I’ve got next

In lieu of a lackluster Hoosier Morning, I thought I’d borrow from the pick-up lexicon and say, “I’ve got next.”

Ryan has officially departed for Milwaukee, as last night’s torrent of Brewers’ tweets confirmed (As a Reds’ fan, I admit I had to unfollow).

That leaves me sitting in the basketball columnist chair previously occupied by Mr. Kartje and Mr. Kellenberger and Mr. Korman and Mr. Wilson and Mr. Sutton — all of which have gone from the H-T during my 12 years working here. So, the new guy is sort of an old guy.

But I am ready to embrace a new challenge, which is exactly what this is. And it’s a heck of a time to take it on, with IU seemingly on the verge of reclaiming its annual place among the college basketball elite.

Beyond the short-term, that’s what will be really interesting — can Indiana put itself in a position where, like a Kansas, Kentucky, Duke or North Carolina, Final Four appearances become the regular expectation. And I don’t mean just the rabid IU fans’ expectations, but those of college basketball fans and pundits nationwide.

More immediately, it’s a question of living up to expectations that have increased 10-fold since last year at this time. There’s also some question whether such expectations — 2012-13 preseason No. 1 nationally — are truly realistic, but I’ll save that for another time.

I grew up in High Point, N.C., a fan of one of those teams with high expectations year in and year out — the North Carolina Tar Heels. The 1981-82 NCAA Championship season was the year I truly remember becoming hooked (Been rooting against Georgetown ever since, too). My second-grade class wrote Dean Smith and the team congratulatory letters after winning the title, and we each received two collectable trading cards of team members in return (Mine were Chris Brust and Jimmy Black, I’m guessing the Michael Jordan and James Worthy cards would be worth a lot more now).

Basketball’s been a part of my life ever since, from crazy hook shots on the elementary school playground to a school-record eight 3s in a high school game to playing and refereeing intramurals in college to covering and taking calls on more games than I can count at the H-T.

While my job now is to share my basketball thoughts and opinions, the Scoop is as much your site as it is mine. I plan to pick up where my predecessors left off for the most part, making some tweaks of my own along the way. But if there’s something you’d like to see more of, less of, etc., I’m open to suggestions.

Then we’ll see what happens next.


  1. Jeremy, congratulations on the new position, but exert some influence on the “Bosses” to find some one with talent and energy to cover the “other” sports that you did so well. Every time I begin a list of the college basketball “elite”, I find that I am leaving off some important programs. You list the obvious four: “can Indiana put itself in a position where, like a Kansas, Kentucky, Duke or North Carolina, Final Four appearances become the regular expectation.” I would include: Oh St, MSU, Syracuse, Louisville and now Indiana (making 9). But what do you do with FL and Georgetown (11); and until the NCAA punishes them, Baylor (12); and is UCLA really coming back; and is NC St for real; and will recruiting produce results at AZ and St Johns; my list keeps growing. The Final Four “regulars” group is becoming crowded.

  2. How long before you leave us for greener pastures? I feel like the BHT is a MAC school that coaches use as a stepping stone to get bigger coaching jobs. You seem like the next Shaka Smart so I’ll try not to get emotionally invested in your work just to watch you walk off to Sports Illustrated in the next 6 months.

  3. “More immediately, it’s a question of living up to expectations that have increased 10-fold since last year at this time.”

    More immediately than that is how the scholarship situation will resolve.

  4. We were once an elite program, then Davis/Sampson hit and we fell. The 11-12 team brought us back. It will be tough to stay there. I agree with Jim re: scholarships. For us to stay in the elite, we have to recruit like the 4 teams mentioned as perennial Final Four teams, and the Class of 13 so far doesn’t meet the standard. No one ranked in the top 100 and then add guys leaving early, we will not consistently rank in the top 10. Point is: to stay with the elite, we have to recruit with the elite every year. Time will tell if we can do that or have done that. This talk about us hanging multiple banners is just that right now. Can the new guys gel with the current guys? Can the ones over the next few seasons gel and contribute right away? Without upperclassman leadership and overly high expectations due to this past season’s team’s success, we could be in for and mostly will be in for a let down.

  5. The Hoosiers weren’t even elite at the end of Knight’s tenure. Just because we had an elite coach didn’t make the program elite.

    IU wasn’t winning Big Ten titles or advancing anywhere in the NCAA tournament in the final handful or so years under Knight. If memory serves me right, the last Big Ten title and Sweet Sixteen berth under Knight was in 1993-1994.

    The program has an elite tradition, but to be an elite team, the product on the court has to succeed at the highest level on a consistent basis.

    And that’s where I agree 100%. It remains to be seen if Indiana can keep trending upward. I think we will, but if the Hoosiers plateau now, that’s not elite at all, and we all know it.

    I’m definitely excited to see the pieces are falling in place to put IU back on the map of elites.

  6. Some folks may be interested.

    Kevin Wilson is worried about one culture – the one in his locker room, not the culture that Indiana is a basketball school.
    On Wednesday morning, Wilson described his issue with the word ‘culture’ as it relates to Indiana.
    Wilson said, “That one word, ‘culture,’ is the one word I’ve kind of gotten tired of, but I got a better understanding of it. I can relate, having grown up in North Carolina, where there is a phenomenal passion for basketball and the ACC and going to Chapel Hill.”

    “You think the culture is basketball and they don’t really like their football.”

    Wilson explained, “The culture is my locker room. I don’t control the outside things. And as I’ve gotten into this year, it’s not about what others have they you don’t have. It’s about taking what you’ve got, molding a team better, getting everyone on the same page, trying to get as many people as you can to buy in, developing players that you’ve got, working on strength development (see video), recruiting better players, recruiting players to a family atmosphere, and getting kids to buy in. So the culture we’ve focused on is kind of more from the inside instead of worrying about what we didn’t have or don’t have, or what they got. What do we have? How do we fix it and how do we move forward?”
    Moving forward, Wilson understands the importance of recruiting.
    “We got to make sure our state doesn’t get robbed and the good players don’t leave us.”
    He noted that the junior and senior classes on the current roster were recruiting when Terry Hoeppner was fighting brain cancer and Bill Lynch was serving as the interim head coach.
    Wilson said, “I don’t think those classes have been particularly overwhelming.”
    Indiana opens the 2012 against Indiana State, at UMASS, and Ball State. The first Big Ten game is on the road at Northwestern in week #4.

  7. Bill – I’m truly not trying to toot my own horn here, I’m just wondering if you saw my post #11 in the Eron Gordon thread… 2013 may not be the strongest class just yet, but it has some potential. Also, No matter what happens I wouldn’t consider it an indictment because Crean was still trying to gain traction with the program when those offers we’re made. It’s also been proven that he can do a decent job developing 3-star wings…

    The bigger picture is this year’s success, the ensuing national spotlight, the pre-season #1 rankings, the 2012 class, and the the 2014 class. It’s the whole any-press-is-good-press thing. We are a destination again. We can compete for most any recruit we’re interested in now.

    Even UNC, Duke, Syracuse, and Kansas have mediocre classes from time to time. Every team needs role players too (Danny). We have lots of top flight talent coming into the program to buffer a couple mistakes or a mediocre class.

    No team wins the title every year, but I think with the track our recruiting is currently on – including 2013 – we should be a contender for the foreseeable future.

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