 games, Oladipo believes Crean has proven himself a capable leader and an even better coach.

“He holds you accountable, but he motivates you like no other,” Oladipo said. “He does a great job of both, and he teaches you. He teaches you how to win, he teaches you how to become a better basketball player. He knows what he’s talking about. He works hard, and he’s the best at breaking down film. He’s just one of the best I’ve ever seen.”

Oladipo reflected upon his freshman season in Bloomington, when the Hoosiers won only three Big Ten games before closing the year with nine consecutive losses. That season, he said, Crean sought to keep things even-keeled, while players adopted an us-against-the-world mentality when things got tough.

There’s pressure to live up to the high marks of previous IU teams, but Oladipo believes these Hoosiers will be better off for going through these trying times.

“It would be hard not to have those pressures,” he said. “It’s a world-renowned school and a high level of basketball. The history of basketball there is so rich. They hold themselves to a high standard over there, especially when it comes to basketball. There’s a lot to live up to, but that’s the reason why you go there.”

Oladipo is averaging 17.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists this season, and was nominated as the Eastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday.

Now in his second season with Orlando, Oladipo has not completely detached himself from his alma mater. On Monday night, he presented $15k from his NBA Slam Dunk Contest winnings to the IU Cancer Center.

Oladipo is splitting his money from the Dunk Contest three ways, with $15k also headed to the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute and the Children’s National Medical Center.

“I just wanted to give back to the area that gave to me and what better way to do that than give back to the Indiana area,” Oladipo said. “They basically raised me, gave me an opportunity to play at the university and pretty much grow as a person and a human being.”

Oladipo finished second in the contest to Minnesota’s Zach LaVine, highlighting his appearance with a Frank Sinatra-like entrance singing “New York, New York” before executing an impressive 540 dunk.

“We were in New York,” he said, “What better way to relate than to sing.”

Asked how long it took to practice his slam, Oladipo didn’t flinch.

“Not very long,” he said.

And just like he didn’t flinch when it came to his bailiwick, Oladipo had no hesitation defending his coach.

“It’s a long year, it’s a long season,” Oladipo said. “They can make a run in the Big Ten Tournament. They haven’t even started playing their best basketball yet, so that’s still positive.”


  1. I can’t wait to read Crean’s critics justify and dismiss VO’s comments supporting his former coach. VO is a very intelligent man who played for Crean for three years and has gone on to play for other coaches in the NBA, but what does he know?

  2. So the question is: does he know what he’s talking about or not?

    “It’s a long year, it’s a long season,” Oladipo said. “They can make a run in the Big Ten Tournament. They haven’t even started playing their best basketball yet, so that’s still positive.”

    Let’s see them make a run in the Big Ten tourney. If they don’t — he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    Let’s see them start playing their best basketball yet. Let’s see that happen.

  3. It’s pretty easy. The proof is in the pudding. Crean is good in November when he’s playing cupcakes. He’s good in December and January when he’s playing cupcakes and B1G teams the first time through the conference. He’s bad in February and March once every has had a chance to see them a lot, break down film on them, and make adjustments.

    Just like Dipo says, he’s good in November, December, and January, but it takes a “quality coach” to get through the grind of the late season.

    By Dipo’s own admission, Crean is not a quality coach, even though he has several traits of a quality coach. There is something missing, and it’s not just this year…. It happens every year.

  4. Geoff, and I believe the most important point you make is once every B1G team sees them and there is adequate film of IU in the vcr it shows they are not varied enough nor execute well enough on offense to be a hard to game plan for. Every team gets to prepare for the same ole same ole from IU. As a side note, I do not believe an assistant cannot make him see what needs to be done to improve that. Is he that stubborn?

  5. what’s a vcr?

    in my experience, most head coaches don’t want their assistants telling them what they are doing wrong. slippery slope, that

  6. All depends on the relationship and who else in the room… In my experience, the best coaches, and leaders for that matter, are rigid on a few core principles, but open on everything else. They know they don’t necessarily have all the answers or that something seen from a fresh set of eyes can be very valuable. In my opinion its good practice to ask others opinions before stating your own, that way it doesn’t look like anyone is usurping you, and you get he benefit of shared knowledge before determining your course of action.

  7. yeah, but telling the head coach his entire offensive philosophy against zone is wack. of course, his man offense is wack, too. at least his defensive concepts are sound. ummm, wait…at least he knows how to teach his bigs to….er, nevermind.

    my experience is most people don’t want to learn anything after age 14. like the folks who hang out here.

    geoff, you know on that stupid dribble weave wouldn’t you love to see an occasional back cut from the wing instead of taking the hand off? that was there a lot, especially when teams contested the hand off (not worth contesting in my opinion). clear out the lane, of course, then it starts looking a little princeton 5 high which i think would have been a fantastic offense with this crew. carrill or carmody would definitely have taken this crew to the dance. i don’t see how this team gets a bid with 13 losses

  8. @podunker– Love Oladipo, but bigs like Vonleh and Zeller tell us us more about CTC when they leave early.

  9. Anytime a current coach has to drag out the AD of the school he is coaching, Current coach in a league where they are opponents and respected ex-player to defend him he’s up to his nostrils in deep water. I notice no Dwayne Wade coming to his defense, No ex-players coming to his defense, no Kenny Johnson( if KJ left on good terms he MIGHT say something). No other defenses being offered up other than those you would expect which smacks the credibility of those offers. The silence speaks volumes.

