Hoosier Morning

1. HOOSIERS HQ
Point guard Lourawls Nairn is done with his official visits and will make a decision in the next week or two, Dustin writes.

Restarts have proven to be a strength of the IU men’s soccer team so far this season, I wrote.

Indiana freshman Troy Williams will be out a few weeks with a hand injury, Dustin wrote.

2. IT’S INDIANA
Robert Johnson’s commitment gives IU fans hope for what has been a disappointing 2014 recruiting cycle, Sean Morrison of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette writes.

Boo Williams, the uncle of Troy Williams and AAU coach of Robert Johnson, talks about the Hoosiers’ newest recruit, via Kent Sterling at kentsterling.com.

A more ambitious nonconference schedule has IU football in a must-win situation after the bye week, Pete DiPrimio of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel writes.

3. POTPOURRI
The Indiana Basketball Coaches’ Association is considering a plan for a three-class state basketball tournament, with each class split into two divisions, Steve Hanlon of the Northwest Times of Indiana writes.

The National College Players Association stepped into the college football spotlight when players on three teams, including Northwestern, wrote “APU” — All Players United — on towels or wristbands this past weekend, Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News writes.

4. ONE FOR THE ROAD
We celebrate the impending end of Nairn’s recruitment with the original Lou Rawls and “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine.”

44 comments

  1. In 2012 only 22,820 fans attended the boys basketball state finals in Indianapolis, the lowest number in history. The total tournament number of 385,024 was the lowest since class hoops started in 1997-98.

    Bowman Academy played Tipton in front of a meager 2,398 fans at Lafayette Jeff in 2012, the lowest semistate crowd in history.

    And the new proposals forwarded by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association is a joke. They ruined the most unique and storied basketball tournament in the nation so more could have their blue ribbons. They ruined small towns and sectionals and reasons to fill the old city gyms. Storied fieldhouses across Indiana are boarding up the doors. They butchered Indiana basketball’s traditions and March fever and now they wonder where the money went? It went back into the wallets of fans that lived for the month of March…And the passion that filled those gyms has evaporated into the ‘classes’ of the comatose. From rural corners to inner city, we used to blend and mix our basketball blood. Now we’re nothing but everyone else..We’re just another economically streamlined, structured, segmented, separated, class-protected, politically correct dud.

    And this recent attempt to bring back to life our high school tournament is nothing but surgery on a corpse. The heartbeat is gone, my friends. You drained it of all its reason to pound in unison. You stole the hardwood our memories and our belief its sacred and fragile uniqueness that was shared amongst all that loved the game in this state. It was ours and you made it only yours. That’s what unchecked power does. It takes what everybody loves to claim it their own. Well, IHSAA, you can have it.

  2. I am with you H4H. I went to a small high school, Wabash High School, and we played in the Huntington North sectional. HN was usually the better school due to the fact that most of the teams in the section were 2A schools and Huntington was a 4A school, but we were okay with that. Every year, there was always that thought that someone would step up and beat them. Northfield did a couple of years in a row when they had the Ross twins that ended up at Notre Dame. But that was the best part, prior to sectional everyone thought that that year was going to be their year. We ended up winning a state baseball sectional my junior year and had to beat 4 schools that were much bigger than us, beat Marion in the championship game that had Lyndon Jones on the team. At that time we were the smallest school to ever win a state baseball title and that always gave us a sense of pride that a small school in northern Indiana could win a state title. That luster has gone away from just about every state title now won except for the some of the individual sports like tennis and golf. It is a shame.

  3. iuhoosier1992-

    But that was the best part, prior to sectional everyone thought that that year was going to be their year.

    Wonderfully stated..And that’s the dream they killed. They killed the sense of proving to the “big boys” that you belonged. And though the frequency of the monumental upsets could be far and few between, the drive and desire to keep the chip on the shoulder, earn your respect on the court, was a driving force for players and fans alike. Fans came to the gyms with chips on their shoulders…And the fans of powerhouse teams came with their noses in the air. Each could be humbled by the end of four quarters. All benefited from the experience.

  4. Doesn’t appear Sat. game dulled any of the brightness on IU for any of the target recruits who attended. The ones contacted and talking have only positive thoughts about their visit and hold IU in high regard. No negatives caused by the loss.

