Stray questions from today’s discussion

Here are a couple of questions that came in during the chat this morning but we didn’t get to:

What is your opinion of the IU athletic Department, specifically Rick Greenspan? Should he stay or go?

Erich Stout, Bloomington

Erich,

Rick Greenspan has done a terrific job with many facets of the athletic department. I’ve only been here 20 months and I still feel like I’m only just getting a feel for the history at Indiana, but the fact that he orchestrated the construction projects you see on 17th Street — after others had failed so often to get approval for that sort of work — shows how effective he is. And you should hear the financial people rave about what he’s done for the department’s budget; it was his ability to tighten up the revenue and expenditure balance that changed the atmosphere within athletics and enabled the expansion we’re seeing.

But that atmospheric change has created an insular institution and has shoved some of IU’s characteristic Midwestern folksiness to the side. Also, Greenspan clearly prefers working with people he hired and that has created some minor rifts. The handling of the Sampson situation was obviously a complete fiasco from beginning to end, but what part Greenspan had in that is difficult to determine. He certainly took the brunt of the criticism but he also clearly has many external forces (with big egos or big wallets or important job titles) leaning on him.

All in all, he’s a very, very good athletic director. But his method of trying to bring IU to the level it should be at as a member of the Big Ten involves many strategies that shift the focus away from the typical fan; he’s concerned primarily with generating revenue, which means catering to donors and finding new things to charge the rest of you for.

What I think will be interesting to watch is how Greenspan evolves if the Tom Crean hire works out. Has Greenspan been so strict (and that is probably a kind description) because he felt a need to re-make the department a bit — is he so severe because he sees it as the only way to change the culture? If so, will he loosen up once everything becomes more stable?

Thanks for the question. Take care.

what position best fits tiptons elston at IU

brutus56, peru in

Tough question.

As we reported when he was hired, Tom Crean’s Marquette teams were known for getting up and down the floor. But as I’ve done more research into Crean it seems to me that he’s not a really stubborn coach; he’ll let his roster dictate a lot of what he does.

When Derek Elston arrives at Indiana, the Hoosiers will presumably have the following post players:

  • 6-9 Eli Holman (who will be a junior)
  • 6-8 Tom Pritchard (sophomore)
  • 6-8 Bobby Capobianco (freshman)
  • 6-8 Derek Elston (freshman)

There’s also Brandon McGee, a 6-7 guard/forward who obviously loves to shoot the 3 but might be able to become a decent inside presence if someone coaches him to be. And there’s always the chance that Indiana could add other players to the front line, such as Lawrence North’s Stephan Van Treese (class of 2009) or Josh Harrelson, the 2008 recruit that Zak Keefer wrote about yesterday (check four posts down from this one).

So it seems like Crean will have a lot of options there, but I wonder how much diversity there will be. What we know about Holman is that he’s a very good shot blocker. Pritchard seems to be a tough player who might take a year to really adjust to the speed and athleticism he’ll see during the Big Ten season.

Elston has one ability that Crean we’ll like: he can spread the floor. He’s not a stationary player and even if he were to beef up I don’t see him ever being anchored to the paint. If his outside shooting improves — his father is a legend at North Carolina because of his touch — I see Elston being used to create mismatches. Either he’ll be a four who can draw his bigger, slower defender away from the net or he’ll play the three and out-muscle his man.

I realize that’s a pretty generic explanation, but if it does play out this way it will be a major step for Indiana because it has had no such flexibility the past two seasons.

Thanks for the question. Take care.

Any insight on who Crean might be looking at to fill out the bench on the coaching end. Do you think he would consider Calbert? I understand he is interested in that aspect and w/ his school ties and NBA background..I think he’d be a good fit? Thoughts?

Dallas, Indy

Dallas,

My only insight right now is that it’s probably taking Crean a little bit longer to find that third assistant than he anticipated. Also, I would not be surprised at all to see him make a run at a former Indiana player — Tom Coverdale? Michael Lewis? — for that spot. Crean has quickly tried to embrace Indiana’s past, even going so far as to be brave enough to mention his affection for Bob Knight. That’s been taboo in Bloomington for some time. Even Dan Dakich, who is quite out-spoken, shied from discussion of The General.

Calbert Cheney obviously wouldn’t be a bad option for that third slot, for all the reasons you point out.

Thanks for the question. Take care.