Tom Crean, Tijan Jobe and Muhammed Conteh on A-HOPE situation

Dustin and I talked to three individuals today with an opinion on ESPN.com’s story last week about A-HOPE, Mark Adams, Indiana Elite and Indiana. You can read my story about Tijan Jobe and Muhammed Conteh’s A-HOPE experience here, and Dustin’s with Tom Crean here.

Here’s the gist:

  • As we’ve said before, Crean cannot comment publicly on Hanner Perea and, thus, did not want to go down the road of A-HOPE and Mark Adams, because it invariably is about Perea. He did say this about Drew Adams:“He’s an outstanding young coach,” Crean said. “Earned his way, made a determination at a young age that when basketball wasn’t there for him as a player that he wanted it to be there for him as a coach. Took the necessary steps to do that. I’m always partial to people like that. I started coaching at the age of 18.”
  • Conteh is a senior at Western Michigan. Eight years ago he left The Gambia for the United States, was eventually adopted by Mark Adams’ ex-wife, Julie, and has by all accounts been a success story. He was very upset about the story: “I told (the reporter, Mike Fish) about how those people helped me from day one,” Conteh said. “And made me who I am today. … It’s been really amazing since the first day I stepped foot in the United States. I know there are a lot of kids from Africa who went to a different program and if they told me about their situation and compare my situation, they get jealous.”
  • One of the major claims against the elder Adams is that he steers his players towards schools connected to Drew. Conteh said Adams never offered an opinion on where he should go, instead asking him how he felt, and Jobe said he did not talk to Adams about Indiana until after he had signed a letter of intent.

21 comments

  1. Came across some quotes from Conteh and others saying something along the lines of how they were lied to by Fish about what the article was about. They were led to believe they were being interviewed for an article about the success of African players in the United States.

  2. Hugh and Dustin, with this information now at your disposal what is your opinion of the Fish article? Do you still feel like he painted an accurate representation of the situation? As I see it, either all these people are lying or Fish was, at best, inaccurate.

  3. Chet, It was novel and good timing to pump this out during a slow period. But the story is biased with innuendos establishing its lack of legs. Why JMV did not do a better job of blowing holes in it is befuddling. The author deserves an F and a suspension w/o pay.

  4. Was this entire can of worms was opened by having Tijan Jobe on the team? To watch Tijan’s complete ineptitude on a basketball court could do nothing but open the door to suspicious activities. Could any of us honestly ever imagine recruiting a kid out of an Indiana high school this lacking in talent? We all knew this was the price to pay to marry the gorgeous lady a couple years down the road. We had to take the ugly sister to the prom before we could circle the bases with Hanner.

    Why does Steve McClain sit on the bench next to Tom Crean? Same reason(keep in mind that this hire transpired before Cody made his decision). Tom Crean gave a coach an opportunity he would likely have never received without the 7-ft. prize he brought in his stagecoach from the West. Unfortunately, the NCAA was tipped-off on our attempts to sneak Guy-Marc Michel into candy-stripes and the attempt at landing a somewhat skilled big man by way of favor in offering a paid coaching position at one of the most storied basketball programs in the country was brought to a screeching halt.

    Then the Drew Adams hire…It does all appear a bit sketchy. And Drew honorably worked his way up through the ranks to earn a position at a dream basketball school just long enough to leave for New Mexico before we hardly noticed he was here? I though the Zeller commitment meant we were going to hang another banner in the next two or three years. Could there be a more foolish time to leave just before the excitement and hoops hysteria is reborn in Bloomington?

    Then the ESPN piece by Mark Fish…We’re surprised? I’ve seen whore houses pose for coffee shops better than this.

  5. Oops. Couple typos..

    Was this entire can of worms opened by having Tijan Jobe on the team?

    I thought the Zeller commitment meant we were going to hang another banner in the next two or three years.

  6. Chet, You’re a good man. None taken. It’s the Yacht Club at work. Crean had no idea the extremes they’ll go to get Alford in Bloomington. You almost feel sorry for the guy..all that religious malarkey he posts on his Twitter page. It’s a sign he’s feeling the invertible…He’s going down.

    And how’s that for a laugher? Scoop gives that blowhard from ESPN a platform to spread his filth aimed at Tom Crean and then they follow-up with a thread entitled “Who should start next season?”….Reminds me of the old Monty Python line…’Now for something completely different’.
    Tom Crean has no idea what he got himself into. The liberals have taken over the print and the Yacht Club hicks that have never left their 1970s cabins in the limestone hills want Alford back. There’s no coach that could have success in this town.

  7. oops. It’s a sign he’s feeling the inevitable. That’s funny.

  8. Chet…you know what an ‘evergreen’ is? It’s a print story that is not quite ready or is not interesting as is, therefore it is ‘filed’ for more info (as time permits). When a newsroom gets slow on impact stories, or a [inside page] hole develops because ads fell through, close to deadline, editors panic and look through the ‘evergreens’ to fill empty column inches. They are called ‘evergreens’ because they never really flower into anything worthwhile but do last for a long time.

