Crean talks recruiting Anunoby, Morgan

The first time Indiana coach Tom Crean went to watch AAU outfit Team Thad, Ogugua “O.G.” Anunoby’s name wasn’t in the program.

“We didn’t know if we were watching a junior or a senior,” Crean said. “I just knew that I was watching a guy that had tremendous length, covered a lot of ground, ran the court extremely hard and played with a really great spirit.”

And now he and 2015 frontcourt classmate Juwan Morgan are officially Hoosiers. Anunoby and Morgan officially signed their national letters of intent last week, allowing Crean to talk publicly about their commitments for the first time on Wednesday.

The IU coach said he expects both Morgan and Anunoby to challenge for playing time upon their arrival next summer. Morgan is a 6-foot-7, 205-pound forward from Waynesville, Mo., who is ranked No. 89 nationally in the 247Sports Composite. Anunoby is a 6-foot-7 wing, who is considered to be a three-star prospect according to 247.

“I love their size, and I think both of them could potentially even get bigger,” Crean said. “I think O.G. is bigger since we even started recruiting him. Started recruiting him in the summer. But you cannot teach that length. Length is such a very important part of anything you’re trying to do offensively or defensively, and every little bit matters. I mean, right now on our team, we’re blocking out better, but we’re not getting as many 50 50 balls. Well, length and tenacity have something to do with that. Those guys will certainly help in many, many areas.”

Anunoby was a late arrival on the national recruiting scene, but averaged 21.3 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per game as a junior at Jefferson City (Mo.) High School last year. Morgan was named the most improved player in Nike’s EYBL last summer when he averaged 11.2 points and 6.9 rebounds, while shooting 73 percent from the field.

Anunoby has a wingspan of 7-2 and Morgan’s is 6-11.

“This class, to me, reminds me — with two in it right now — of the class that we had with Victor (Oladipo) and Will (Sheehey) early on,” Crean said. “Nobody really knew a lot about them, but we felt really strong about both of them. Now they’re going to have to come in this gym and spend 365 days a year in it, just like Will and Victor did, to gain that kind of ability here at Indiana. But that’s the kind of upside we’re talking about.”

Indiana is oversigned by two with its current 2015 class, but Crean said he does not expect there to be issues with either finding space or coming in conflict with Indiana’s student-athlete bill of rights.

“There’s nothing in the bill of rights that stops a player from deciding to go pro,” Crean said. “There’s nothing in the bill of rights that stops a player from deciding that he wants to go somewhere else. So there’s always going to be moving parts. So the number one thing you have to do as a coach in your sport is you have to continue to not only work in the present day, but you have work for the future constantly, and you have to be able to project. That’s all part of it.”

17 comments

  1. Foreseeable future under this philosophy competing to reach middle of pack status in big ten if potential is maximized.

  2. Following the recent posts here on the Scoop, there seems to be an increasing belief that CTC will not meet the standard IU basketball fans have for the IU men’s basketball program.

    I realize that it is still early in the 2014-15 season. If CTC can’t right the ship in a big way, and taking a moment to look at the bigger picture, I would be interested in knowing what SCOOP followers think if they were to ponder this question: Who is most likely to be IU’s next men’s basketball coach?

    I know that the hottest young coach that Indiana fans would like to have is Brad Stevens. We know that Brad Stevens is in his 2nd year with the Celtics. We don’t know how Brad Stevens and the Celtics will do this year nor do we know how Stevens will feel about coaching in the NBA at season’s end. We know it’s possible he could step away and want to coach in college again, but that scenario may not play out by May 2015.

    If for some reason, any reason, that Brad Stevens doesn’t land at Indiana, who next?

    Could the next coach be Steve Alford?

