Derek Elston, Bobby Capobianco say they want to come back

INDIANAPOLIS — The two Hoosiers most-speculated to transfer — Derek Elston and Bobby Capobianco — both said they want to return next season after the 61-55 loss to Penn State.

“This is my family,” Elston said. “These guys are my brothers. I am going to go out there and fight with them everyday until my four years are up.”

Capobianco said: “Of course. Derek said it the best — these are our brothers. This is a family. We’re here to battle and we’re going into it the same way next season.”

It’d be hard to blame either for leaving or staying.

Elston has had maybe the shortest leash of any Hoosier during his two seasons with the team and Thursday was no different. He did not enter the game until the 15:29 mark of the second half, and proceeded to pick up three fouls in three minutes. Back to the bench he went.

“I was a little disappointed, but that’s just the way the game goes,” Crean said. “If Coach (Crean) needs me, he’s going to put me in there. If he doesn’t, I got to deal with it. I realize I have my downs and other people have their ups.”

Capobianco didn’t even make it to the scorer’s table, registering his sixth DNP of the season. A nearly constant fouler — he committed 44 fouls in 165 minutes this season — Capobianco last played meaningful minutes on Feb. 5 (13 minutes against Iowa; zero points, zero rebounds, two fouls).

“I got to get in there and battle and rebound,” Capobianco said. “Just do the things that I was brought here to do. Make shots when I am open. … I think there’s a good amount of stuff to work on in the offseason.”

Elston is playing out of position at Indiana — he’s a natural 4 (remember that pretty 18-footer he had during his high school career at Tipton) trying to play the 5. Capobianco struggles with the speed of the game in the Big Ten. Both have two years of eligibility remaining and could easily excel at new homes in the Missouri Valley, Mid-American or Horizon Conference.

But they want to stay and they want to be a part of the rebuilding project everyone around the program insists is still making progress.

“I think it’s hard for a lot of people to see because you have seen us play 30-some odd times,” Capobianco said, “but there are countless other days in practice when we’re in there grinding it out, where guys have made huge strides and gotten better in so many different areas.”


  1. I never like rooting for players to transfer unless they have bad character issues. Neither of these guys have said issues. The 2009 class has to be somewhat commended for signing with a team coming off a 6 win season.

    Capobianco could have gone to West Virginia and enjoyed a Final Four season last year. Instead he chose to come to my alma mater and endure the worst seasons its basketball team has ever gone through. Props to him for that.

    That being said, IU desperately needs to improve its big man play, and the most likely way to do that is through the JUCO ranks.

  2. I’m confused…they just finished a very rough and, for, them disappointing season and you immediately asked “…are you transferring?”

    There’s something sick about this.

  3. I agree with Jack Klompas. It’s hard to root for any players to transfer. These two are good character guys. While we have jokingly given them a hard time here at the Scoop, especially during the live chats on games I would have mixed feelings to see them go.

    To touch on their words, part of this whole rebuilding process has created a “Band of Brothers”. While they might not be the most talented bunch I’m hoping that this off season brings the team closer together and flushes out a true leader. Even if Capo and Elston were to go, I’m not sure we are set up to bring in serviceable parts. Although with Capo, that might not be that difficult..heh.


    But, to play devil’s advocate who knows what the off season holds. Crean and the staff interview each player and discuss what their best options going forward may be. We may seem some movement when all the dust settles.

    Excited for Sheehey and Oladipo going +1 next year. Their growth will be fun to watch.

    Crean has shown, at least at Marquette that he could pluck the occasional servicable bigman, Marcus Jackson (03-05) and Lawrence Blackledge (06-08). There are a few top ten JUCO’s available 6’8 and up, so it will be interesting to see if he takes that route.

    Every year the patience of the fan base gets less and less. 2011-2012 will be telling. Great job again this year guys. Keep it up.


  4. I agree with Tsao. Why would you ask them about transferring before they eveb
    get back to Bloomington?
    It’s too bad they haven’t been able to contribute much, but they don’t deserve
    to feel people want them to go, sooner rather than later.

  5. At what point do you look at the coach for lack of player development? I can only imagine how good Elston would be by now if Sampson was his coach.

  6. “Both have two years of eligibility remaining and could easily excel at new homes in the Missouri Valley, Mid-American or Horizon Conference.”

    Geez, Hugh, would you be happy if someone suggested you’d be better off writing for the Times-Mail in Bedford?

  7. muubell, just who the hell are to put the Bedford staff down? Yes, some of those guys are friends of mine. You might want to research how many awards the T-M writers have received over the years. It might just surprise you.

  8. I still don’t think Crean has any interest in coaching a big man. His entire coaching reputation is built on Dwayne Wade. I guarantee that if he did not have Wade at Marquette he would not be here at IU.

  9. PB-

    Thanks for the post. I agree with your sentiments completely.

    Surprisingly, there aren’t many question marks going into this off-season. The task is clear: the current players and coach need to do a lot better next year, hands down. A three year “patience period” is pretty fair, if you ask me. Next year is year 4.

    Add a capable big guy/post player to complement Zeller, and we could see the chemistry of the team begin to change significantly. As you’ve said, Sheeladipo’s development will be one of the most exciting factors.

    Boy, I really, really miss that feeling of anticipating the Hoosiers’ upcoming first-round tournament game. I have great memories of Rod Wilmont and Earl Calloway draining threes against San Diego State and Gonzaga. Bloomington just isn’t the same without Hoosier games in late March.

    Aruss, as for you, you sure are a strange character. The question you would have never asked about Bill Lynch comes out effortlessly regarding Coach Crean.