    (One sign of an ‘evergreen’ is the space devoted to photographs that divert attention away from the content).

  9. I didn’t need a lesson in journalism to know Mr. Nark BlowFish had ulterior motives. I’m just disappointed we continually make stupid decisions in our basketball program. All this garbage….begging for recruits…claims our coach is history if he doesn’t put certain ‘saviors’ in an Indiana uniform…ignoring recruiting the entire state…hiring guys that are backstabbers…taking chance on a no-name kid from Europe that played professional ball before junior college. We look like the Keystone Cops. Bumbling amateurs running what was not-so-long-ago one of college basketball’s top programs. I don’t need an fatheaded journalist from the East to tell me Indiana is no longer feared on a basketball court. That fear left the day Mr. Brand told Mr. Knight to take a hike.

  10. Interesting you should say that. I travel a lot and my Sirius radio has all the sports channels programmed as it interests me. I was listening to Rivals Radio a couple days ago and they were discussing which were the consistent top teams in various conferences. For the Big Ten they mentioned three teams. Ohio State, Michigan State and, with the disclaimer that they were a year away, Indiana. So, while you may view IU as the Keystone Cops, at least some segments of the media view IU as being on the cusp of premiership of, arguably, the top basketball conference in the nation. The ‘eye of the beholder’, and all that.

  11. Hey there, It appears you’ve already said that; I’ve got to disagree. You might want to switch to decaf and step back off the ledge, or maybe find another team to identify with. Indiana hardly looks like Keystone Cops and we certainly aren’t bumbling amateurs. You may be correct that we are no longer currently feared on a basketball court, but that all is about to change. Your recollection of how that fear left the day Mr. Brand told Mr. Knight to take a hike, is at best, a romanticized version of the time. I loved Coach Knight’s teams, but even I have to admit that the last half-dozen years or so, we weren’t very good and no one feared us.

    You might also want to get your facts straight before you start flinging swords and arrows. For instance, we didn’t take a chance on a kid from Europe that played professional ball before junior college. Guy Marc-Michel is from Martinique, which is in the French Caribbean Islands. And he didn’t play professional ball. He played for a sports club and he didn’t receive pay. He did practice and play a few minutes in five games with the club’s top-level team, which at the time, the NCAA considered to be a professional team. Since that time, however, the NCAA has revised those rules, but not retroactively. When he was recruited, there were no big men left to recruit and the scholarship would have remained unused. Guy had a lot of potential, so if it was a chance as you say, it was a chance worth taking because it had more potential upside than possible downside. It was a good decision, just not one that worked out.

    You say that nothing has been the same since Coach Knight left and I imagine that you have already said that many times. Time to move on.

  12. At issue is Michel’s taking “college courses in France, where he played on a club basketball team that included professional players.”

    French Caribbean Islands sounds beautiful..He supposedly took courses in France and he was listed on the roster that included professional players. And don’t forget that one of our assistants was part of the deal. For all I know Steve McClain may be a better coach than Tom Crean, but it has to be the first time I’ve ever seen a coach hired as reward a recruit that never saw one minute of playing time…Here’s an idea…Make sure the recruit works out and then give the coach that fed him to you a job. Same with Drew Adams…Make sure we get Perea. Make certain no scandal keeps him off our roster and then give the runt his video coordinator job. And I find it ludicrous to claim there was no other big men in the entire nation left to recruit. No decent junior college player under the radar somewhere? Somebody didn’t do their homework on Guy’s background and our team suffered as a consequence. Crean’s comments on his Twitter page our also embarrassing. His religious babble will do little to gain any respect his coaching peers. I don’t think he should mix religion into basketball discussions. He comes off looking pious and excessively preachy. He makes Indiana look like they’re in the dark ages. Close the Twitter account..Keep your religious viewpoints at your own dinner table and do what Indiana hired you to do. Did we hire a preacher or a basketball coach?

    To say the Knight teams weren’t very good in his latter years is also inaccurate. What was the lowest any of his teams finished in the Big 10 standings? Once Knight’s teams put 3 banners in Assembly, it was expected another should be added every five years or so..There’s a lot of great basketball coaches out there that have never hung one banner. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out as planned in the NCAA tournament.
    The recruiting game changed considerably in Knight’s final decade as coach and maybe he was having trouble plucking recruits away from the sleazeballs. I must admit, at times I kind of liked the bad boy image he brought to IU..I liked the fact he wasn’t soft to reporters. He could be arrogant for sake of arrogance…He didn’t shove God down your throat or make excuses some bad hand he was dealt. Of course, he went overboard…Like many foolish men that have become too acquainted their own power, he believed he had reached untouchable status and it contributed to his own demise. It’s all kind of tragic how it ended for Knight. But you are right…it’s time to move on.

    I still have hope for our Hoosiers. I love the way Crean went outside the box to nab Remy Abell. Crean’s a good man..He just needs to realize he doesn’t always have to be selling his wonderful Christian values. Keep the focus on basketball. Good basketball will sell itself.