  5. Recruits always say nice things after a visit. We’ll see how many sign a letter after a another 4-8 season.

  6. As many or more than did after a 1-11 and a 4-8. It is called recruiting and this staff gets it. I observe recruiting closely and no they do not always say nice things after a visit.

  7. 3 star recruits are good, however if IU football is going to reach respectable success 2, 3 or 4 = 4 star recruits needed year after year….then you will be playing with half your team being 4 star at their respective positions along with 3 star recruits.

  8. Who are the class high school basketball champs??????
    Winning the 1A State basketball tournament = sectional champ in traditional system, maybe.

    2A state champ=sectional champ in traditional system

    3A state champ=regional champ, maybe in traditional system.

    4A state champ= semi state champ, maybe in traditional system maybe.

    There is an exception here and there, but hardly any…unfun and ashamed

  9. Is the “star” number set in stone? Football recruits can’t be somewhat under the radar as with basketball? There’s no Victor Oladipo’s in football?

    You can’t have a coach that uses his instincts and eye for talent at the edge of blossoming to build a 3-star into a 4-star..or possibly, 5-star recruit?

    Seems very predetermined and pessimistic to shackle a recruit to a “star”..I understand these people are in the business, but I’d like to often give them my middle finger. Are there never hyped recruits(4 and 5-star) that fizzle out or don’t show the expected projected “take the world” by storm? How about this kid named Gunner Kiel? Would you now take him over Sudfeld or Roberson…? The guys in the trenches don’t receive the same hype as the sexy positions, but I would imagine that many of the same dynamics are at work. Some, with the proper coaching and development, can take their games much higher…Some, to fat-headed with prima donna treatment, can get a rude awakening and suddenly find that juicy ‘star’ doesn’t make them Bart Starr.

    I’m willing to have faith that Wilson may have a much better sense of young men with the drive and tools to recognize some may be playing in high school below their true potential.

    Let’s not assume that the Lord above only blessed Tom Crean with the inventiveness and ability to find truly talent unappreciated, doubted, slightly unpolished, or under the radar. Every kid matures into his game at a different rate. Some peak early and find a ceiling on their talent…Some peak late and bust through that ceiling.

  10. We should allow Wilson some window to find and develop blossoming talent that other programs with the “cream of the crop” always at their door could easily overlook or underestimate.

    There really is no other faith to have in Indiana football at this juncture. To think any coach taking the job at Memorial could have backyard/Midwest choice recruits beating down the door in just 2-3 years is delusional.

  11. I think Wilson is recruiting well….last year he got a few 4 star recruits….it needs to happen every year…yes some 4 star and 5 star recruits do not work out…but it is simple math, play the percentages….IU tradition is to take lower recruits and make them better and better so after a few years they may win 5 or 6 games instead of 3 or 4 depending on schedule…..Successful programs besides teams like Ohio State and Michigan, etc at big ten level are recruiting 4 star players …. Wisconsin, Northwestern in recent years are examples. Most IU recruits are going to be 3 star but they also need several 4 star players mixed in to have 7 or 8 wins at this level….everything else is hype and fools gold.

  12. HC, how do you “observe recruiting closely”? I’m curious how you know what the recruits are saying after their visit. That must occupy a lot of your time unless all their comments are posted in one publication. I would not know where to begin to find that information.

    I could care less about a player’s star rating coming out of High School. I don’t remember Tracy Porter having a 5-star rating, but he now owns a Super Bowl ring. I want bigger, faster, stronger players that can tackle, shed blocks, cover a receiver and rush the quarterback. I suggest Wilson put more emphasis on recruiting JC players. He can attract them by showing film clip of IU’s defense and asking them, “do you think you’re better than that guy? Because if you are, you’ll be the starter on day one.”

    Wilson and staff have done a better job recruiting bigger and more athletic players, but the problem is they’re mostly freshman, redshirt freshman or sophomores. He needed bigger, more physically mature players for the O and D lines, for this season and next season, while the young talent has time to mature. And I don’t mean just physical maturity, but mental maturity as well.

