Report: Crean to interview Towson’s Kenny Johnson for assistant position

Jeff Goodman of is reporting that Tom Crean will interview Kenny Johnson, an assistant at Towson, for the assistant coaching position left vacant when Bennie Seltzer took the head job at Samford.

Towson is coming off a 1-31 season, but Johnson is well connected in the Washington D.C./Virginia/Maryland area. He’s a former AAU coach with Team Takeover, which also gives him connections to Indiana 2013 target BeeJay Anya.

The obvious question that arises from this is whether or not Calbert Cheaney, current director of ops and IU’s all-time leading scorer, is still up for the position. With an open position on the staff, Cheaney has been allowed to leave campus to recruit in recent weeks and has been seen at travel basketball events during the brief April evaluation period. It is uncertain what if any discussions Crean and Cheaney have had about a promotion and even if Cheaney desired to move up to a full-time assistant position.



  1. I’m not sure any amount of connections justify hiring someone coming off a 1-31 record in one of the worst leagues in the country. I’d rather have Calbert. He makes his own connections by showing a recruit the all-time Big Ten scoring list.

  2. Exactly, Eric.

    Players want to know coaches know how to teach and get them to the next level.

    1-31 doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.

  3. do you think they havent offered cheaney yet? he obviously does not want to switch to the new job and be on the road

  4. Maybe someone more familiar with the hiring process can tell us more about what generally happens in the process.
    At the least, I assume that IU has to do its due diligence and advertise the job and do interviews if appropriate.
    They may wish to hire this guy as the new coordinator if Cheaney becomes the assistant. Of course, he could not help in off campus recruiting. Just the fact that he is being interviewed by IU could be helpful to him even if he doesn’t get the job. We may have assistants leaving in the future and it wouldn’t hurt to see if this guy might be a future possibility. On the other hand, it is possible that Cheaney doesn’t want the position.
    Lot’s to speculate about here.

  5. To be fair, as Bozich noted, he was only there for one year. I’m not quite sure what he could’ve contributed as an assistant to fix that in one year.

  6. Absolutely great story from Jeff Rabjohns at on Devin Davis. It really does seem that TC has quite an eye for talent. A little comment he (TC) made also suggests he has a great eye for technique.

    Some people are borne with a gift. We may have several, including their coach.

    More and more it appears to me TC has a particular vision of how you make a great stew and it depends on having a ‘taste’ for the ingredient mix…maybe not so dependent on the cooking instructions. And too many hands in the pot….

  7. Dustin, thanks for the correction. I mistakenly thought Towson was in the MEAC. The Colonial is indeed a very tough ‘mid-major’ league along with the MVC, West Coast, etc. You can’t argue with multiple Final Four teams in recent years and a number of tournament wins over time. And of course we all remember IU getting out of the gym, scalp intact by the thinnest of margins, against VCU this year.

    Thanks also for the frequent recruiting updates!

  8. Seriously people? Are you that myopic that you think Johnson has anything to do with Towson’s record last year. The next person that uses “1-31!” as an excuse to dismiss him as a coach permanently gets their basketball card pulled…

    He was at Towson for one season

    He was the essentially the 2nd assistant coach on the staff.

    Based on his background it is safe to assume his responsibilities and role we’re focused on recruiting, much like they would be at IU.

    He didn’t have any time to recruit players that could turn Towson around

    Recruiting is much more about personality than it is about the coach’s basketball playing resume. Sean Miller – no playing resume to speak of… Josh Pastner – son of a coach… Those are 2 of the hottest recruiters out there.

    Cheaney hasn’t put a single player in the NBA (not that I don’t want him as coach because I think that would be great).

    Crean has put several players in the NBA.

    IU is a high profile basketball school.

    If this guy is CLEAN (first and foremost) and he has that charisma that can attract top 50 talent, then he should be given every opportunity from the Hoosier fans. It’s embarrassing to read you guys dismissing Johnson with absolutely no knowledge of his abilities, and what sounds like even less knowledge of what it takes to recruit these kids.

    I’m not saying he is a good coach, or that he is the right fit for IU, or that he is clean, or that he has what it takes to recruit top talent to IU, but it seems to me that Crean has a pretty good understanding of what it takes to be a productive assistant coach at IU, so I think I’ll defer to his better judgement if he decides to go in Johnson’s direction.

  9. I would like to have AJ Guyton as a coach…he did great with his team in Illinois and won the whole thing there…I think he is interested in going to the next level…does anyone know?

  10. Geoff, well stated. Crean keeps making pretty good decisions in all aspects of IU basketball but the naysayers on here keep knocking his ability to continue to do so. Lord help us (and CTC) when he finally has something not go as well as expected. The ‘Lord’ was added for for you cynics, atheists & agnostics, just because I can! 🙂

  11. Towson’s record last year is irrelevant. What’s important is skill, ambition, character, and attitude.

    Could it be that Calbert does not want to be an assistant coach quite yet? I’m guessing he’s not hurting for cash after his long career in the NBA. So maybe he wants to take his time and learn more before taking on the Asst coaching responsibilities.

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