  13. …again you allude to your suspicion that coaches were hired as a reward for bringing players in. McClain was a former D-1 head coach. I think that is more than enough resume’ material to qualify him for an assistant gig. Adams got a part time entry level gig and has since been hired as a full time member of the New Mexico staff. Sounds like we were fortunate to get such a hard charger. You are alluding to bad behavior with no basis in fact and trying to mold the pieces into place to confirm your assertions. You sound much more like a Purdue troll than an IU fan.

  14. Right on target Chet, that complainer did not do his research on McClain. Also, GMM was declared ineligible because his 5 year eligibility clock ran out if IIRC. If recruiting him to IU was a bug-a-boo it was only a slight one.

  15. Come on, Chet. Please don’t call me a Purdue troll because I want those pulling the strings in our basketball program to be straight-shooters. I’m elated to have McClain on the bench. I’m elated we didn’t get someone who played for Knight’s old clan. I don’t know a damn thing about him, but the few times I’ve seen him interviewed he comes across as a breath of fresh air. I think it’s great to take a name far removed our timezone and bring in new perspectives..It’s great to see new blood given the opportunity to be submersed in the passion of Indiana basketball. I love to see a guy(no pun intended)that’s not on the inside track, someone completely off the radar, getting a fair shake at a top job where 9 out of 10 times a close friend, or lifetime colleague, a coach would receive the position. And if Crean would have picked McClain out of the blue Montana sky(or is it Wyoming?) without a recruit coming in the dust bowl trailing behind the stagecoach, I would have been just as happy. As I said, I like him. He seems to have a calming effect on Crean and that in itself is resume’ enough for me. All that being said, the cynic in me still believes he would have not received one interview for the job without the 7-ft. monster from Martinique. Knight put ex-players in coaching roles repeatedly. I don’t necessarily believe playing the game for a masterful coach will guarantee inheritance the same skills. Nor do I believe ex-players make masterful broadcasters. In my humble opinion, the most entertaining broadcasters, many going back to my childhood memories, were not ex-jocks. In many respects(and I said this in a post many months ago), I think we got the biggest prize out of the recruitment of Guy-Marc Michel by dumb accident. Though the NCAA made us another pincushion example a ridiculous and rarely examined narrow interpretation of a rule by blocking the eligibility of Guy(much like excessive phone calls some weasel recruit told the NCAA about or the trouble the culprits/informants tempting(Fishing?) the NCAA to make mountain out of the current Perea molehill), I believe we may have ended up with a much better coach than the player we never witnessed make one post move. I hope Crean stays loyal to McClain. He’s surely as qualified any hire that would fill the chair simply because he could shoot a basketball in his college days or showered in the same locker room as Bobby Knight. You misinterpret my thoughts and make false accusation where my heart resides. I would love the Hoosiers if Kelvin Sampson was rehired and Alford was his video coordinator..I am a bigot, a hypocrite, a dumb hick, and forever a forgiving Indiana Hoosier. I think the witch hunts are past are most often more evil than the evils the accused evildoers. Let’s just play straight pool. We are blessed to have a great high school tradition and access to abundance of talent in a sport we can, and will, once again dominate.

    Let me finally add that I would vomit on a daily basis to live in the backyard the aforementioned. No loveliness a liberal village stuck in time bubble a 1970s Bloomington, or perfect winding roads to take my motorbike for a sunset spin, could entice enough to be surrounded by such repulsive company an envious hoops breed. I don’t know how you do it, my friend. It must have been all those somersaults in fighter planes that completely rid you a normal cookie-toss reflex.

  16. Oops.

    …the witch hunts [our] past

    Wish I had a motorcycle. My ’73 Firebird was the closest I ever got to being sporty on the roads. I loved that old car..

  17. Wow. I really messed up that last paragraph..accidentally cut out a couple sentences causing the “aforementioned” comment to make zero sense. Sorry about that. Let me just change it to the following:

    “Let me finally add that I would vomit on a daily basis to live in the backyard [of Blue Devils and Tar Heels]”.

  18. You all need TO GET A LIFE. Leave these young men alone and just let them live their lives. In the end the only thing that matters is ~ They are (or already have) gotten educations by playing basketball to better their lives and the lives of their loved ones back home.

    It amazes me that people have nothing better to do in their lives than to just sit on a computer and talk about people and situations they KNOW NOTHING ABOUT. GET A LIFE and move on. Mohammed, Tijan and the rest of these young men have done nothing to you and do not deserve the crap and stupidity that is being said about them and ‘how’ they came to America. To me and a lot of other people it seems the ones that are dragging this on because they are jealous or are very sad individuals because they have nothing better to do with their lives.

    GROW UP AND GET A LIFE! These young men do not deserve this circus. They are just individuals who left their families to follow a dream of getting a top notch education and play a game they love. Who wouldn’t do that. Life sacrifices were made by these young men and you will never know the true story so just MOVE ON.

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