    It will be interesting to see how the 2014 recruiting class compares to the 2013 class. My guess is that it will show some signs of decline instead of advancement. But, IU could get lucky, win three more games this year, and have an improved recruiting haul. I think it boils down to the games against MN, IL and Purdue. It’s possible.

  13. Podunker,
    Inside Indiana, Peegs.com and AllHoosiers.com are more on the ball with football visits than we are. Recruiting is the bread and butter for those sites. Matt Weaver and Zach Osterman do a really good job with that. Personally, I’ve never read a story with a player saying anything bad about a visit, but if you want to be more honed in on that stuff specifically, those are the places to go.
    Wilson has gone the JUCO route more than a few times, though. It’s just not as loaded as you might think. He’s literally picked up at least one player for every position. (DE–Justin Rayside, DT–Jordan Heiderman, Chris Cormier, LB-David Cooper, Jacarri Alexander,Steven Funderburk, CB-Antonio Marshall, Tim Bennett, S/CB Ryan Thompson, Tregg Waters.) Obviously, some of those have panned out and some of them haven’t, but it’s certainly an avenue he’s looked into.

  14. that is my point….Tracey Porter is one player and there have been a few others…my point is that is not enough…Wilson is recruiting jucos but that is limited especially for the level of competition is in.

  15. Podunker – I also try to post recruiting information passed along to me by those in the know here but it generally isn’t appreciated.

  16. Dustin, I subscribe to Inside Indiana. I don’t get Peegs or AllHoosiers. I may check out AllHoosiers and see what it has.

    Do you think there is generally greater risk that JC recruits won’t “pan out?” Or were some of those that did not pan out largely a function of IU’s relative weakness in recruiting at the time?

    By the way, did you follow the five-part series in Sports Illustrated that goes into detail on the extreme cheating at Oklahoma State’s football program? Not only cheating, but a really perverse pattern of behavior regarding coaches who routinely discarded players that the coaches decided were no longer of value to the football program. I think many people have assumed that stuff was going on throughout many top ten programs, but reading it was still shocking. I’d be interested to read your thoughts on the SI story and what you think may result from the investigation.

  17. Was that during the years Wilson was at Oklahoma…? Is that a reflection on the character of coach Wilson? Are we suggesting Wilson, a prominent defensive coach, knew or partook in the cheating and mistreated players? I mean, cut to the chase Podunker.

    Row, row, row your boat
    gently down the stream…
    Merrily, merrily, Wilson’s a cheat
    and Crean is quite the dream.

  18. Aruss, not appreciated by whom? Don’t let a few critics prevent you from posting information you think might be interesting to others. If its a rumor, as long as it does not damage someone’s character or is not slanderous, post the information and identify it for what it is, a rumor or hearsay, or whatever.

    I think most recruiting “news”, with the exception of a player’s announcement, or actual news about which schools he is going to visit, is rumor packaged as news. “Johnny Smith’s High School football coach, Mike Neverwas, said Johnny really enjoyed his visit to the University of West Overstitch and said he really appreciated the ‘family atmosphere’ that is in place there, bla-bla-bla.” Well, that may technically be called news, but its really just hearsay with the source properly identified. It’s real news when Johnny announces that he has signed the LOI to the University of West Overstitch.” Some people may find it interesting, some may not. I think most people will understand your not a journalist and that what your posting is not real “news.” This is a blog!

  19. Po, Now that DD has informed you I’ll not be redundant. It really does not take me much time, it does take “want to”. The JUCO route is much less successful than the average fan thinks.

    I do not know where the Ok St. story will end up but publishing the story is a godsend for SI. There are nearly as many players saying it is false as there are pointing the finger.

  20. HfH, Wilson was an Assistant coach at University of Oklahoma. The Sports Illustrated articles are about the abuses and cheating that they claim were systematically conducted by coaches and administrators at OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY. I clearly referred to “Oklahoma State” in my post #18. That’s the other school in Oklahoma. And the SI story has been out there for two or three weeks now. Common sense suggests that if Wilson had been implicated in such a scandal by Sports Illustrated, you’d have read about in The Herald Times or the Indy Star by now.

    You might enjoy reading other sports publications once in a while.

