The search for a third assistant . . .

As referenced by Caleb in the comments section of the IU’s No. 82 post below, rumors are running rampant right now that former NBA player and Duke grad Roshown McCleod (pronounced Ray-shan McCloud) will fill the final vacancy on Tom Crean’s staff.

McCleod certainly appears to be a possibility. We heard that he may have been in town earlier this summer to begin the process of interviewing for the job. Unlike Tim Buckley and Bennie Seltzer, McCleod has no previous working relationship with Crean. And as Crean has said repeatedly, he was not in a rush to fill the spot since whoever got it could not recruit through July 31st.

You can be sure that Crean, having endured the mess left by Kelvin Sampson and his staff, will go out of his way to vet a new hire. Plus he needs to know the new person will fit in with a close-knit staff.

So there’s nothing to indicate that McCleod is the only candidate at this point.

There’s plenty to indicate that McCleod would be a solid choice.

The 6-8 forward played high school ball for Bob Hurley at St. Anthony (obligatory plug for one of my favorite books ever, The Miracle of St. Anthony, comes now). I’m not sure there’s a more universally respected basketball coach on any level than Bob Hurley.

McLeod then played two seasons at St. John’s in Queens before transferring to Duke to finish his career under the tutelage of Coach K. He was  drafted in 1997 by the Atlanta Hawks and played under Lenny Wilkens before being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, where he played briefly for Larry Brown.

Hurley. Krzyzewski. Wilkens. Brown.


McLeod’s NBA career ended abruptly when a pinched nerve in his knee left him unable to plant his feet correctly, leading to a torn achilles tendon.

Though McLeod has only one season of college coaching experience — at Fairfield in 2002-03 under former Duke assistant Tim O’Toole — he’s been working in basketball in the Atlanta area. And according to this Q&A he did with Duke blogger a year ago, he’s interested in becoming a college coach again:

 If the right opportunity comes along.  I coached at Fairfield under former Duke assistant Tim O’Toole for one year.  That’s when I realized I wasn’t ready yet.  I was thinking like a player and not like a coach.  So, I spent time with my family but eventually came back to the game realizing how much I missed it.  Now, I’m prepared mentally.  It’s tougher being a coach than it is being a player, so you have to prepare.

One of the players McCleod has worked with a bit is Derrick Favors, a top-10 player in the 2009 class. I spoke with an Atlanta source earlier today who told me that Favors, a 6-foot-6, 220-pound power forward, has recently become interested in IU but has no plans to attend the Elite Camp in Bloomington on Aug. 23.

Another player Indiana is apparently making a push for in the class of 2009 is Dominic Cheek, a 6-5 guard who recently played with the U.S. Under-18 team. He attends St. Anthony in Jersey City.

(Crean, it should be noted, has frequently gone after St. Anthony players.)

So, there you have it. That’s a summation of what’s being talked about on the street. And the message boards.


  1. Favors is 6’9″, but who is counting?

    I was surprised to hear that IU was interested in Cheek given our plethera of SG/SFs and already having Maurice signed up for 09 as well. He is planning on coming in and making big contributions immediately, so I would wonder how he feels about the Cheek talk. We would have a depth chart at 2guard of Cheek and Creek. I could see the IU faithful putting together some nice signage for that one!

    I know Coach wants to load up on as much high level talent as he can, though. Its nice to see Coach being able to pull in these guys’ interest even with the coming sanctions still hanging over our head. I have a good feeling he will be putting together top 10 classes for a long time in the future. Especially 2010 and 2011.

    Nice piece Chris.

  2. I think McCleod would be a great addition for a 3rd assistant. He’s exactly what you want. Someone that is just look to start out their career, yet brings unbelievable basketball/recruiting ties.

    I’ve met him a few times and he’s not a typical NBA type player. He treats people with respect and is sincere.

  3. McCleod was also schooled by Andrae Patterson in the 1996 Preseason NIT Finals. He originally attended St. John’s then transferred to Duke.

  4. The LEAST of my concerns with the 3rd assistant is if he’s an ‘IU guy’ or not.

    At the TOP of my concerns is what value he adds as a coach. Next as a recruiter.

    If there were two IDENTICAL candidates for the role, and one was an IU guy and the other wasn’t, I’d take the IU guy. But that’s it. If there were two candidates, one an ‘IU guy’ and the other a ‘Purdue guy,’ and the Purdue alumnus seemed like the better coach and recruiter, then I’d take him in a heartbeat.

    We need talent and ability in Bloomington right now — not pedigree and signing loyalty oaths.

  5. Come on Laffy, they are both top 10-15 guys in their class. As a matter of fact, rates Favors as the #1 overall guy for 2009. You gotta pursue it. I’m not sure if you were one of them, but a bunch of posters were getting all pumped because we didn’t have any “5 star players” now “5 star players” are interested and you aren’t excited??

  6. And I completely agree with you, Eric. IU guy or not, give me the guy who’s gonna bring us a Beasly, Rose, or Durant.

  7. Steve O, I see both sides on this one. I Like to have 5 star players on the team, but I would also like to have them stick around for more then one year.
    If I.U. can get Favors thats on thing, but Wotford we can build a team around.