  10. In a perfect world, we would wait a week or two for the dust to settle and then be able to meet and interview each of the players. Since that is unlikely to happen, we take what we can get: an open locker room, as mandated by the Big Ten. It is the first time this season Bobby Capobianco has been made available to the media, from what I can recall. Maybe he was available once very early this season.
    Quite frankly, there has been so much speculation on this site and others, as well as during live chats, that it is a natural and important question to ask. Is a guy likely to say, “Yep, I am out of here.”? No. But you can tell something by the response (no comment or “that is not my focus right now” generally indicates a goner).

  11. Hugh…this just shows your lack of experience as an athlete in sports…which makes it hard to want to read your column – as the expert of all things IU basketball.

    I get the speculation. You, as the beat writer/columnist/IU basketball expert, I would think would have connections to check in with these guys when they return from spring break.

    You’ve lost all credibility with these guys/the coaches. They know never to reveal anything insightful…because they know Mr. Hugh will just immediately tweet it or put it up here on the blog.

    The better question might be is, “Hugh, will you be the IU basketball columnist next season, after just breaking your trust with the team?”

  12. muubell,

    I think the better put down would be something like the Greene County Daily World.

  13. Asking those players about their coming back ranks right up there with that Q at the other end of the spectrum asked last year to HS students if they knew the scholarship situation at IU. Their predictable response gives no more info than you get from a crystal ball. It is the “gotcha” journalism taught at our esteemed institutions of higher learning.

  14. On the flip side, if they would have run a story quoting Elston and Capo on the disappointing loss in general, you’d have a whole different group of people criticizing the journalists for not asking the questions on everyone’s minds.

    I’m going to bet these kids aren’t so shielded they don’t know the chatter.

  15. Hugh, shame on you for failing cheerleader tryouts. You went and asked relevant, difficult questions of athletes. Turn in your skirt and sweater, buddy – you’ve lowered yourself to the level of journalist.

  16. These are two good guys who clearly show effort when on the floor but the effort doesn’t make up for the ability needed to play at an elite level. If Elston is playing out of position then I think he would look even more deficient at the the 4 spot, he just isn’t quick enough to guard the 4 or make the offensive moves needed at the Big 10 level.
    In my opinion this team needs a combo guard more than a big until Yogi arrives. Cody can handle playing the 5 for one year. Verdell should not be the PG period and Hulls hasn’t shown the ability to run the show for a full 40 minutes yet. We got to have a kid that can navigate, dish, or take it himself at any time. Verdell would be a great 6th man. He’s too mentally fragile to run a team.
    At this point I really think Crean needs to make the decision on who keeps or loses their scholarship. Tough love is in order. If they want to stay and pay their own way so be it but this program cannot be a Big 10 bottom feeder any longer.
    I’m going to have faith in the words of the prophet Gus Johnson when he said that you will see a dramatic shift in the powers of the Big 10 in the near future and Indiana will be a part of it.

  17. Interesting reading this AM, and I agree with Big Bob and his comment regarding Coach Crean and Dwayne Wade. Respectfully: was Coach Crean the primary catalyst for the development of Wade … or was Wade and coach Izzo the primary catalyst for the emergence of Tom Crean?

    We’ve struggled so much during the past couple of years and granted, what else could be expected given the circumstances. But – why do we continue to see a team lacking so many fundamental team concepts at this point in time? With so many individual talents on the floor the players, IMO (excluding Hulls and Rivers and Sheehy) first look to their personal play and lastly look to find an open teammate. VJ has talent, but the game comes to a virtual grind as he holds the ball and looks for his drive/shot. Even then he “carries” the ball more than some NCAA refs will allow. VJ reminds me of Earl the Pearl Monroe without total skills which come from maturity. TP still cannot “finish” even though he can dunk from a standstill. VO may be great in the upcoming season, but why hasn’t the coaching staff looked him in the eye and seriously channeled him to STOP thinking he is Michael Jordan whenever he touches the ball? At this stage of his growth maybe he could wait for the flow of the game to enrich his talents?

    The point being here, why are so many basic team skills missing with this talented coaching staff in place?

    In the end, congratulations Hoosiers for fighting so hard and for giving up your bodies on defense this season. We look forward to seeing your off season growth and look forward to next year when Big 10 Basketball redefines itself due to attrition. Go Hoosiers!

  18. I don’t want to point fingers, as I do not know the genesis of their relationships nor do I know what kind of relationship CTC had with the Wisconsin press, but there is obviously a lack of trust between the the basketball coaches/players and the H-T writers. It may be institutional and have nothing to do with the writers or it may have developed over time due to the actions of the writers. I just don’t know. I do know that the quality of the product produced by th H-T is going to be severely limited until a level of trust is established between the two parties.

  19. Wade argument is worst argument ever. Coaches are supposed to recruit good players and take them deep into the tourney. Many coaches have loaded teams of 5 star talent, and can’t even make it to the final four (see John Calipari last year).

    With Wade, Crean simply did his job. In fact, he even excelled at his job – Wade was offered at only 3 schools (Marq., Illinois State, and DePauw). John Wall and many others were 5 star recruits with academic issues and were still on the map with a much wider list of universities than Wade. Crean saw a needle in a haystack with Wade and it paid off.

    Crean also coached NBA players Novak, Diener, and Wesley Matthews. Last time I checked, IU has only 2 players in the NBA to Marquette’s 5.

  20. Hugh is too good for the Greene County Daily World.

    But I really don’t understand that question immediately after the last game. It’s a waste of a question & you’re insulting the player (everybody knows your not good enough to play here, please give the scholarship up to somebody who is, for the good of the program).

    If somebody transfers 3-4 weeks from now, report on it then when it’s a FACT.