  21. HC, if Oklahoma State football does not get the death penalty as a result of this scandal, then USC should sue the NCAA for every penny in its coffers. The SI story suggests that the cheating at Oklahoma State makes USC’s former violations look like child’s play. And to me, having read every word of the stories, there are just too many former players telling too many detailed stories for this story not to be true. This could be a career-ender for a lot of college football coaches and college administrators. According to SI, it was systemic.

    If the NCAA does not deliver the death blow to OK State, and those involved with that suer system, then college football will openly become the wild, wild west.

  22. My bad…I’ll confess that I’ve lost a lot of interest in the shop talk on ESPN…My wife actually got me a subscription to SI but I had no desire to pick them up. Sorta lost a lot of faith in all college sports.

    And where isn’t there scandal in college football anymore? Miami whores and yacht parties..Penn State pedophiles…USC(or was that a hoops scandal?)…Ohio State(something about tattoos and autographs)…Johnny Football…? I’m bored with all of it. Aren’t you?

    It’s almost as if you contemplate what’s to gain once your football program becomes big-time? It’s like the old Chinese proverb: Don’t wish for anything too much..You might just get it. And then Tom Crean shows up at your door.

  23. Po, You can clamor all you please but so far the only solid ground in the story is the $ for SI. I’ll wait for the possible future investigation conclusion to be satisfied. Who knows Arian Foster taking cash at Tennessee may be a much bigger molehill.

  24. HC, I don’t understand your post. Do you think the SI story is bogus? Do you suggest there will be no investigation that results from these stories. I know the NCAA’s statute of limitations will reduce risk to some of the participants, but do you actually believe SI was just blowing smoke just to increase newsstand sales?

    It will take a couple of years for the NCAA to complete this investigation. And as I said, if they don’t punish OK State, then it really does not matter any more because college football will have become the wild, wild west.

  25. I seldom leap before I survey the geography. Until an investigation reveals proof the story is an SI product to drive sales $. I do know there is nearly as many players saying it is BS as there is the # of talkers in the dark to SI. If it turns out there is something to it there should be punishment. My point is this should be done w/o all the usual over exuberance of loosely controlled emotions. Like the PSU incident. I knew at the time of the sanctions they were way to bold. Emotions caused that. Now they are being modified to more appropriate amounts. The best policy is to keep an even keel.

  26. “….. the story is an SI product to drive sales $.” What!? Are you implying that SI would have fabricated the entire story, just to gin up sales? That’s crazy, and it takes cynicism to an all time high. It’s Sports Illustrated, not The National Enquirer. SI is perhaps the most respected sports-related periodical in history. I don’t recall any credible source ever questioning the ethics or professionalism of Sports Illustrated. And to fabricate a story like that would put the magazine at risk of bankruptcy after the school and/or the individuals involved sued them for libel.

    And by the way, big time political pressure being applied to the NCAA is the reason why the sanctions against Penn State are being lowered. Penn State football is lucky it did not get the death penalty for all the wrongs those coaches and administrators perpetuated. “Sanctions way too bold.” “Loosely controlled emotions?” Emotions were very high and rightfully so. Young boys were raped by a top assistant coach inside the Penn State football facilities, both before and after the coach “resigned” from the University. If that does not stimulate emotions, what does? And coaches and administrators systematically covered up those crimes, allowing the rapist to continue to destroy innocent children’s lives. “Emotions caused that?” Wow, HC, to not get emotional about such a heinous series of events is disturbing. Penn State is lucky they still have a football program.

  27. Now don’t act dumb. You know damn well the loosely controlled emotions was aimed at the over the top sanctions not the crime. Yes, way to bold, when they affect the FB players more than the criminals.

  28. Seth Davis works for Sports Illustrated. His bosses allowed him to print despicable and unfairly cruel judgments cast upon a decent and very skilled Hoosier basketball player.

    From that day forward, SI could function as bathroom stall paper. National Enquirer is a good fit for Seth Davis.

