Crean: “I don’t have a lot of respect for that.”

Interesting day at the track.

Tom Crean, who has been slowed by pretty much nothing since become Indiana basketball coach, found something he couldn’t overcome: the rain.

Crean was supposed to be the honorary starter for practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today, but rain washed out the session. Crean still made his way around the facility, meeting with old friends — his brother-in-law Jim Harbaugh once was part owner of Panther Racing — and making new ones.

He also took a few laps in the pace car with assistant coach Bennie Seltzer and video coordinator Brian Barone.

Then, as Crean has done about many of the issues confronting Indiana basketball, he spoke quite frankly about the departure of Eli Holman.

For background: Holman left unexpectedly last Thursday, and did so with an outburst that led to police being called (no charges were pressed.) Holman has since enrolled at Detroit Mercy and will play for the new coach there, Ray McCallum.

McCallum, of course, was an assistant for Indiana the past two years and was the choice of the players on the team to replace Kelvin Sampson.

Now, here’s the transcript of what Crean said today.

Question: How much did the Eli thing take you aback? Have you ever had anything happen quite like that?

Crean: No. Never had anything like that. It was disappointing on a lot of fronts and it, I wouldn’t say it totally came out of nowhere, but he did a great job of portraying that he was pretty happy with the way things were. And then we were led to believe it was a family decision and (he) wanted to get closer to home and that doesn’t look like that’s the way it’s going to turn out. I don’t think there’s any doubt that there was a certain amount of orchestrating going on. It’s disappointing. It’s very disappointing on a lot of fronts but that’s really all I have to say about that at this point.

Question: Can you say what prompted the outburst? Do you know?

I don’t know. I would say not getting the answer that he probably would have liked. It was about taking some time to go through this, but, I’ve seen now, this was totally part of an orchestration. It just was. I don’t have a lot of respect for that. I like Eli and I wish him well. I really do. In the short time we were with him, I liked him. But I don’t have a lot of respect for the way that it turned out.

Question: Did you put any conditions on Eli’s release?

No, not really. But it’s all sort of starting to play out, isn’t it?


  1. How refreshing to have a coach answer a question…and honestly. It was frustrating to always hear……I will not comment on that.

  2. Good riddance to Holman and the rest of them. If they didn’t appreciate the opportunity to get their education at one of the finest universities in the country and play for one of the best programs, then good-bye! AND I just lost a huge amount of respect for McCallum, assuming he was the one who orchestrated the whole situation. In retrospect, IU should be happy with it’s decision NOT to have McCallum as the head coach….would have been more game playing! We FINALLY have a great coach!!!!

  3. stacey, you hit it on the head!hoosier nation will unite and soon we will have another banner in the hall

  4. Now we finally see the connection between McCallum and Sampson. If you were like me, you were on this guys side. We all knew his son was on his way to IU.

    But the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree does it? Ray Sr., you’re a loser just like your buddy Kelvin. Have fun over there at Detroit Mercy? That’s the best you could do after being #2 at IU? That’s a huge step forward buddy.

  5. So, reading between the lines, and saying some things that maybe Crean and/or others (and maybe even the Hoosier Scoop can’t say, but I can because I know nothing and can hypothesize), someone (and we can guess the connection) would have told Holman to (a) be nice initially and create a good relationship with Crean, (b) then Holman would go to Crean and say “I want to play closer to home because of family and homesickness, etc.” (c) leading up to Holman saying to Crean “because I want to play closer to home and for family reasons, please release me and allow me to avoid the one-year that I would have to sit out for transferring.”

    Then, when Crean said that the rules require the one-year sit and IU wouldn’t release Holman from that, Holman got mad and broke something.

    Then, it turned out Crean’s instincts were correct.

    As soon as that was past and it hadn’t worked, it became clear that Holman was intent on going to Detroit Mercy all along to be with McCallum and was just trying to “play” Crean to avoid the one-year sit.

    Hmmmm. Not criminal, but certainly not straightforward, direct, up front. As Crean said, “orchestrated.”