  21. As I continue to watch IU basketball and Coach Crean – he is definiately a “Big East” Coach. What I mean by that – no movement, hardly any hard cuts off screens – etc, etc. One screen out top for the guard that has the ball – then that guard just keeps it until he can get an opene shot. No teamwork involved IMHO!!

  22. I don’t know why i expect a higher level of reporting out of this site… but this is just some weak sH#t! You never, never ask a student athlete that question without cause. You two (Hugh and DD) need to quit reading comments on message boards. I can’t find anything in your reporting that i don’t read in the comments of ITH.

  23. How rude to ask two good kids such a question. Two kids that were there for Indiana when Indiana needed two good kids. I’d take these two guys over a Jamarcus Ellis, D’Andrea Thomas, or Brandon McGee any day of the week. Its been a rough few years…and maybe there are a few rough years ahead…but without the class of 09 we would be further behind than what we are. A really disrespectful question though…

  24. I think there is a lot to look forward to next year. We finally will have a team with a large number of upperclassmen which should help translate to winning. A healthy Creek will be a huge plus. We have two freshman coming in that can contribute while we only lose one senior. Last of all, the Big Ten will not likely be as strong next year. I’m expecting a winning record next year.

  25. Critter,

    I too think AE and CZ, just as took place the last two years, are talented Freshman replacing less talented Seniors. Hulls earning the lead guard position this season will be firmly in charge of the floor game next year.

  26. I read over and over again that the offense stops when Jones
    has the ball, and I agree.
    So why doesn’t Crean see it? And, again, we won the 3 games when Jones was on
    the bench. Does that not tell him something?
    All year I have been so frustrated with Crean’s substitutions, and the resulting confusion
    in the offense. They just hit a rhythm and he sends in 2 new players.
    Jones passed the ball better in the Penn State game, but he just is not a point guard.

    As grandfunk said, Crean plays his sentimental favorite despite how it affects the team
    play. WHY??????????

  27. Guys, here’s the thing. We really don’t like asking players immediately after their season ends if they’re looking to transfer. We don’t like doing it 20 minutes after the game, and we don’t like doing it with all of their teammates around them in the locker room. We recognize that it’s a tough time to put that question to somebody and we also realize that we’re probably not going to get an honest response.
    Problem is, there’s no other time for us to ask.
    The basic agreement the press has with the IU media relations department is that we handle all interviews through them and we don’t call athletes on their own phones unless authorized by media relations. In the vast majority of cases with the two major sports, players are only available when the program says they are available and they meet with the press as a group. That’s not a policy that’s just for us and it didn’t happen because we wrote something too negative or they don’t “trust” us. That policy is in place for us, the IDS, the Indy Star, Peegs/Indside Indiana, and anyone else who covers IU. It has nothing to do with whether we’re supportive or not supportive of the program, and it was not put in place because we broke some sort of rule or hurt some kind of trust. I’m not saying this to complain about IU media relations because they have a difficult job an they help us when they can. It’s not easy to deal with the number of requests they get, and they have to find some way of dealing with it and avoiding PR nightmares.
    Limited access is pretty typical for a major conference program, but for both parties it’s a double-edged sword. With basketball especially, there is very little opportunity for the media and players to develop any sort of relationship or any sort of trust whatsoever. That allows the program to keep very close watch on what the players say, but it forces us to abandon nuance if we want to ask difficult questions.
    I know I go back to this example often and it’s a very different circumstance, but I saw several players transfer from James Madison when I was covering the team. For many of them, I knew their time could be up leading toward the end of the season. I never stuck a microphone in their face to ask them the question immediately after their final game, because I knew I could call them up. I would tell them they didn’t have to say anything if they weren’t ready, but if they decided to leave, I just wanted them to let me know. They usually did, and even if they didn’t before the university issued a release, they answered the phone to tell me their reasons once it was made official. It was civil. It was professional. They understood I was doing my job and I gave them their time to put out the news when they were ready. I asked some difficult questions, like if the transfer was their call or if they were being pushed out the door, but I made it clear that I had to ask but they didn’t necessarily have to answer. I wish we could always do it that way.
    On the IU beat, we don’t have phone numbers for players. They aren’t supposed to give them to us and we aren’t supposed to ask. We could ask to speak to Capobianco or Elston a few weeks after the season to ask if they are going to transfer, but that request almost assuredly wouldn’t be granted. We haven’t been able to talk to Capobianco since December, and we probably won’t be able to for several months if we do before next season.
    So Thursday night, when an open locker room was mandatory by Big Ten rules, we had our only opportunity to ask those questions. I can’t speak for Hugh because I wasn’t there when he asked, but I tried to be as civil and not pushy as possible when I asked Derek if he was going to stay, and he seemed to happy to declare that no, he wasn’t looking to leave and that he loves his teammates. I think he understood why the question was being asked, and I think he was happy to squash any rumors that might be out there.
    And I think at the end, that’s part of our job as well. If there are rumors and speculation out there, provided it’s not totally preposterous, just ask, report the answer, and move on. A lot of times, people are happy to just clear the air and set the record straight. We could just ignore elephants in living rooms and wait for press releases to tell us news, but I don’t think we would be serving our readers if we did that.
    Rampant speculation isn’t going away, and the internet is here to stay so it’s only going to get worse. I think it’s worse to just let it run wild than it is to ask uncomfortable questions and report the facts, thereby turning down the speculation. Would I rather manipulate the settings of those questions so it would be more comfortable for both the reporter and the source? Absolutely. But that’s not always the way it is. Both sides have to deal with that.

  28. As usual your posts always are fundamental to helping us understand your position. But as I can only speak for myself the problem I have is that Q as with scholarship Q last year are just inappropriate. I am satisfied knowing about an action when it happens. Even if my job was with the fidelity bureau I would not ask you who you are bedding down. I also solidly believe those personally poignant questions very well could jaundice future contact and any relationship possibilities.