  29. It’s not any different. Other than the fact the my “tantrums” and Tsao’s tantrums…and Chet’s tantrums…and Clarion’s Barney Frank tantrums…and Podunker’s Mallory tantrums…and JPat’s “Wilson is a jerk” tantrums..and Husky Tom’s “Eric Gordon is a 1-6 loser against Arkansas” tantrum…and Hugh Kellenberger’s “Elston tripped that kid on purpose” tantrum…and Geoff’s “VJ Sucks!” tantrum…and a thousand other tantrums every flawless butt on here except the demon seed, isn’t in a national publication read by millions.

    Yep, we’re all hypocrites and haters and blamers…Some just have a much bigger stage than washed up old men getting their jollies at Hoosier Scoop.

  30. And, duh…duh..duh…uh, uh…I don’t read much dem sports magazine things, but that there was a nice story that Sedge Davis written about Mitch McGary. I highly Rick-a-Monday taking one hour likes I did to reads it. Sedge loves Indiana and he really hit this one out of the park. He almost wents as far as calling Mitch indefatigable…I think I had a bit of indefatigable last night from an undercooked bratwurst.

  31. Am I wrong, or did I read (not too long ago) a Podunker comment on the Blog holding Oklahoma State as an example of a good football program that had achieved its ends by raising a lot of money and invested it in their football team. I remember it because I also thought the brothers who had given OSU zillions were probably not too interested in how OSU used the money in terms of ethics and compliance and that the obtained result was (then) likely to come soon thereafter.

    Indiana seems to be committed to doing it the right way. When we tried to cut corners it has been a disaster and shamed us.

    Yje issue at Penn State was indeed the degenerate, criminal behavior of one of their coaches. What did grow from there was a general indifference that led its football coach, top athletic administrators and some of their highest executives, including the President who was known for narcissistic grandeur within the NCAA to ‘ignore’ the truth or ‘turn a blind eye’ to it…take your pick.

    The NCAA makes a huge issue that it’s most serious violation is ‘the lack of institutional control’ over the major athletic programs and the situation was a glaring and festering, puss leaking sore. While the criminal behavior belonged on the excited lap of Jerry Sandusky, the ‘turning a blind eye’ belonged to the Penn State sports cupula, the football staff, and probably a couple of dozen individuals who had some awareness of what was going on and consciously ignored it.

    The problem is that the last thing anyone at Penn State wants are lawsuits flying around and all kinds of people being questioned and telling what the knew and who it was about in open court. Include not only Penn State in that blessed ignorance but the NCAA itself.

    The same game is being played within the NCAA in its serial performance with the University of Miami. No doubt it is also trying to find ‘all the ways in which it can see nothing, hear nothing and say nothing’ before we include the Indianapolis based college athletics czar and throw the entire toilet into the White River and start all over.

    Whose fault is it? Try college Presidents and Boards (and their delegated ‘managers’, But, whatever we do, do not forget the media- written and technology based- is a participant which clearly profits from this very, very lucrative and often industry so dependent on our very passive, permissive ‘ignorance’.

  32. Yes, Taso, you are wrong. You are totally wrong in your implication. And your attempt at at “gotcha post” failed. My previous reference to Oklahoma State football was in the context of a wealthy donor (T. Boone Pickens) that made a record-breaking contribution to the school’s athletic program, and how that money built world class facilities that aided recruiting, etc. I believe I also sited Oregon (Knight) as an example and how big money donations built world-class facilities that helped recruit the best athletes from around the country. The context was about the connection between big money spent to build better facilities that provide significant recruiting advantages. But your implication is wrong. I did not hold up Oklahoma State as a “good football program.” If anything, I used that school as an example (along with Oregon) of how a relatively weak University (academics, location, etc), without much of a football tradition, used huge financial donations to turn an unsuccessful football program into a winning football program. My point was, if an alumni group wants to build a successful football program, it’s possible, but it takes big and sustained investment because college football is a big money business.

    But what does that have to do with systemic cheating and amoral behavior in the way vulnerable young men were treated by the people entrusted to teach and mentor them to becoming successful citizens? Did you read the SI articles? If you did, you should know there is no connection between my previous posts and the accusations of terrible behavior by coaches and administrators at Oklahoma State University.