    West Coast Hoosier

  6. 1.) Wow. I didn’t know Crean was such a straight shooter. That’s absolutely awesome.

    2.) I guess McCallum had quite an ego. Sampson’s ego was obvious once the situation played out, but these guys all sound like they had god complexes. Adios, am-egos!

    3.) Eli Holman was gracious in apologizing to everyone affected by his tantrum, so let’s give him a break. It’s pretty clear that McCallum was pulling the strings of a confused kid, so I can’t blame the kid for acting out. I hope he succeeds in life and puts his past behind him.

    I always give people the benefit of the doubt. People like Sampson and McCallum make me look like an idiot for doing it, but I always will.

    What comes around goes around.

  7. This word ‘orchestrated’ has been used over and over again but i’m still not sure what everyone means. What exactly was ‘orchestrated’ and why was that a bad thing?

    The only thing i see wrong with ANY of this is that Eli may have pretended like he wanted to stay at IU all the while intending to transfer but it’s not like those few weeks hurt the program at all? We had so many scholarships available his transfer basically just leaves another one open to go get another ’08 or ’09 guy.

    I suppose you could say McCallum tried to get the job by using the players but there was no chance he was getting the job if Dakich wasn’t.

  8. Interesting how everyone jumped all over Greenspan for promoting Dakich instead of McCallum. Maybe he knew more than people gave him credit for. Contrast Dakich’s actions since Sampsons departure vs. McCallum’s.

  9. To West Coast Hoosier: Any player that transfers from one D1 program to another must sit out one year. That year can be waived through a hardship (like the former Iowa player that transferred to Tennessee to be near his cancer terminal father). Most likely, CTC wasn’t going to let Eli out of his Scholarship. He probabley wanted him to give more thought to his decision. If a school will not release a student from his Scholarship, the player would have to pay for the one year he sits out. He would then be able to get a scholarship at the other D1 school the second year. I believe this is how it works. Someone correct me if I am wrong.

  10. David, what they mean by “orchestrated” is that they illegally went behind Indiana’s back and recruited Eli (amongst others) to another school. This could have transpired well before the season ended while Ray was still at IU promising playing time if they followed and or it could have come afterwards.

    All I know is that SOMETHING was incredibly odd the night Eli met Crean in his office. I am not going to pretend to be Cleo and say what it was, but SOMETHING wasn’t right.

  11. It’s very common in business for people to give simple answers as to why they want to leave just to avoid difficult discussions. Once the mind is made up they’re usually looking for the path of least resistance. That said, Crean obviously knows more to the story.

    I guess if I’ve learned one thing over the past few months it’s to not underestimate the bond built between a recruiter/coach and the player. The kid who says “I want to play at IU regardless of the coach” is a rare find.

  12. Sorry, but I don’t see anything wrong with Ray bringing some “former” IU players with him, IF the player is the one who initiated the contact. Hell, I really don’t even have a problem with him saying something like “I’ll have a spot for you at Detroit if you decide you want a change.” I DO have a problem with him if he was the one trying to “coach” Eli into getting Crean to let him out of his scholarship immediately so that he could play next season. At this point I’m not sure if that was Ray’s call or Eli’s and we may never know.

    In the end, I think it worked out pretty well for everyone. Eli gets to go play for the coach he wants (albeit after he sits on the pine another year), Ray gets a big man with alot of potential who likely never would have ended up at UDM any other time, and IU gets rid of a player who didn’t want to be there and has some anger problems.

    GO CREAN, keep up the GREAT work!

  13. John L., quite a contrast in behavior. Dakich is an IU man and a class act. The other two were just acts. Good riddance of all the Sampson links.

  14. West Cost Hoosier –

    Don’t be confused by the “one year sit out” rule , which is a NCAA rule and which only the NCAA has the ability to waive. This is requirement whenever a student-athlete transfers from one Division-A school to another Division-A school. The NCAA has waived this requirement on extremely rare occcasions.