  29. I can’t believe this many people are getting their panties in a bunch over this. Everyone must think these players are incapable of answering a simple question about their future. From what i’ve read they both took the questions in stride and answered honestly. If I were getting a free education to play a game, I would think I could answer a “tough” question now and then.

  30. Neither is going to say right after the last game yep am planning on leaving. They can both stay and eat up schollys but they are going to be sitting on the bench alot. Zeller, Watford, Prith, and probably a juco will all be playing in front of them. Also, crean likes to go small alot. Personally I have seen no improvement in Elston and by now he should have improved so I think it is best for both parties if he moves on IMO.

  31. I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of Dustin’s position statement. If it is an institutional thing, it is unfortunate that the university doesn’t allow more communication. Perhaps it is my imagination but it doesn’t seem that the teams in my current locale (Duke, UNC, NC State, etc) have the clamps on quite so tightly. On the other hand, if you want your ticket punched to leave Foxboro, Mass and the New England Patriots, the quickest way to do it is to open up to the press.

  32. HC,
    I certainly understand your point, and I’m sure there are a lot of readers out there who don’t want to hear about something until it happens. Others want constant updates and want to know what the status is on absolutely everything all the time. We have to answer to both constituencies, obviously, and it’s been ingrained in newspaper culture since the beginning of newspapers that the first goal is to be right and the second goal is to be first. Maybe the media establishment puts too much of an emphasis on that second part, but that is still the way the game is played and the way it’s always been. We can try to be above that, but only to a certain degree. Part of the job description is still to break news.
    I guess my counterargument to your argument is that if there were such a thing as a fidelity bureau — I’m not suggesting there should be — and you were hired to work for it, why wouldn’t you ask who I was bedding (other than the fact that I’m not married, so my answer wouldn’t matter to you)? That actually sounds like it would be your job description exactly. If there were a government agency created to eliminate adultery in your particular part of the world, how could you be effective if you weren’t willing to ask those kind of questions? Theoretically, you could get that information from third-party sources, but eventually, you’d have to confront me with it and give me my day in court, wouldn’t you? It would obviously be impolite, but there are certain professions in which impolite questions are part of the gig. Journalism obviously qualifies.
    Also, these questions at the end of the day aren’t THAT personal. They are germane questions to their careers as basketball players and to the business of the Indiana basketball team, which is what makes them public figures and is the reason we follow them. Obviously, college transfers have to be approached with a lighter touch because they are younger, but how much more personal is it than asking a professional free agent to be whether he will return to his current team? How much different is it than asking a congressman if he will run for office again? I’m not suggesting there are no differences, because again, you’re talking about college kids as opposed to professional adults. But I don’t those differences make it so inappropriate that the question cannot be asked. You just ask it while trying the best you can not to be a jerk about it.

  33. Jeez, get over it people.

    I competed at IU in a minor sport. When I came in my Freshman year we were back to back to back Big Ten Champs, a top 20 team, and competing for a National Championship. After my senior year, we IU dropped off, and boy have things changed since. It’s just the ebb and flow of college sports. Some programs get back quicker than others.

    I like Crean. I love his energy, and the only players I see matching his energy right now are Oladipo and Sheehey.
    Hulls doesn’t do it for me. Now you could argue that he’s kinda like Coverdale. However, if you watch the elite teams, there point guards can do it all, and they don’t have to be coached to shoot the ball.

    We’ve got some work to do people. Let’s buckle down, get through it and support our team.

    On another note, I would like to understand Glass’ vision for IU athletics. What is the goal of the athletic department? IU athletics is just not as competitive on a whole.

  34. I constantly here about the lack of talent at IU. Wasnt this soph. class a top 10 recruiting class coming in? I would think that a top 10 recruiting class should make the NCAA tournament as Freshmans let alone Sophs. does this concern anyone? I know were not loaded up or anyrthing but give me a break this team should be at least .500 shouldn’t they?

  35. Doug: Do you consider Capo, Elston, and Bawa to be top-10 recruiting class material? Do you think Watford might be a tad overrated because of his softness on defense? Do you think Creek’s injury has influenced the progression of this team?

    These are all reasons why things sometimes don’t go as planned.

  36. I think Dustin and Hugh’s questions are absolutely appropriate whether they get 1 chance per year or 10 chances per year to interview the players. Especially considering the lack of playing time, lack of improvement and the scholarship situation.

    Speaking of lack of improvement, the only improvement I have seen is how much physically bigger players are from last year. (Elston, Watford, Jones, Hulls). However, it didn’t seem to mean much when it came to rebounding which makes me believe that it’s a talent and effort issue. When you see Sheehey and Oladipo, they look like Big Ten players. The athleticism they possess is off the charts compared to the rest of the team. Not sure why they didn’t play more minutes together this season as they both could get to the rim offensively and rebound at a high level.

    My last comments are in regards to style of play. I think CTC is sacrificing wins for style of play so he can recruit the type of athletes that fit his system. Not enough off the ball screens for shooters and too much dribble drive and weave action. IU doesn’t have the quickness or athletic ability to penetrate and score at the rim so defenders can stay out on 3 point shooters. Not the biggest coach Knight fan, but he would have won 16-17 games with this talent. I love CTC’s energy, passion and dedication to the program, but the clock is starting to tick. Not sure next years recruits will have an immediate impact. I think Etherington is better athlete then what he gets credit for but probably not ready to play right away. It will take Zeller time as well. Not explosive and strong enough yet

  37. I have always been a RMK supporter but his motion offense no longer works with the success it used to, so I really doubt the 16-17 W scenario with this team. I do think his philosophy of D is off the charts and would have added 2-3 wins.

