Crean talks about vision

With Indiana mired in an eight-game losing streak, the callers into Tom Crean’s weekly radio show Monday didn’t want to talk about the present but instead the future. Mostly, they wanted to know about what sort of players Crean considers ideal at each position.

In the post, as he usually does, he stressed versatility.

“I think he’s gotta be able to have a move and a counter move on both sides of the rim,” Crean said. “Post moves are important, but the ability to finish is far more important. i think you’ve gotta be able to play through them in the sense that you can go inside-out with them. You can go inside, they can kick it back out and follow it. But ultimately, they’ve got to be a threat, and when they don’t score, they’ve gotta be able to go the foul line and make their foul shots. I think there’s no question they gotta be able to hold their spot in the post. I think at this day and age right now, that even as important as holding the spot in the post is the ability to play pick and roll basketball, be able to different things in the pick and roll defensively. There’s very few teams in the league that don’t run pick and roll, there’s very few teams in the country that don’t run pick and roll. It’s very important that you have those guys that do that, and they have got to be factors in the rebounding game. But ultimately, you break it down you want a guy that’s got good hands. That’s got a big wide tail, in proper terms, and that can really, really move their feet defensively and has that intelligence that they know where the other guys on the court should be.”

In a rare occurrence, because a lot of people think he’s overly enamored with perimeter players, Crean was asked what sort of guards he’s actually looking for.

“You want to have at least five pure guards and at least one guy that can swing between the three and four position,” Crean said. “… I think the bottom line is if we could get to a point where we could have three interchangeable guards in the lineup, and what that means is, they’ve all gotta be able to make baskets. One might have the incredible quickness to get to the rim, might have a pull-up game. The other two might be great 3-point shooters. One might be a great 3-point shooter and a pull-up guy. But I really don’t want to have guards down the road that are not shot makers. I think it’s very, very important that our point guard is a 3-point shot maker. We want to run a lot of quick pick and rolls in transition when we have the right kind of guards because I think it’s so easy to get good shots if you have guys that can make decisions off that ball screen coming down the floor at the top of the key or in that slot area.”

Some other discussion points:

— Crean retold the story he tweeted last week about freshman point guard Jordan Hulls. Hulls apparently hit 77 3-pointers in five minutes in a practice drill, including 49 of his last 52. He said in the games, Hull is rushing his shots.

— Crean was asked if he was OK with having football players join the team. He said he was, and that wide receiver Damarlo Belcher was considering joining the team, but that Belcher eventually decided against it.

— Crean said he wants to see a lot of strength training from the big men this spring and summer including more “barbaric” drills like rolling massive tires.


  1. To me it sounds like coach wants all the things many of us complain about. So how do we get the right pieces to make it work? 1. We have some players who can help right now. 2. Coach must demand that the current players improve in their areas of weakness. 3. The current players must push their teammates and themselves to improve. 4. If players don’t improve Coach needs to give their playing time to players who are improving. 5. No players should get playing time just because of past or current minutes. 6. Playing time must be earned by every player. 7. Coach must recruit players that can fit into his game plan. I would tell my players or employees to plan your work and then work your plan. 8. Coach must give every player an improvement plan and then every player must work their plan and be held accountable for improvement. 9. Those players who choose to work hard and improve should be rewarded with playing time and I am not just talking about next year. Coach needs to use these last few games to help the players who will be here next year improve. He says point guards must make plays and be able to hit 3’s. Rivers, who plays the most at the point, can not hit 3’s, has trouble with 2’s and shoots just 56% from the foul line. If coach thinks he needs his speed and defensive skills on the court then move him into the 3 spot. He is a very good rebounder which would help and he could still put him on the other teams best player on defense.
    Coach needs to do what he he says with the big guys now! We all
    know that Hulls is a good shooter but do his teammates know? When IU had good shooters in the past the team and the coaches ran plays to get them open. Coach says Hulls is rushing his shot so run plays so he has a little more time to shoot. Steve Alford, the idol of some posters, was not a quick kid and he had trouble beating guys off the dribble but his teammates knew he could hit shots and they got him open. Coach please start now with your plans. I still have the Faith!

  2. Glad he threw in the “down the road” disclaimer when he said he wants his guards to be albe to hit open looks including 3’s because he has one guard that is getting a whole lot of minutes that has a real problem hitting any kind of shot. Overall I liked what he had to say and think he is trying as hard as he can to fill the needs we have where it is the most glaring. Agree with ronb in that he seems to need to run something specifically for Hulls to be able to have more time to get his shot off plus Crean stated earlier in the season that Hulls probably understands how to run the pick and roll better than anyone on the team so let’s make sure we work on that with what is left of the season and not just on Hulls’ side of things. The other side of the pick and roll is where most of the improvement is needed IMHO.

  3. I think the comment about needing a point guard who can shoot may have been an indirect stab at Rivers. Is Crean perhaps going with the tactic of publicly holding players accountable? He’s called Watford out too the last few games.

    A lot of people griped because Crean has been to nice to his players throughout the season. I think he has been extremely lenient, but most likely out of necessity. It just seems that some of these players lack the mental makeup to take a verbal lashing. Perhaps now that the season is winding down, Crean is throwing that caution to the wind a bit.

  4. Creek’s injury was a big blow however you look at it. This season though seems completely finished. Maybe next year with a healthy Roth, Creek and stronger, wiser players we’ll be like No. 12 Pittsburgh. We beat them this year! I think it’s perfectly plausible that Crean can take us to where Pitt is next year if no more injuries occur. And I would even bet there will be no transfers (for once!). Crean is OK. I think he’s actually honest but caught between a rock and a hard place. Let’s hope for a New Mexico – Indiana in the Final Four of 2011!

  5. My vision is a winning season, an NCAA berth, and a victory over Minnesota that doesn’t warrant a court storm.

  6. Wake up and smell the roses. yes it was a huge loss when we lost Mo Creek, but this team has given up and we have a coach who only makes excuses. Has anyone notice the great job Steve Alford has done at New Mexico. He should have been hired as the coach when Knight was fired and Davis was given the posititon instead. He certainly should have been given the opportunity when that cheater was hired and he was a better candidate than Cream. I am not critizing Cream, it just burns me that Alford was never given the chance to prove what a great coach he is. But wait, I guess he is proving it to us all. Think what he could have done at IU with his recruiting ability. Sadly, we will probably never know and instead of trips to the final four and big ten championship banners, we are destined to be in the second tier of the big 10 as long as Cream is here. How very, very sad.

Comments are closed.