    He did well in his first year at UCLA, getting them to the Sweet 16. They are currently ranked 22nd in the AP rankings. Alford has gradually stepped into a program that garners a reasonable amount of respect (not nearly as much now as in the Wooden years) and normally makes the NCAA tournament each year. Alford has nearly 500 wins in his career. He is considered part of the RMK coaching tree which means he understands the motion offense and understands the fundamentals of man-to-man defense. He grew up with Indiana basketball, high school and college, and he understands how meaningful the game is to the Indiana Faithful. He would not tolerate the off-court antics that have gone on over the past nine months. During Alford’s time at Indiana, RMK would have thrown Emmitt Holt and Devon Davis off the team by now or at least made their lives as miserable as possible, making them want to run from Bloomington.

    I realize Alford has been sketchy come tournament time, at Iowa and New Mexico. But what if he is a better coach now and has the opportunity to recruit better players as a result of his pedigree and the tradition of excellence IU stands for?

  3. Are we forgetting? We say the program is out of control…That Coach Knight would never let this happen. Remember this. Also, read the last line of the article……………..”It wasn’t the first time Knight had ejected a player from his team. Knight suspended five players and kicked three off the 1977-78 team after he walked in on a party where marijuana was being smoked.”

    Knight Kicks Son Off Team : Indiana: Sophomore Patrick Knight was arrested for public intoxication. April 10, 1992|

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana Coach Bob Knight has kicked his son off the team after the younger Knight’s arrest for public intoxication and disorderly conduct.

    Patrick Knight, 21, was arrested early Wednesday outside a downtown bar after he allegedly swore at a police officer.

    He was the only Indiana player who did not appear at an autograph and photo session at Assembly Hall on Thursday, scheduled in place of the traditional basketball banquet that was abruptly canceled by his father last month.

    None of Knight’s former teammates, including his roommate Pat Graham, would talk about his arrest or dismissal. But many among the more than 1,000 fans who waited in line for hours to meet their favorite Indiana players said they were not surprised at the dismissal.

    “Everybody has to follow the rules. Coach Knight believes in discipline,” said Jack Miller, 39, of Corydon, Ind.

    Steve Barker, 19, a freshman, said, “There’s usually not any trouble with the IU program like that.” He said the punishment was not too harsh and that he wasn’t surprised Knight dismissed his son. Mona Gibson, 38, of Bloomington, agreed. “I always figured that Knight would treat them equally,” she said.

    Jeff Buckner, who was selling programs during the photo session, said, “Knight is God around here. And people aren’t going to say a whole lot about his son.”

    Knight, a sophomore, was redshirted this past season.

    The elder Knight kicked his son off the team Wednesday night and was out of town Thursday to recruit, sports information spokesman Gregg Elkin said.

    The younger Knight appeared in court Wednesday for a pretrial hearing but was released after applying for a diversion program. That program routinely allows individuals with no arrest records to meet certain probation-like conditions in exchange for charges being dropped.

    According to police records, when Knight was arrested outside Kilroy’s Sports Bar, he appeared “extremely intoxicated, could barely stand up on his own and had a very strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath, as well as slurred speech.”

    Elkin said the university planned no other disciplinary action against Knight, who scored 39 points last year as a freshman.

    It wasn’t the first time Knight had ejected a player from his team. Knight suspended five players and kicked three off the 1977-78 team after he walked in on a party where marijuana was being smoked.

  4. Sure, let’s fire our coach who has been criticized for not being able to consistently win in the Big Ten or get past the Sweet 16 in the tournament, with another coach who couldn’t consistently win in the Big Ten or get past the Sweet 16 in the tournament.

    I love that Alford was one of the best players in Indiana history. That doesn’t mean he should be given the keys to the corner office at Assembly Hall.

  5. Talking 2015, don’t see a change. Too expensive. Be $6-7Million buyout to CTC. Plus whatever Alford’s UCLA contract would stipulate. If Crean were to get another offer and resign, than the fun would start. Gotta admit Alford’s kid looked good today. Hate to admit it but Purdue looking good vs BYU. Brad Stevens – he could take over the program w/o missing a step. Love to see that happen.

  6. Shaka Smart….I like speed and I like toughness….And he seems like a very intelligent and authentic coach…Inspires gritty determination and team principles. Will it ever happen. Nope…Crean is a Hoosier lifer…He carries the Good Book.