  10. Don’t care. If you mattered, you would have stayed and given this coach a banner…You and Cody would have made sure of it…….Money was too important to both of you than giving this coach a true level of validation amongst his peers.. You got your ass spanked by Syracuse and it was your coach that came out smelling like the fool. …That days was enough for you…Guess what? He had to stay with the cupboard empty followed your sorry-ass showing. Sing your praises for him at a dunk contest….Look even weirder and more full of yourself than you already did. Our NCAA Sweet 16(the game you got spanked by Syracuse) lost real importance when Dustin Dopirak headlined a Scoop story selling it as primary a “going home party” for you…No, it had nothing to do with your coach then….It had nothing to do with Indiana getting back to an elite stage….You went home to DC…You lost…You left. Now be quiet. It wasn’t in you. Whatever effort that could have been left in a Hoosier uniform to make this realistic what you’re giving to fantasy his qualification now was abandoned on an NBA draft night…You said goodbye to that chance…You have no business telling us what he is, or is not , capable at this point.. The world of Tom Crean changes when recruits so blessed to be in his presence leave him at the alter…..for a prettier NBA bride/whore….Please don’t tell us that it he’s a great coach when you didn’t give him the full opportunity to make him more than average. You’re overrated. You’re own a crappy team where it’s easy to pad stats…

  11. Seem you fail to learn on this blog as well coachv. Nobody really respects you so I’d say you have some learning to do as well Mr. Brainiacs.

  12. Oladipo’s quote, “they haven’t even started playing their best basketball yet”. Does he know the season is over? lol lol

  13. Calbert left for that very reason. Difference of opinion on coaching is why he dos not take an assistant job at IU but left to take another one. Crean doesn’t listen to his coaches he has yes men and Calbert wasn’t going to be his yes man for his Gimmick offense.

  14. I agree Omega. They will be very lucky to win one game. Crean is losing support every day. He has to go if IU is to ever get to the top again.

  15. Two of Indiana’s assistant coaches have camped here forever. Don’t they ever get any other job offers? It is apparent nobody on the staff can teach defense. It’s like watching Curly, Larry and Moe.

  16. “In my experience……” LOL!!!

    Omega, either site your sources, tell us you were a witness to Calbert’s interactions with Crean, or confirm that your comments in #15 are nothing more than pure speculation. Looks to me as if you’re just making stuff up out of hole cloth to fit your preferred narrative.

  17. This is not a Grand Jury inquisition. Somebody has been watching to much “Law and Order” and thinks he is a prosecutor with subpoena power. Omega if I were you I would tell him to prove it’s not true or KISS OFF.

  18. Podunker and Ram ; I agree with your points; having said that I would like to know why Kenny Johnson left to take the same job at Louisville??

  19. Coach Crean .. Why can we not play defense? Victory knew how to play defense before he got here. This defense can not work. We have too many players that do not play good defense. When you play this changing defenses it only takes one player too miss up and they score.

  20. Kenny Johnson left for more money. A lot more money. That was an easy decision. And I’m sure he’s received assurances that his boss will no longer try to seduce the wives of his assistant coaches, at least not in restaurant bathrooms.

  21. LJ, Zeller left because he was close to getting his degree and was assured of being an NBA Lottery pick, worth millions of dollars. He’d have been stupid not to pursue the path toward financial security. If he’d stayed at IU and gotten injured, he would have forfeited millions of dollars. He’s a very smart young man and he made the right decision.

    Vonleh also left to pursue the financial rewards offered by the NBA, but news reports suggested that he had the added pressure of providing financial support for his family and that if he could have, he’d have gone pro right out of college.

    It’s just pure nonsense to blame Crean for the “early” departures of Zeller, Vonleh and VO to pursue their careers in the NBA. And when VO comes out in support of his former coach, those same critics are dismissive of his supportive comments. I find it funny that Crean’s hysterical critics, blinded by their intense disdain, are trying to have it both ways. No matter what the facts might be, to them, it’s always Crean’s fault. LOL!

  22. Sorry, that should have said, “right out of High School.”

    One last point. Is anyone blaming or criticizing Wilson when a few of his football players leave early for the NFL draft, or when his Assistant Coaches leave for the same jobs at other schools (like USC, Texas A&M, etc.,)? I must have missed the collective outrage over those personnel changes. Or is it, as Harvard stated not too long ago, that IU Football does not matter?

  23. Po – most of Crean’s critics are just regular critics. The hysterical ones may be loud but there are very few of them.

  24. Did Bob Knight do much recruiting from the East…? I know he went into California…I know he found some solid talent in Ohio(Scott May)…Got Isiah from Chicago….Pretty sure he recruited in the South. And, of course, he usually got the best players from Indiana.. But did he bother recruiting out East?

    Name the best player from the Knight years that played h.s. ball east of Ohio\…? Did we have any kids from New York or Massachusetts..? Virginia? DC area? I simply can’t think of any…I’m sure I’m missing someone.

  25. oops…That was from me….Harvey buckets.

    I tend to think Collin Hartman will make the difference tonight…..

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