Crean discusses McLeod, Northwestern; The walking wounded speak

Tom Crean had to meet, face to face, with the Indiana media for the first time Wednesday since dismissing assistant coach Roshown McLeod late Sunday night. The IU coach said he understood the reasoning for the question, but said he wouldn’t be any more forthcoming about the situation than he has already been.

“It’s where it’s at,” Crean said. “I really don’t want to go a lot further than that. I understand the positions that you guys are in with asking that question and wanting to know more. I understand that. But everything from me right now is to make sure that we are totally focused on what we’re trying to do here. That doesn’t mean that I’m not already in the process of thinking of what I’m going to do the next time. It would be foolish for me to say, ‘Oh, I’m going to put all that off and not think about it until the end of the year.’ Of course I think about it. My job, day in and day out is to make this program better than it was the day before in every aspect and get everybody pulling in the same direction all the time. It’s a lot easier said than done.”

Crean was then asked about what sort of criteria he would use to fill the vacant position.

“I have a pretty good idea of what I want to get accomplished with that job,” he said. “I’m not looking to find a person and then build the role around them. I want to find a person that fits exactly what we need. I have a pretty good view of what that is, but I’m still trying to really definitely figure that out. That I have not put a lot of time into yet. I’m probably pretty clear but not totally clear on what I want from that position. There will be some basic tenets of it that are really, really important. You guys can probably figure that out just as easy as I could say it when it comes to going in the same direction, trust, loyalty and all of those kinds of things.

He said he doesn’t have an exact time table but said “I don’t see it being a long time.”

Crean said that Dane Fife, a former Indiana player and the current coach at Indiana University Purdue University-Fort Wayne was at practice on Wednesday with his staff, but said that Fife had scheduled the visit some time ago and that it didn’t have anything to do with his open coaching position.

“This was planned ahead of time,” Crean said. “I didn’t even bring it up to him in the sense of ‘You know, people are going to look at it that way.’ That didn’t have anything to do with it. He’s been to practices before. He’s been around. He brought a couple of his coaches, and I thought that was good. That’s something that he contacted me about last week.”

Crean said he would not discuss any specific candidates for the position.

There was of course, some time in there to discuss Indiana’s rematch with Northwestern in the first round of the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis at about 5 p.m. today. Crean said that after Saturday’s win, there appears to be a burden lifted off his team.

“I think everybody’s barbell on their shoulder is a different weight,” Crean said. “Mine was about 70 pounds, maybe more. But I think for everybody it is. They’ve been working so hard.”

Having an immediate rematch changes preparation slightly, Crean admitted. In some ways its easier, but both teams know that they will both change for this game.

“We’ve just gotta make a few adjustments, make a few additions,” Crean said. “There was definitely some things they did that hurt us, so we want to get those things corrected.”

Injured guards Maurice Creek and Matt Roth were also made available to the media for the first time since their respective injuries. Creek said he is healing on time, but that he can’t run yet and expects to be able to start doing that some time this summer. He said the time away from the court has helped him bulk up to around 205 pounds that he’s improved his basketball IQ by his time sitting on the bench and watching from a coach’s seat.

“That’s one thing I’ve been able to do is see the game as a coach,” Creek said. “Taking stats wise and just looking at what the other players are doing, you know, I’m in the front of the line now where the coaches are and take stats like how many stops we get in a row or how many offensive and defensive boards we get. … It’s a privilege to do something like that.”

Roth talked at length about his injury and why he appeared to come so close to getting back on the floor before making the decision to push for a medical hardship year.

“I talked to the coaching staff and had ideas about it,” Roth said. “In my mind, I thought at the beginning of February, there was a chance if I could come back and play, I would do that. It got to that point, and I was like, ‘Well, I’ll give it another week.’ Then it just kept leaning. ‘OK, maybe I’ll give it another day, I’ll see what it feels like tomorrow.’ It just didn’t happen. It didn’t feel right. Especailly with any leg injury or a foot, it’s hard to push it if it doesn’t feel right because you use your legs in anything you do in basketball. It just came to the point that it was the decision I had to make.”

Roth said the reason it didn’t heal quickly was where the break was.