  15. Let’s think about this. I’m the tallest returning scholarship player to a big time basketball program with extensive national TV exposure and a schedule that features some of the top competition in the country. I will however be playing for a new, albeit proven, coach with the style of play that fits my abilities better than any half court style. But my current school is under some scrutiny and may be subject to further sanctions from the NCAA however remote of a chance. I also have the option of asking for a release from my scholarship to go play for one of the coaches who initially recruited me but hasn’t been a head coach in several years and the school is a mid-major program with very limited if not non-existent success in recent years… they have absolutely no exposure to prospective NBA scouts (since I firmly believe I am NBA caliber). You know what, I’m smarter than these Hoosier jokers….I’ll show them….I’m gonna ask for my release and go to UDM and be a star. What I have to sit out ANOTHER year?? I barely played last year! F you coach Crean and your potted plantery!

    WOW! Can’t help but feel sorry for a kid who has delusions of grandeur. Good luck Eli. We’ll keep an eye out for you on Sportscenter or the NBDL.

  16. Anybody know if it’s an NCAA violation for a coach to talk to a player who’s on scholarship at another school in hopes of convincing him to transfer to that coach’s school? That seems to be what McCallum has done, on some level. I’ve always thought that transfers had to contact the school they’re transferring to, not the other way around. But, that may be an unspoken rule or a matter of courtesy rather than an NCAA regulation.

  17. I don’t want to compare the two, but I see some similarities between Crean’s statement and Bruce Weber “crying” about losing Eric Gordon. I love Crean, but I kind have wish he just would have kept quiet on this one. And hopefully the same IU fans who lambasted Weber aren’t the one’s commending Crean for taking a stand.

  18. The fact that Weber was upset about Gordon isn’t the issue. It’s that Weber (and Illinois) wouldn’t let it go. If Crean is still harping on this 3 months from now, you’ll have a point.

  19. Eli Holman is not going to amount to anything on the basketball court anyway. We don’t need him or Ray McCallum Jr.- or SR. for that matter. Crean is Awesome…… this guy is the real deal, and we will win Big Ten Championships and NCAA Championships with him.

  20. Man I cant believe we all bought that Sampson garbage as long as we did. There were so many deep roots of deceit and lies and bs brewing that it just keeps coming up to the surface no matter how hard we all try to move on.

    Forget Eli. Who cares? The dude was unproven at best and a fragile thug at worst. Let it go. Weeding the garden is never a fun job, but damn it sure looks good once its done.

  21. Jordan,

    I thought this as well but the two are quite different. 1. Gordon was not at ILL and had not signed a loi. Eli was on scholarship at IU. I think this sounds fishy if you ask me. I would like to know when the plane ticket was purchased for Eli to visit Detroit. That is the question. I did not think it made sense that a player would blow up when asking for his release. Now things are starting to fit together. If he does not want toplay at IU I am fine with that, but if another coach is picking off players then that is a problem.

  22. Forget Eli. Who cares? The dude was unproven at best and a fragile thug at worst. Let it go. Weeding the garden is never a fun job, but damn it sure looks good once its done.

    Exactly lets get behind the new guy at IU and forget the past.

  23. Eric, here are the requirement if a player is going to transfer to another school according to

    “Generally, if you’re going full-time to an NCAA or NAIA four-year school and you want to transfer to a different NCAA school to play, your current school’s athletic director must give written permission to the new coach or member of the athletics staff before you or your parents can talk with one of them. That’s called having a permission-to-contact letter.

    “You may write to any NCAA college saying that you’re interested in transferring, but the new coach must not discuss transfer opportunities with you unless he or she has received written permission from your current school.

    “If your current school does not give you permission, another school cannot contact you and encourage you to transfer . . .

    “If your current school officials do not give you permission to transfer, they must tell you in writing that you have a right to appeal your case. In that instance, a panel of people from your current school who are not involved with athletics will meet to decide the issue.”