  38. Yes, you can applaud the class of 2009 for signing with Indiana after the worst season ever, but what IU needs to return to greatness is talent. We have a very promising future (watford, hulls, creek, sheehey, oladipo, all the future recruits), but they are still young. Yes, it is important for a team to bond together to win, but that did not seeem to be the problem in many of the close games that IU should have won this year and last. The deciding factor came down to just not enough experience and talent.

    In regards to Elston, he brings energy and a nice mid-range jumper off the bench, and would like to see him stay. Once he moves back to his natural 4-position i think he will become even better and a bigger threat. Capobianco is a different story. Bonding together will only get you so far. The talent that IU needs to win will not come in the form of him. He was brought in to rebound and bang down low. When hes in he fouls too much (which could be useful to get the other post players more tired), but doesn’t rebound. It would be nice for him to be able to stay and continue to be with his friends that he came in with, but i think for the betterment of the program, and for himself, he should transfer, so IU can fill that scholarship with a more athletic and talented prospect (say 2012 class, or juco transfer), that would better suit the post-play needs that we so desperately need. Not enough talent is our major factor, not heart or bonding.

  39. It is becoming clear that was not a top ten class. It was only rated that high due to the number of players we had in it. The bottom line is we still should be much better then we are. Crean says we need to get more athletic. While go out there and do it then!

  40. Much of what has been said by many (though not all) bloggers suggests that Hugh has earned a reputation as a journalist who relies on “gotcha” moments and on sensationalizing to fill a rather unimaginative column. It’s also become fairly obvious that what both Hugh and Dustin consider a beat relies heavily on IU’s athletic media department press reports, ‘permission’ and collaboration. Little if anything ever seems to come from good reporter digging for the facts and good, solid reporting and analysis of fact.

    What led me to the original question? The sense that your focus was not journalism but to “throw Capobianco and Elston” ‘under the bus’, a very strange and, truthfully, disrespectful way of doing one’s job.

    A more thoughtful approach; ‘having played little this year, do you see an approach that would make you a contributor to IU in 2011-12?’? What would it involve? What help, specifically, would you ask of your coaches?. Or, “do you see a role for yourself in helping Indiana University improve? If so…would you talk about your playing time and your thoughts for and about next year?. Tough questions? Absolutely, but fair…respectful and allowing the individual a voice in self-evaluation and the future. It also opens a window for the reader to see ways in which both the team and the individuals and the coaches need to improve. There was nothing good or noble in a sensationalist act of offering a kid the map to the bus station. It is really throwing them under the bus and totally misrepresents what the majority of your readers are about.

    Dustin’s defensive comment is just as poor. What’s point…you merely seem to defend bad journalism. Notice, your continual kissing the ring of the Athletic Media Department. “They don’t give us access…booo….hooo, sniff, sniff”. It just simply isn’t ‘access’ if you, as a bonafide journalist, are ‘given’ it. Professional empowerment can not come from someone who ‘gives’ (gifts) you power. You take your own son!- didn’t they teach you that at James Madison…(I was under the impression that ti was not an institution you find in a match book cover).

    And, then yu make public and defend an irritating and not very legitimate practice of the Sports Department: the verbatum quoting of news releases and announcements from the IU Athletic Media Department. Never, never!!!…should a legitimate news organization allow it to happen to the extent you and Hugh are dependent on IU media hacks (who are probably now rolling on the ground laughing at the admission). I’ve long wondered about it but didn’t focus on it until I saw Dustin acknowledging it is standard operating procedure for them.

    Do your own research!…or, become, an arm of the Athletic Office. Blogger ‘ItsIndiana” hit it on the head when he cited the journalism we became used to in Bob Hammel. It was tough, always well written and respectful. Hammel openly acknowledged he was a very close friend of Bob Knights, but those who followed both and knew of their friendship, also knew Hammel kissed no rings and never bowed before Knight on a story or column.

    Not much has changed with us, the readers. We have an expectation of researched, well mined, independent news gathering. Like IU fans we have set high standards for performance (just like IU fans have correctly done with Tom Crean)). And, we do expect that the stories be well, originally and independently informed; tough when necessary but always respectful and never, never an extension of IU media p.r. (My suggestion, you need a meeting with Mr. Glass informing- not asking- of your right to access and your independence in coverage. That failing, certainly the President of our university should review the policies covering the media).

    Then ask yourselves? Is it really the fault of the relationship with IU and our dependence on it? Or is it the weakness of some stories, the quality of the journalism, the significant absence of coverage of some sports, the over-reliance on non-written technology (do we really need a review of the latest video music in the Sports section?) evidence of soft journalism, a universal weakness of published media, laziness or the contemporary loss the instincts of hard-nosed journalism and its replacement through ‘gimmicks’ and ‘hype’.

    It may be that certainly Crean, and perhaps Capobianco and Elston as well as others need to do a lot of self evaluating…but, it seems to me, you are accountable to your readers as well.