“From what I understand, a foot doesn’t heal very well, especially in my situation where it’s the fifth metatarsal, which is the outside,” Roth said. “I don’t think there’s a lot of blood flow. They used a lot of bone stimulators and calcium pills to try to strengthen that bone. It just comes to the point of balance. That’s something that I really struggled with when I was trying to push myself. The balancing and staying on my feet when doing things other than a straight line.”

We’ll have audio in a few. Internet connection at the Hall is struggling today.

UPDATE, 5:58

Back at the H-T with better internet. Here’s some audio.

AUDIO: Tom Crean talks about Northwestern, his team and Roshown McLeod

AUDIO: Verdell Jones talks about playing Northwestern again

AUDIO: Maurice Creek talks about his injured life.

AUDIO: More Maurice (I interviewed someone else and came back)

AUDIO: Matt Roth talks about his foot and using an umbrella as a crutch

18 comments

  1. “Trust, Loyalty, and all those kind of things”….WOW! I can really see that comment lighting up the message boards, kind of makes it seem like McLeod may have been undermining the team in some way but we’ll probably never know for sure. It will be interesting to see McLeod’s statement if he makes one.

  2. TC; Hope we moved on with the thinking I.U. BB Needs an I.U. person dealing with Recuiting non an Dukie {ACC-Big East} ALUM. This really makes people wonder First Iving now Abraham having IU so high on their lists suddenly only 2 jump ship? Yes we realize BK is’t walking in. But someone with NBA EXP. COULD? COULDN’T THEY?

  3. I love love Dane Fife, but he’s a head coach of a Div. I school, albeit a tiny one in a minnow conference. All that said, I’m just not sure he’d give up a head coaching position for an assistant’s job at his alma mater.

  4. I want to know if it’s true that McLeod contacted another school about a coaching position, told them, that if he was hired he would bring two Indiana players with him? I would welcome Fife with open arms! I think Crean is on the right track, but some former Indiana players flavor would help.

  5. McLeod,did nothing wrong,he would not sell his sole to the devil, TC tell the truth and tell how you mistreat players and continuously try to ruin lives. Toms UNLAWFULLY mistreatment for the sake of a $$$. Tom, By gholly, who hired that bum.

  6. Sigh, the trolls are back. McLeod never struck me as a humble person. Even his quotes saying how great he would still be in the NBA had he not been injured, doesn’t strike me as a mature individual. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the rumors are true, but Crean will be better served not saying anything more. Let McLeod speak his piece, and move on.

  7. I believe for DF to relocate to AH he would have to initiate the action. I just don’t see TC knocking on the door of a head coach. I may be wrong but is how I read it.

  8. J Pat, I just don’t buy it. You can’t get experience like head coaching experience as an assistant anywhere. It was a major coup d’etat for Dane to land the IPFW job at his age, and I think he’s done a fine job with that program, under the circumstances and with what he’s had to work with.

    I could be wrong (and frequently am), but I’m willing to bet most coaches, if given a choice between an assistant’s job at a high-major program and a head coaching job at a small Div. I program, would choose the latter.

  9. I’ve seen commenters throwing Calbert Cheaney’s name around as an asst. How about Greg Graham? He’s been coacing at Warren Central for the past few years, so presumably knows what’s going on in Indy. He’s an eventual IU hall of famer for sure.

    TC might be looking for someone to coach/recruit big men, so that might rule GG out. I’m just thinking he’s a more logical choice than Cheaney since he has coaching experience under his belt.

  10. JB,

    This is an excellent question. In my opinion, I think his silence is showing that he was in the wrong with something. If he was fired for no apparent reason, I believe you would be hearing from him on how unfair it was. I know he is putting a statement together, but something is up if it takes 4 days (and counting) to get a statement out.

  11. DD, I could be wrong as well but I was looking at it like he has done really all he can do where he is. The winning and recruiting there will not get much better. He has done well but has not set the world on fire. Does he step up into a bigger job from there with his resume or does he come to IU and help rebuild, be Creans right hand man, and then move on to a bigger job? Who knows but I understand where you are coming from.

  12. The decision is up to the coach, and these things do happen in sports. Theres allot of good iu people out there would suitable for the job. Time will tell won’t it.

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