  8. The previous Eric post was not by me, the Eric who often posts on this site and lives in TN. But, I agree with the other Eric and Steve O. An IU guy would be nice but the best candidate would be better. Sounds like McCloud would really help and a young assistant not too removed from playing always helps recruits relate to the program and team, in my opinion.

  9. Who cares if its an IU guy? We should hire a coach who Crean thinks can add something to the team. And we already have our “Indiana” guy in Tim Buckley.

  10. Totally agree on the “IU guy” topic. Who cares, just get the best coach out there who adds the most value to the team.

    On the recruiting issue I kind of fall in the middle. I think the goal for IU should be to have a top 10 to top 5 recruiting class every year. With that said, if we have one scholarship left and a glut of guards and not many big men, then you have to be smart with that scholarship.

  11. Very true B, but at the same time we know Crean runs a smaller, guard oriented offense. Period. That’s been his style for several years. In his mind if he has the option of say the #2 guard vs. the #5 big man, he will probably almost always take the guard regardless of the situation.

  12. Sorry TN Eric — I should have identified myself a little more clearly in my prior post. I’m in CA myself, so on my (rare) posts on here from now on, I’ll go by Hollywood Eric. 😉

    Glad to see that the group sentiment (on here anyway) is that having worn or worshiped candystripes in the past isn’t a primary concern for assistant coaches. If Kevin Stallings (very good coach and, yes, ‘Purdue guy’) was somehow interested in being a Crean assistant, I’d welcome him to the fold in a second.

  13. Hollywood Eric and everyone else,

    We’re in agreement on not having to have an IU person on the staff. Hollywood, Kevin Stallings has things going really well at Vanderbilt, don’t expect him to go anywhere soon unless it’s as the head coach at a really big school. He is a good coach. Vandy is basically the NW of the SEC, but they’re good anyway under him.

  14. Steve-O in regards to your last post, I see your point about us loading up on 2s and 3s to fit Crean’s system. I would just ask anyone to tell me when the last time a team starting 4 guards won a Championship or even a Big Ten title? And even if you can name a couple in the past decade, its not how you consistently win in the NCAA today. You have to be able to get good high percentage shots inside and you have to be able to rebound the basketball and play good interior defense. Guards dont help you with any of that.

    Just look at it like this:

    Would you rather have 4-5 good bigs that can get good/high percentage shots close to the basket


    Would you rather have 4-5 good SG/SFs that rely on their jumpshots to score?

    Good defensive teams can stop you from hitting a lot of 15-23 footers. I dont care how great your defense is, though, if you cant match up with another team’s talent inside then you dont have much of a great shot at winning the game.

    Bigs win championships in the Big Ten and in the NCAA. You just need a good PG and a couple shooters.

  15. Steve O

    Many people on many different IU boards have brought up the “Crean’s system is for guards” theory, and I just don’t buy it.

    I’ve never played for or worked with a coach that didn’t want good bigs. Could it be that he was just unable to get good big men at Marquette?

    I would expect that at a school like IU with many more recruiting options (once these vialations are in the past) Crean will bring in some good bigs.

  16. I don’t disagree with you B or Caleb, the 4 guard system doesn’t always work. But I’m saying in Crean’s mind, it seems like he’d rather have the #2 guard before the #5 big man. And that is something that may be frustrating to people, but I think that’s gonna be how it is.

    I’d rather have the combo big guy who can go down low or step out and hit the 15 footer with consistancy. And maybe 1 or 2 bruisers underneath.

  17. IU has had trouble getting bigs for a long time. I do agree with some of the posters above (Caleb), you need a handful of bigs to win it all. If anything, for def and rebounding. I think Crean is guard heavy because that is simply what was out there late in the game. I am not sure he was loaded at Marquette with 7 footers but I am not sure. Stepped in on a practce last week and man can they shoot the ROCK from downtown. I was also really impressed with a hook Taber has worked on and I liked the Big Guy Jobe from Olney. He will be all over the boards and is bigger than I expected. Give the big guy and year and he will be really good!

  18. Anyone else notice that Nick Williams was rated the #7 SG in the 2008 class by Espn has the worst recruiting coverage out there, but that seems kind of promising. I have a feeling he’ll be our best player… Also, there is a good Big Ten shootaround article on They have us coming in dead last in the Big Ten this year, which I don’t know if I agree with, but I might just be bias.

  19. I don’t think we’ll come in last, but I also can’t come up with a real strong argument that would make it ridiculous that they have us there.

    I’m not sure that I agree with you about Crean wanting or preferring small lineups, I just think it’s what he had. I guarantee you if he had DJ White at his disposal he would run plays through him.

  20. Guys,
    I’ve been on vacation and haven’t posted in awhile and since we are talking about future recruits…does anybody have any detail info on these three guys?
    John Wilkins from France
    Josh Smith for 2010 6’10 270lbs
    Angus Brandt from Aust 6’11 220 lbs was supposed to have been very impressive in Vegas?

  21. ditto with the John Wilkins recruit question. So far searching the web briefly was John Walter-Wilkins who is 6′ 8″ and is playing in a Euro league and bor

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