  24. Detroit is not the place to go if you’re someone who needs to get away from trouble and walk the straight and narrow. I hate to say this, but Eli will be lucky to leave Michigan alive (remember, he barely made it out of Richmond) or without attending the School of Hard-knocks (the state penitentiary). I hope you prove me wrong Eli, good luck!

  25. Should Crean really be whining and insinuating things about the Eli to Detroit connection when he didn’t hire his former Marquette assistants until players that were Marquette recruits ”reconsidered” and followed Crean to IU?

    Crean has no reason to complain about Ray since he took the shady recruiting path too.

    What is it they say about “birds of a feather”? Crean should just keep his mouth shut and go on with the kids that were going to be Marquette players.

    The more Crean sounds like Webber, the less I like him.

  26. Bottom line, Tom Crean is not the coach he signed up to play for. Let him go, we will be better off in the long run! Crean had two players come to Indiana after picking Marquette. Yes, I know they were not on the team yet but it shows that a large majority of kids sign with a coach not a university.

  27. Good point Jordan. Coach could have chosen to let it go and not comment. For my nickel, I like that he gave us an opinion. I want to hear more. Next year should be an interesting season for the IU faithful. Take a look back at twenty years ago and compare the recruiting game to today. Schools should register on the Dow Jones, because it is big business now.

  28. I hate how all of this is going right now. From the players we are losing to the players we are bringing it. It’s all getting ridiculous. Ray is a hell of a guy, by the way. He grew up not far from where I live and comes back all the time, plays with kids at open gyms, and I’ve even played with him at the HPER. He didn’t hit me in the groin, elbow me in the mouth, or anything dirty. And maybe Eli’s transfer to Detroit will land him in the NBA. People have come to the NBA from crazier places than that and have become NBA All-Stars and key contributors to championship squads (Dennis Rodman, Ben Wallace, Scottie Pippen)

  29. Letting Eli go is going to effect IU basketball more than a LOT of people on here think.. He does have great character as I’ve met him in person, and really is a TOUGH player, but I do wish him the best myself.

  30. Ray may be a hell of a guy but he has already committed an NCAA infraction by discussing Eli coming to DM before he had permission from IU. That’s what Eli was trying to finesse. Eli will be lucky if he isn’t stripped of his eligibility. As to recruits following the coach to a new school, that’s the way it usually works. Nothing wrong there.

  31. How interesting it is that the boo birds are coming out of the woodwork again. Tom Crean is a class act and is a hell of an improvement over what we’ve had for the last several years. He was asked about the Holman affair and in his usual manner was truthful and as diplomatic as he could be without naming names or pointing fingers. I say you so-called “fans” s— or get off the pot. If McCallum violated a NCAA rule, he needs to face the consequences. IF he was unethical, the truth will come out. Also, to even insinuate any comparison between TC and Bruce Weber is pathetic. Weber is a little girl, sounds like one, acts like one, stomps his little foot like one and has no class whatsoever. Be happy that we’ve got a coach with nads and who is working his rear off within the limits caused by Sampson’s lack of ethics and who is in the process of remediating the damage. If you’re a real fan, act like one — or go support the pig farmers up north.

  32. I find it even more interesting how everytime IU gets a new coach … the fans jump on the band waggon saying new is awesome … old was a piece of crap anyway. Where is the love … CREAN your day is coming soon when you’ll be known as former IU crap.

  33. I find it sad that some of you actually think it is wrong of real IU fans to expect better from their coach and players. You don’t like us questioning the intentions of Eli and Ray McCallum? You don’t see this whole process was a contrived little ploy to get Holman to Detroit? Then you are either ignorant or a family member of Eli or Ray. Eli should have just been honest instead playing this little game. I’m thankful that the likes of Sampson, McCallum, Ellis, Holman and the rest of these “me first” people are no longer a part of IU basketball.

  34. As one of my relatives is fond of saying…

    Eli and others…. don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split ya!

  35. Bottom line..McCallum surreptitiously talked to the players to either get him the Head coaching Job or if that didn’t work follow him somewhere.

    Ya don’t think Ray promised to bring a team with him when he interviewed for the Detroit job do ya???

