Crean has options with final scholarship

BORDEN — With one scholarship open for next season, Indiana coach Tom Crean does not feel pressured to use it now. He could save it for the middle of the season or put it in the bank, which is exactly what he might do.

Speaking a day after Michigan graduate Max Bielfeldt announced he will transfer to IU for his final season of eligibility, Crean said he’s in no rush to hand out his 13th and final scholarship for the 2015-16 season. There are no immediate additions on the radar at the moment, Crean said, nor are there any campus visits scheduled or players actively and hurriedly being pursued for next year’s roster.

But Crean acknowledged that things could change quickly if the right situation is identified.

“If there’s a player that fits us from a competitive standpoint,” Crean told reporters before Wednesday’s Tailgate Tour event at Huber Winery. “If there’s a player that fits us — not as much as a need but just coming in that’s gonna bring something for the team. Not in the short term, but someone that can be good now, but can also develop into someone who can be an even better player as we move down the line.”

Outside of Bielfeldt, Crean has explored the possibility of taking a non-graduate transfer that would be required to sit out a season. But that might not be optimal for a potential top 15 team that is positioned to win now. If the final scholarship is used, it would likely go to a freshman — like in Emmitt Holt’s case late last August — or another graduate transfer who would be immediately eligible.

The popular name on the board remains 7-foot center Thon Maker, a five-star prospect considered to be the top remaining player available in the 2015 class. Maker is currently enrolled in prep school in Canada and his guardian, Ed Smith, told SNY.tv late last month that Indiana and Arizona State are the two programs that are making the most contact. Smith has said IU assistant Chuck Martin has a plan in place for Maker to make the most of a year and a half on campus.

Maker, if he goes the college route, is expected to enroll at a university in the United States in December or January of the upcoming season. If that’s the case, he could be in school for as little as half a year and for as many as three and a half years. Like Maker’s entire recruitment — he was originally classified as a 2016 recruit — things remain unclear.

“Recruiting is so fluid and never-ending,” Crean said. “We’re oversigned at the beginning (of the summer), then three days after this school semester ends, we’re under by two. It’s a very fluid, fluid, ever-changing process. You have to be prepared. In this situation, with a scholarship available, we’ll do our best to find something that really makes sense. If not, we won’t.”

Indiana’s current position stems, of course, from the dismissals of Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Devin Davis last month. Unlike Davis, however, Mosquera-Perea was not implicated in any legal wrongdoing.

After Indiana University Police responded to a complaint of marijuana smoke coming from a room inside Hickory Hall on May 11, officers found marijuana in a backpack belonging to Davis and issued him a citation for possession under 30 grams. Mosquera-Perea was with Davis when officers responded, but was not cited. Days later, both players were kicked off the team.

While he did not offer specifics into the decision to dismiss Mosquera-Perea, Crean said Wednesday that it was a decision that was made over time. Mosquera-Perea was arrested in February 2014 for a drunk driving incident for which he is currently on probation after pleading guilty to a charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Mosquera-Perea was given a 60-day suspended jail sentence with credit for a day served and required to complete 50 hours of community service.

Mosquera-Perea’s AAU coach, Mark Adams, said Sunday that the former IU forward will transfer to East Tennessee State.

“That was a decision that was made over a period of time, and it’s just unfortunate that we made it,” Crean said. “But that was the decision that was made, and we’ve had to move forward. I’m glad he’s moved forward and I hope they both move forward and have tremendous futures and careers because we’re not going to stop caring about them and loving them, and always appreciate what they did and want them to be successful people.”