  41. Tsao,
    Do you actually read what we write in the newspaper or only what we do on the blog? I’m only asking because I think if you saw the blog and believed it was all we do, I could see why you would think we were really lazy. We don’t actually quote press releases in the newspaper unless A: we absolutely have to or B: It’s a brief. We throw those on here because we can do it immediately and get it to you guys so you can discuss it quickly. At that point, if it’s important, we chase it and add more to it and get something deeper together for the paper. We approach the two mediums entirely differently. We don’t necessarily view the blog as only a supplement to the newspaper because we recognize that not everyone gets both, but what we put on here is usually short and sweet. What we put in the paper is more in depth. If you still think we’re bad there, well, I’m sorry I don’t meet your standards. We’ve discussed this before and I’ve admitted to you that I should do more filmwork and analysis and become more familiar with Ken Pomeroy style statistics. Hopefully that meets your standards.
    As for the relationship with the media relations staff, we’re hashing it out and working on it. I wouldn’t say we “kiss the ring,” and I don’t think J.D. Campbell would tell you we make his life easy. Trust me, they’ve heard my complaints. We’re just trying to be professional. They’ve set up standards and practices (and the coaches are just as involved in this as they are). We try to understand and respect those and ask that they respect ours. Part of the reason I was complimentary of them in my response is I’m not trying to throw them under the bus. Glass and I have had plans to discuss some of this that were pushed back for a variety of reasons and we will. Maybe I’ll take your advice and tell him I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. We’ll see how that goes.
    On a few of your other points. We provide coverage of other sports in the paper. Most of the time when we put other stuff on here, it doesn’t get a whole lot of response. If you guys tell us you want all the tennis and track and field results on here, maybe we’ll do that. From what I gather, you guys are obsessed about basketball, and the worst thing we can do is put stuff on here that hides the basketball coverage. If you get enough people to change my mind, perhaps we’ll do something about that.
    As for throwing Capobianco and Elston under the bus, I don’t think we’ve done that. I don’t think asking a question is the same as telling them what we think they should do. If anyone’s sending them a message that’s telling them to go elsewhere, it’s Crean. We didn’t keep Capobianco out of the Big Ten tournament, not to mention most of the rest of the season, and we didn’t limit Elston’s minutes. Crean did that. Based on our logic and experience, sophomores of that caliber who spend two years getting very little playing time tend to consider other avenues right about now. We were just asking if they were. Now that we have an answer, we’ll stop asking until something changes.

  42. Dustin & Hugh- keep up the good work and keep asking the “hard” questions. As you well know, that’s what real journalists do! I have appreciated your work all year and look forward to the coverage of whatever IU hoops news remains for this spring. Cody Zeller for Mr. Basketball!

  43. I do agree with TTG, and I’ve said this to Dustin, that the way a question is asked is incredibly important. I shared before that language is my profession. Most of the time I choose my words very carefully. I think TTG gave a very good example of how the same piece of information can be requested, but the perception of the questioner’s intent can be entirely different, just by the words one chooses to use.

  44. Dustin, thanks for taking time to answer. My reference in the earlier blog is to the need for more demanding standards in coverage norms in general (written or posted versions). It was telling that you make excessive use of press releases by the IU Sports Media department and you, in essence said (and I paraphrase your comment) that you only use press releases ‘when convenient’ (my emphasis).

    I do hope, as you say, you’ll have an eyeball to eyeball with A.D. Glass. Accountability to the tax payers, the students, the fans, the residents of Indiana can only come from a more transparent, accountable Athletic Department. It is the only way to insure we avoid regrettable experiences like the hiring of Kelvin Sampson; undue influence such as that of the Trustee who basically pushed Sampson on us and incompetence like previous A.D. Greenspan. (By the way- did anyone there question Greenspan’s appoinment when his experience including the shredding of the storied West Point’s athletic programs? That is what happens when no one asks hard questions).

    Neither, do I think that I or the majority of readers can be described as “one of those” who are ” …obsessed about basketball,..” My interests are not only in basketball; but I search daily for news about Indiana football and follow closely (and with hope) the evolution of the new program. The soccer program also merits due justice and more and better in-depth coverage(by the way- did you note the last bit of soccer news published in the blog was on Feb. 7)?
    The same with the swimming program (once- along with UCLA basketball, the most dominant athletic program in college history (can you say Jim ‘Doc’ Counsilman?); the track program once home to great olympians like Greg Bell; and baseball since Coach Smith took it over. All of them have a following by readers and many of us are constantly disappointed with the narrow character of coverage.

    I’m glad you state your willingness to examine yourself towards improvement as a sports writer. Like the sports you cover, it takes constant self-examination and work . Bob Knight once said that it is untrue that “practice makes perfect unless correction is part of it.”
    “You can shoot a ball ten thousand times,” he said, “but if you practice shooting the ball with bad (technical) form (i.e. establishing good plant foot position, not dropping your wrist in the bucket on the follow through, not skip-stopping to take a charge, or keeping your head down while kicking the ball in soccer), and don’t correct it, all you’ll come up with is a perfectly bad habit.” Sounds like what we just saw in I.U. basketball, doesn’t it?

    Likewise in writing and reporting. We, as readers look for that; not sensationalized, somewhat accurate-somewhat inaccurate rumors or speculation as in the case of Elston and Capobianco..

    Finally, I stand on my suspicion (and really, the principal reason I climbed on this soap box). I believe that you (and Hugh) had ‘speculated’ as to who would leave the program and had already rehearsed that your first question would ‘use’ both Capobianco and Elston to stir the toilet a bit. (What else explains your claim that the two of you were not together when the questions were respectively asked of each player).

    As you see from the stirring, what came out was ‘the stink’. Unfair to both players, not necessary and… the perfect definition of “throwing someone under the bus”.

  45. This is my first time posting here. I have been reading the Hoosier Scoop only since the summer, but an avid reader of ITH for 3 years. I am very pleased with all the info Dustin and Hugh provide. That is why we visit their site, same reason I visit the ITH site. We want as much Hoosier Basketball/Football as we can get. I can’t get enough. You all are entitled to your opinions, but if you don’t like what they ask during interviews or articles, then go to another site. I guarantee that if the question wasn’t asked to Bobby or Derek, fans would be on here soon asking about transfer prospects. Right now, we have as much info as we are going to get. And I can bet that whatever news that will be available in the future regarding transfers, new recruit info, etc., these guys will get for us fans in a timely manner. Thanks for all you guys do.