  36. “I find it even more interesting how everytime IU gets a new coach … the fans jump on the band waggon saying new is awesome … old was a piece of crap anyway. Where is the love … CREAN your day is coming soon when you’ll be known as former IU crap.”

    You are wrong on so many levels. Lets look at the last three coaching hires. First, Knight gets fired and they hire Davis. Um, no one was calling Knight crap and no one was particularly excited about Davis so your logic is wrong there. Second, Davis gets fired and they hire Sampson. This time Davis is called crap and had been long before he was fired, so of course many fans welcomed Sampson, if only because he WASN’T Davis. Again your logic is wrong because the fans had been calling for Davis’s head two years before he “resigned.”

    Now to the final hire of Crean after Sampson is fired. Yeah Sampson is being called crap now, but thats because we didn’t know what is going on behind the scenes until after Sampson left. Sure most of us liked Sampson at the start of last year because a) We didn’t know he was still violating the rules and lying about b) We didn’t know he was letting the players do whatever they want c) We didn’t know the players weren’t going to class and d) All we knew was we had a ton of talent and a chance to win a Big Ten title.

    Now that we have found out about a-c, I think we have the right to change our minds and be excited about Crean, especially considering the kind of resume he brings with him. Next time think a little bit before you just make some random, ignorant comment.

  37. Would the idiots who called for McCallum over Dakich please raise your hands??? Oh wait, it’s the same people who are talking s*** on him now. What a bunch of band waggon jumping goons.

  38. I’ll be the first to admit I was curious as to why they hired Dakich to replace Sampson instead of McCallum . . . but I didn’t have a crystal ball to see what scum McCallum was. I guess Steve O did. The lesson for the day there’s always more going on behind the scenes then we all know so we shouldn’t be so quick to judge the decisions of the people in power. Case in point, Rick Greenspan was CRUCIFIED by the media and fans for hiring Sampson, and then compounding the problem by picking Dakich to replace him instead of McCallum (whom the players wanted). As the details have come out, it looks like Sampson was more Adam Herbert’s decision and Greenspan was obviously right about Dakich over McCallum too. I think we all owe Greenspan a bit of an apology and I for one, will be less quick to judge the decisions until things have a chance to play out

    On another topic, if a player is releaseed (i.e., Bassett, Thomas and Ellis) I don’t think they have to sit out a year (someone correct me if I’m wrong). I think Holman was trying to be released

  39. Everybody please remember that by the time Eli actually steps on the court again for a live game that he won’t have played in a competitive situation for nearly 3 years! Wow, he had the opportunity to come in a be a potential starter for one of the greatest programs in NCAA history and instead he chooses to ride-the-pine at Detroit Mercy? Sorry, Eli…your never going to make in the NBA, but perhaps you should join the UAA now to start planning for a job in auto parts manufacturing?

  40. Brian, your logic is flawed. It’s like voting for Busch then later realizing he’s a complete buffoon. But you didn’t know at the time, so it’s ok.

    The problem is, you didn’t know anything about the guy, you just jumped on the band wagon.

  41. Steve O, how exactly do you expect ANYONE to take you seriously if you can’t even spell the President of the United States last name correctly. I mean seriously, its four letters. B-U-S-H

    You obviously have had a few too many Busch beers…

  42. Ohhh sorry Brad, didn’t know the grammar police were out on patrol, I’ll have to make sure I spell check and write a rough copy before i post next time. Thanks for the heads up man.

    I think my point was pretty clear regardless of my spelling error. Thanks.

  43. JD,

    Crean is not whining, he has good reason to state the obvious. Anyone with any smarts and coach Crean is one of them knows when someone is trying to BS him and call it for what it is. Eli is a Sampson deciple who cannot act with any moral character. Why you on here if you do not support our coach and what he is trying to do there, which is weed out all the thugs and losers left over from the Sampson mess. Go join the anti Tom Crean websites or fire coach Crean websites. You will have plenty of buddies who agree with you!

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