Calbert Cheaney re-introduced to IU

Since Tom Crean came to Bloomington from Marquette, he has pitched himself as a student of Indiana’s history and talked about reconnecting IU’s present with its past. On Monday, with the formal introduction of Calbert Cheaney as director of operations, Crean made his biggest step so far in that regard.

Crean and Cheaney had been in touch since a booster event in French Lick in 2008, shortly after Crean took the job in the wake of the Kelvin Sampson recruiting scandal. Cheaney said Crean contacted him about 1 1/2 months ago after former Hoosier Keith Smart was fired as the head coach of the Golden State Warriors and Cheaney was looking for work.

“Tom and I have established communication since he got here,” Cheaney said. “We’ve always talked. He always texts me. We check up on what the other’s doing. I really relish that, I really appreciate that, because he’s always reached out. And not just to me, but he reaches out to all the other past players, and that’s what separates Tom from a lot of coaches. He could’ve easily did his own thing, but Indiana is all about tradition, and he understands that. When I got a call from him, it was great, and when he extended the job offer to me, how can you say no?”

Crean said the hire was also an easy one to make. Since he took the job, he’s talked about needing more people around the program who “understand what it takes to win at Indiana.” Though he has former players on or close to the bench in athletic trainer Tim Garl and associate athletic director Chris Reynolds, the men’s basketball administrator, Cheaney is the closest he’s put one to an actual coaching position.

“We need people like Calbert in the program to be successful,” Crean said. “Who better to know what that looks like and to help make them be that way than him?”

Crean is hoping he can transfer that to the players, even though Cheaney will be limited in his duties by NCAA rules. Because he is not one of the three assistant coaches, he can attend practice, but cannot participate directly in drills or give hands-on instruction during practice.

“There’s ways to utilize him in practice without him being on the floor,” Crean said. “That’s the one part that he cannot actually be an on-court coach per se, going through the drills and things of that nature. I’m sure it will take a little getting used to for that, because that’s one of his areas of strength. But there’s stillĀ  a lot of different ways to work through that in the sense of what he can bring to us out on the court and in practice and the observations that he can make and the observations he can make for players.”

Crean pointed out that Cheaney can make a difference in recruiting even though he’s not allowed to go off-campus or make recruiting contacts by phone, e-mail or other methods of communication. He can be a part of recruiting when players come on-campus for visits.

“I think he’s going to be a huge part of that,” Crean said. “Just the on-campus experience for players. I’m going to get off that golf cart a little bit more and let Calbert take them on that golf cart around campus. … We’ll stay withn (the rules) but at the same time, we’ll utilize him 100 percent.”

Crean pointed out, also, that even if he can’t coach the players on the court, there’s nothing that says he can’t talk to them when they step off it.

“No matter what his title is,” Crean said, “no matter what NCAA legislation says, there’s no legislation against a guy having the ability to tell people the truth about what it takes to get better. To me, that’s the most important aspect in all of this.”

 

 

5 comments

  1. Read between the lines here folks!!! Crean is going to stretch the rules with the recruiting and the coaching restrictions. Indiana has such a great reputation with the NCAA and following the rules, this is playing with fire. Nothing can go wrong here. Are you kidding me? Will you never learn?

  2. I’ve seen some ridiculous posts on this blog, but that one may just take the cake. I normally would try to talk someone off the ledge, but in your case I think it’s best for all of us if you just go ahead and jump.

  3. Who wrote the first article above, has no guts/what’s your name. Mr no it all, how about that/you must be a purdue fan, or you wouldn’t talk out of your ass. You know nothing about basketball, IU did a good thing hiring Cheaney. IU is coming back, and everybody is scared of that. Go IU, and Coach Crean is getting on the right track now.

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