    Alford or Stevens…? Complete thumbs down. Yuk.

  7. I could give a rat’s ass about recruiting right now…It’s time to put up or shut up, Mr. Crean…. I agree with Geoff . You’ve had plenty of time to build your “ideal.” You’ve loaded it up with quality guards and slashers…You couldn’t get deep with an Indiana “everything hinges” , 7-footer savior….Now you have option 2 and instead of accountability, you’re back to blabbering over recruits…Don’t care.

    Put up or board the bus….You’ve had long enough…Your players show zero toughness. They all have large egos(“I’m Max and that’s all you need to know”…Brick) and they sort of arrogance that gets them in trouble with the law, but they don’t play together..They are here for the stage you’ve provided…You use Indiana to give them their NBA stage…Sad thing is…They all play as if they’re simply uninspired from the sideline. You teach them nothing. They learn nothing. It’s five individuals…It’s never a team. It’s wait for draft night and piss on the candy stripes. Those banners hang high, but they don’t mean crap to these kids. They don’t have the hunger to to get that type of collective achievement….And that starts with you…So please, shut the hell up with next wave of talent…You have enough talent and you’ve had enough time to sell whatever in the hell you’re trying to sell.

  8. Wing spans…..? Don’t care. We don’t have a pilot to fly it. And if baskets were runways, most of these brick-tossers would be working for Asiana Airlines…

  9. Team has no defensive “toughness”….against Eastern Washington..they played defense like they were doormen to a frat party and EW were the girls that they invited;they wouldnt stop them at the door and they didnt stop them on way to the rim. recruiting lets talk recruiting…Thomas bryant, BIG man, considering only 2 schools and appears that Syracuse will swin out;even though he wouldnt have ANY competition for playing time next year. April barely seen playing time,Priller only knows the fumes of the locker room and HMP, was nowhere to be found when he was needed Those 3 are the competitors for Playing time against Bryant and yet he will go to Syracuse….Guesstimating CTC’s replacement: Jim Crews?(with Calbert Cheany) Jay Wright from Villanova? How about Keith Smart?? 13 yrs as NBA coach current Miami heat Asst

  10. Double Down,

    LIked your post. I agree. Alford’s not the answer. As you noted, the facts support that. Yes,he had a good season last year. But much of that was due to the recruits he inherited. He’s never been an outstanding recruiter, even at Iowa. Yes, he was a very good college basketball player. But it’s unlikely he’d lead IU to the promised land.

  11. wish list, however unlikely:

    stevens first.

    wonder if bennett would consider leaving virginia now the crean cleaned up the academic and bad character mess that may have caused him to turn down the job last time. can’t believe virgnia is his final coaching job.

    also wonder if mack at arizona would prefer to coach closer to his roots. i realize indiana may no longer be a more desirable job but maybe does not want to stay out west forever. maybe his little brother who is doing good things at dayton?

  12. Is “Mack” Sean Miller’s nickname? That would obviously be a great hire.

    Bennett is a dream coach too. Yes to Stevens and Shaka of course…

    How about Gregg Marshall? I also kinda like Ed Cooley at Providence… He is an up-and-comer who is tied into USA Basketball with the U19 team, so he has personal relationships with all the elite HS talent.

  13. re post Crean era….Clearly, Stevens way out front …though other candidates mentioned by Cv are good candidates. But Stevens and IU are the sort of pairing that states ‘Indianabasketball’ as one word defined with a history. Hope he’s not too enamored of the NBA glitter and understands the difference between a job and a destiny.

    Indiana should always be identified with great coaches that create ‘eras’ that, together, tell its story. Not by 5-7 year periods of employment that history forgets.

  14. coachv, let me throw a name out there. Randy Wittman. He did a great job at Washington last season and earned a contract extension. He coaches great defense and gets the team to buy in. Keep an eye on him ,the owner at Washington loves him. He is finally with a team that has some talent to coach.

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