  46. A couple of things and hopefully we can move on:
    1. I didn’t even ask Derek Elston. Another reporter did. I asked Bobby Capobianco. Both immediately answered and were not taken aback/offended/upset. They knew the questions were coming, and answered them well. So well that their answers – that the team are brothers – was the crux of my column, which said quite plainly that if that brotherhood could create improvement during the offseason, it was as important as the coming recruits. Really doesn’t seem like “gotcha” journalism, an annoying phrase since the basis of journalism is asking tough questions that the individuals would rather not answer.

    2. The reason why we were not together is that the locker room opened at the same Tom Crean and three players (Christian Watford, Jeremiah Rivers and Jordan Hulls) were headed to the dais. In the interest of getting more information for our readers on a fairly tight deadline, we separated. Dustin stayed in the interview room until Crean left, and then went to the locker room. By then, I had what I needed and started writing.

  47. DD,

    I guess this is where opinions differ. If a profession or an employer put me on thin ice with anything I deem inappropriate I simply would drag up and leave with my principles intact, without compromise.

  48. Hugh,

    If either one of those players would have misspoke, hesitated, displayed emotion or revealed something unknown, it would have scored a “gotcha” revelation for journalism, which annoys me.

  49. Hoosier Clarion is absolutely right and explains the issue well, while Hugh’s explanation is merely after the fact, ‘cover my butt’ explanation for poor judgment.

    I have no problem with tough questions. I have a big problem with the intent (‘Chet’ talks with a lot of wisdom about that)- the relationship between wording and situation to determine intent- in one of his posts. I commented in the original post: “…they just finished a very rough and, for, them disappointing season and you immediately asked “…are you transferring?”

    You had been speculating about transfers for better than a week, and, it appears your intent was to use Elston and Capobianco to do your end-zone dance. Bad, very bad..!

    You also confirm there was pre-planning to take this inappropriate approach…you affirm you and Dustin had pre-planned this question– not the game, not the season, not the effort… It would be too coincidental that the two of you separated, went to different places and arrived at your interviews at different times, yet…independently came up with the same exact question for the two players you’ve been beating around for weeks.

    Many of us want to see tough, aggressive journalism, but with our facts we want respect (for interviewees and readers) that avoids yellow ‘gotcha’ journalism and stories ‘created’ by the writer. Turn that energy (as I think Dustin is planning to do) into not being so compliant with IU’s Sports Media department. Do some digging that opens the window on the dismal state of IU athletics, investigate the forces that have undue influence into Athletic Department policy and management. Seek comments on IU athletics from non-IU sources who compete against us…be a reporter!

    There are a lot of good comments on this blog. I hope you read them and expand your view of your readers and grow as a writer.

  50. HC,
    At least one of your principles, as you have made very clear, is that you believe that if you agree to do something, you have to come through on your agreement. It’s clear you don’t believe in asking someone insulting and probing questions, so you would never sign up for a job that required it. But if, as in our hypothetical, you signed up for the fidelity bureau, you would believe it was your obligation to do your job, and part of that job would be to ask people uncomfortable questions. You would have known that going in, so when you got that assignment, you would do it because otherwise, you would be violating your agreement. You would only pack up and leave when you were asked to do something that violated your principles and also wasn’t part of the initial agreement.
    In journalism, asking tough and sometimes uncomfortable questions is part of the agreement. We knew that when we signed up. It’s not always the fun part, but it’s the job. Obviously, when you do sign up, you don’t know what all that’s going to mean. In my career, there have been questions I’ve refused to ask and story angles I’ve refused to take.
    But if you don’t cut and run the second you’re asked to do something uncomfortable, you pick up a few things. No. 1, you learn that a lot of the questions you initially don’t want to ask are the ones you really have to. Especially when you’re a young journalist, most of the times you protest the orders of your boss, you’re wrong. No. 2, you learn that people don’t get nearly as inflamed or repulsed by those questions as you think they will. A lot more times than you expect, they understand why you’re asking. Sometimes, they’re even happy you did. No. 3, and most importantly, you learn how to ask questions in such a manner that they aren’t insulting. Chet pointed out that words are important. They are. So too are voice inflection and approach. You don’t have to sidestep the question. You can ask it directly and still do it without coming off pushy or like a jerk. At the end of the day, you’re not looking to hurt somebody. You’re just looking for information. For the truth. You have to make your subject understand that. In most of my interviews, I try to convey that I’m not demanding information. I’m just asking for it. I understand if they don’t want to give it to me, but if they’re willing to give it, I want to know. I just realize they’re not going to volunteer it for me if I don’t ask. We’re not holding guns to anyone’s head. We just want to write accurate and interesting stories and we want to be on top of everything that’s going on on our beat.
    I guess what I’m trying to say is that we figured out a long time ago that this sort of thing was going to be part of the job, so we tried to figure out how to navigate these situations with professionalism and tact. Not to say that we’ve mastered the art, but I move past this situation feeling like we handled it as well as we could given the circumstances.

  51. As for Tsao, you know what, just call me at the office this week, preferably tomorrow. (812) 331-4227. I’m not kidding. I really do want to talk to you and hear more of what you have to say. But I’ve put way to much time in my defense treatises already. Combined they’re longer than most of my stories. Hell, HC, you call too. For that matter, let’s put this out there. When you guys have a problem with what we write or how we cover something, feel free to send me an e-mail directly. I don’t mind listening to your concerns and I’m not going to say we’re always right, but this is probably getting old for the readers who don’t care.

  52. I think Scoop reporters get a little too caught up regarding the chatter on their site. There’s a lot of extremists on here and not sure if it’s such a good idea to base your journalistic focus on the heavy judgment and ridicule that permeates the world of blogging.