  33. Podunker (And Clarion and sort of Tsao), you asked about my take on this and I apologize for not getting back to you because it probably did allow your question to get out of context. The issue with the Oklahoma State story and a big reason the story is catching a good bit of flak nationally is because unlike in the case of some other bombshell college football scandal reporting (especially Yahoo’s reporting on the Miami scandal) Sports Illustrated did not cite a paper trail as much as it relied on interviews of former players. When the story dropped, some of the players recanted, but more players who were accused of wrong doing said that SI was relying on the words of disgruntled players who had a grudge against the program and pretty much denied everything. Plus there were, I believe, some cited documents that called into question some of the reporting. That led to a lot of flak being heaped on SI, especially the piece’s co-author Thayer Evans, who has been pretty zealous in his chasing of scandals.
    Now, that doesn’t mean that Sports Illustrated made all of it up or that nothing bad was happening at Oklahoma State. But it marks, I think, a turning point in reporting on these scandals and puts in sharper relief the bind that the NCAA has always been in. For journalists when it comes to this reporting, the bar for the burden of proof has been raised to the point that it’s little different from being able to prove a crime in a court of law. Quoting a player as saying “everyone knew this was happening. I didn’t do it, but I know a bunch of guys that did,” is hearsay in a court of law, and there has to be hard proof beyond that, which is hard to come by if people are good at cheating. When it comes to giving guys money, it’s almost impossible to prove small cash exchanges unless one or both parties admit to them. Certainly, if you can’t get access to drug tests, which are protected under privacy law, you can’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that was going on. It’s not enough anymore to have someone tell you something bad was happening. They have to produce documentation or the validity of the story will be questioned.
    Which brings us back to the problem the NCAA has always dealt with. It doesn’t have subpoena power. It could interview the same players Sports Illustrated did, come to the same conclusions and perhaps drop down some punishment, but it will be wildly criticized for going over the top without any real proof. (Of course, the NCAA was able to screw up the Miami investigation even with access to a paper trail, but that’s a whole other story.) So basically, no, I don’t see this turning into a death penalty case at all because i don’t think the NCAA will be able to procure any more evidence than SI did.

  34. But they can burn an IU to the ground because of too many 3-way phone calls.

    Then again, maybe the NCAA makes judgment calls to which programs are worth the punishment.

    Maybe sometimes the worst offenses get overlooked because there’s nothing of redeeming value to try and save. Maybe they understand there’s a level of corruption that has brought a certain type of player for decades and there’s no easy fix.

    I’m sure the NCAA could find something to punish these programs with the same heavy hand of justice they used against IU for a 3-way phone call scandal. But what would it change? Justice doesn’t work in environments conditioned and indoctrinated into a culture to believe character and tradition will always be for sale when it comes to winning.

    Punishment worked at IU because we want and expect more from our program than guarantees bought to produce a winning score.

    You can blame coaches and administrators and find journalists to get young men to spill the ugly truth of the deep levels of corruption, but does it solve the root of the problem? Isn’t there only as much corruption as those willing to be corrupted?

    Do we blame John Calipari for recruiting a kid that cheated on his SAT by hiring an impostor to take his test…or do we blame the values of those that raised the young man to believe the pathways in stealing your dignity are worth the price of fame?

    At the end of the day, all these scandals reflect a deeper truth: Many our youth have lost their way. The prizes and dollars at the end of the rainbow are too great a temptation to care about lured into choices that are not difficult to distinguish between right and wrong. These aren’t 10-year-old boys lured in by the power and emotions a priest that wants to abuse their innocence.

    The NCAA can be a parent organization, but they can’t be a parent. They can apply death penalties across the expanses of all sports, but they can’t get into the living rooms where character begins. They can’t change the economics of an American divided between have’s and have not’s where cheating is often seen as an equalizer for those without the level playing ground all other endeavors.

    What we have built in America spills into our sports. The few that have the chance to escape a world most of us shall never know the pains to sustain hope are not built to have a guilty conscience the petty thefts we paint as shocking revelations.

    Character begins in the home. And without a true home, the character built to distinguish right and wrong blend into meaninglessness when survival and chances to escape a one-sided score in American come knocking at their door. If you believe the NCAA can fix sports without our collective effort in improving and fixing our forgotten neighborhoods and desperate streets, then good luck with that.

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