    And even if you think Scoop readers’ comments are a fair representation, an accurate slice of the IU fan base, why is it necessary to cater to their needs? It’s not so much “gotcha” journalism as “reactionary” journalism. What is gained by Elston or Capo transferring when we’ve heard of nothing of specific JC recruits or someone decommitting from a major program that is showing big interest in IU? You can argue the merits of the appropriateness/respectfulness of the question until you’re blue..From a basketball standpoint, I don’t see the relevance of the question when I have heard nothing of a player/s waiting to come to IU ready to fill their spot/s that makes us better. Lastly, I think the addition of Zeller to the roster could allow these guys much more action around the rim next year. Zeller will command a lot of attention. We’d be damn fools to let these beefy forwards slip away now when they finally have a chance to clean up some garbage underneath. Zeller will change the dynamics with his finesse and ability to move bigs out of the paint. Maybe Crean didn’t play these Elston and Capo because they didn’t have the right skill set to change things up without anyone dominant in the middle. Bottom Line: Try to understand the dynamics of the game rather than just the knee-jerk emotional side always voiced by the reactionary critic. I may be in the minority, but I still think Elston and Capo may be very important role players coming off the bench and start to make noise with the benefit of a long-awaited big man. Guy could have made that happen this year if not for the NCAA decision.

  53. Here’s my point of explanation: TTG is a self-appointed ‘sport’s-desk’ ombudsman who thinks he is clever by revealing his perception of how Hugh and Dustin are responsible for the state of IU athletics by not framing questions that meet his expectations. Very annoying. I am sick of reading his treatises of self-importance. If I were interested in a sport’s journalism ethics class I would enroll in one.
    TTG, you are like a buzzing little gnat who is annoying the hell out of this reader. I considered using pi$$-ant to complete my analogy but don’t believe they can fly. Let Entomology 101 begin…

  54. This has been quite interesting. I was called out by Tsao more than once and in a mean-spirited way. I am as sincere a human being as there is on this planet and it seems that so many people on this blog are more concerned with bringing people down than talking IU sports. It is a shame! I did not really agree with the question being asked when it was, timing was really bad and I took it personal because of what I have been through as a fan in the last 3 years with basketball. With that said, it is these guys: Hugh and Dustin’s job to ask these things. What is a shame is that they were put in a position to ask the question at all. Dustin gave an honest and heartfelt explanation and you still crucify him. Tsao likes coming down on people and picking what they do/say/write apart more than talking IU sports…just look at all of his previous posts. Dustin and Hugh, hang in there and I hope Tsao does call you guys. I wish Coach V and some of these guys would have taken me up on my offer to meet at Nick’s…

  55. Thats right Dustin and Hugh,keep up the good work and to hell with them fellas.Buzzards gotta eat.Same as worms.

  56. Thanks guys, but Tsao’s entitled to his opinion, and it’s totally OK for him to challenge us. If we’re going to be critics, we have to be subject to criticism. I get why a lot of this doesn’t go over well and he made some interesting points that I wouldn’t mind discussing with him. It’s just reaching the point that going back and forth with these epic posts is taking too much time and I think a phone conversation would get things over with quicker. But this has actually been a good exercise for me. It’s just time to put it to rest on both sides.

  57. Chet, Thanks.

    I just wanted to add that I enjoy the music clips in Hoosier Morning and the few other diversions that come along with our sports topics on Scoop. And may I also say that Hugh and Dustin are more than journalists. They seem like really good guys..They are entertaining to watch on ScoopTalk sessions and provide excellent post-game analysis in a nice concise 10 minute format. They show brotherhood by inviting different guests from other popular blogging sites(e.g. Zach Osterman and Chronic Hoosier). They are not selfish in their profession and don’t take themselves too seriously. They allow us to be part of the fun on LiveChats when some of us would not have a buddy to watch a game with on a Saturday night. This is a very unique site with a lot to offer. It doesn’t happen by accident. There has to be a ton of time invested by the entire team at Scoop. And unless I’m getting a special deal because they like me so much, I think it’s free to everyone. It’s been a tough season for Hoosier Basketball and blaming someone seems to be the popular thing to do when frustrations are elevated.

  58. Thanks Dustin for the offer. I’ll think on it. I do [normally] prefer a written dialog through the blog. I find that writing allows for deeper, more thoughtful, even more sincere communication. Nevertheless, I totally agree with you that this discussion has gone on long enough and we need to move on.

    We’ve squeezed this issue as far as it will go Dustin. My principal concern was that, while I agree Capobianco and Elston were disappointments this year, I felt- rightly or wrongly,- the timing and manner of the question sounded somewhat demeaning and not quite fair to them.

    And, I suspect, it may very well be they were the products of poor teaching; a fundamental issue for us all to think about in regards to Hoosier basketball.

    I should also be clear that I certainly don’t mean to disrespect you as a writer or dismiss your view of sports. It is as valid as mine may or may not be.
    You’ve picked up on a couple of ‘sport section’ issues
    I’m concerned about (in general…not aimed at you alone Dustin), hyping, sensationalizing (what I call the ESPN effect), source and attribution issues and breadth of coverage (of IU sports). I appreciate your willingness to look at these.

    I’m happy and do respect that you seem to be interested in growth as a journalist. It is a great profession! If you ever get a chance, you may really, really enjoy Paul Gallico’s book of essays, ‘Farewell to Sports’ (a very old and not always easy to find; but a real treasure full of ‘sports page wisdom’.

    I look forward to reading you for a long time Dustin…and, when the birds chirp, arguing our views. With respect, TTG

  59. I ain’t promising you nothing extra.I’m giving you life and you’re giving me life.And I’m saying that men can live together without butchering one another.

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