Crean talks Bo Ryan, Thomas Bryant and more in ESPN podcast

IU basketball coach Tom Crean appeared on the ESPNU College Basketball podcast Tuesday with Andy Katz and Seth Greenburg.

He started out talking about Bo Ryan’s announcement that he would retire after one more season at Wisconsin, then spent some time talking about the Hoosiers’ offseason work and progression. A few highlights:

On Bo Ryan: “When I saw the news, actually I was kind of bummed out. … I think he’s changed (the Wisconsin job), because he’s made it impossible to win in (Madison). … He’s very flexible in how he attacks you and beats you. He’s got the swing (offense) and his fundamentals and principals are incredible, the defense, he’s got all of that, but he can beat you with ball screens, isolations, five-man continuity. He’s phenomenal at getting the matchups he wants.

IU’s offseason in general: “We had a great spring, and obviously when Devin Davis and Hanner Perea had to leave (after being dismissed from the team), that wasn’t a good time. As far as an improvement time and academically, the whole deal, we had an excellent spring, and we started off that way. The whole thing was, ‘OK, we’ve had a great spring, now we’ve got to have an excellent summer.’ We’re in our fourth week of offseason workouts, the freshmen are in their second full week, and I think we’re going to give ourselves different opportunities.”

On Thomas Bryant: “Thomas Bryant certainly helps bring that (ability to make others better). We’ve had four individual workouts with him now, and every time I walk out of there, there’s something I didn’t really realize he has. Right away, I thought, ‘We’re going to have to do more with his left hand,’ though his left hand is pretty good.

“His shooting is coming. He’s got to learn to shoot on the move, then he rings off five 3s in a row the other night in drills. To me, when you’ve got somebody that can space like that, and that’s what we’ve got to get to as a team, you’ve got to guard us in the paint, at the 3-point line and everywhere in between, especially in transition and in the shot clock.”

Comparing this team to 2013: “We have a picture from our 2013 team that had four thousand–point scorers in it (Jordan Hulls, Cody Zeller, Christian Watford and Victor Oladipo). They all got points different ways, but they all really made each other better. All four of those guys were in (Hulls’) wedding, along with Will Sheehey and Derek Elston. When you have guys who will truly, truly make each other better, and they do it different ways, you’ve got a chance to have great success, and that’s what our team has got to learn.

“We’ve got to have a team that exemplifies a lot that 2013 team that made everybody better. It’s not about any one individual. Everybody’s got things they desperately have to improve upon.”

On where to improve: “We’ve got to be a lot harder to score against, because we haven’t been. … That’s why the three-guard offense this year could be a lot more of a weapon than a necessity, because we’ve got to get bigger, we’ve got to be more physical, we’ve got to defend better.

I think you’ve got to be two deep at ever position. Two-deep at every position meaning not just another guy comes in to back up somebody, but where you’re not really going to take a formidable hit when you sub based on the way that you play. This league has a lot of big threes, and things of that nature. When we played against some of the more physical teams in our league, we didn’t do well. And we’ve got to be able to be a team that can play a lot of different ways.

So the more we can play two-deep, the more that we can get Yogi to play on and off the ball, the more we can put it in Blackmon’s hands, the more that Rob Johnson continues to understand his strengths, the list goes on and on, then I think we’ll be a lot better.”


  1. Hit the snooze alarm..It’s really just time for a Crean team to put up or shut up. His players have not lived up to being the choir boys …And his teams do not collectively live up to the components a bit of nothingness to brag; the salivations on the individual talent on NBA draft nights. So happy for Cody..So happy for Jordy’s wedding …So happy for Dipo being runner up rookie MVP….So happy for Noah…..So happy for all Tom’s good deeds and pulling stranded motorists out of snowdrifts.. Blah…blah…blah. Time for some happiness that comes with discovering what a Final Four sounds like on the streets of Kirkwood. Time for the basketball state to produce a basketball team at the institution sharing its name. Time not to fizzle down the stretch..Time not to look like deer in headlights not having much fun when the big stage calls at March Madness.

    Time to look like a Hoosier basketball team that doesn’t play such deplorable defense as to reside in the statistical cellar of the Big !0…..You’ve made enough millions for all your talking and picking out a few runway models for an NBA draft night beauty pageant, Crean. Let football happen now….Stay silent until you do something bigger than Sweet 16 parties to watch Hoosiers get walloped.

  2. There’s a reason I like your observations, your thinking, your writing…..and,…I like you. They’re all concisely contained in these wonderfully honest and direct statement which, I have no doubt is, at least, shared by any Hoosier fan who wonders to himself what’s happened to Indiana basketball; the way we remember it, the way it comes back into our memory and the way we hope it will once again be…and soon or let’s really move on (hint Mr. Glass, hint Mr. President, hint members of the Board).

    And yes, I also agree with you. This is July, it is hot, we’re bored and it will soon be Big Ten football…so please Mr Crean, let’s focus on making magnificent self-respecting men (with an M) out of these kids and keep the basketball sales spin out of the hot dogs-of-summer days until we actually have something to talk about and the players show they have enough sense and maturity to keep from shooting themselves out of a carnival cannon onto an oncoming car driven by one of their ‘bestest friends’ and team mates. I mean….even if they can’t play a tick of defense, we can at least say ‘we changed their lives and they all passed their State of Indiana Department of Motor Vehicles driving test while stone-cold frigg___ sober.

    Now, I’d be proud of that too!

    Harvard….have you, or will you, consider running the next election for The Board of Trustees of Indiana University?

  3. Same 0zero, Same 0zero. Really do not want any TC comments or talk. Just play and win game/s…even though TC is on interview. Then, if game s are won as in championships and some dominance, Talk.

  4. Last year was a game changer for many of us. We just don’t want to hear any more excuses. There has been plenty of time and plenty of support.

    Fish or cut bait. We’re over it.

    I don’t care to see anyone fired. I want to see success.

    End of story.

  5. Tsao- Thanks for the kind words. Flattered by your suggestions, but I’d hardly quality with an appropriate resume to suit such grand positions of leadership at IU. I would put in a call to Podunker(gulp)…..

    Anyway, it’s plenty my little joy this place and IU Sports to once again know that Tsao is back on Scoop. Glad our friendship can still find kindred thoughts and a trust built in honesty at this gathering place a depot of passions no matter our commonalities or our differences.

  6. If CTC fails this year, I’m fairly sure he will be drummed out of Bloomington. Probably should’ve happened this year but hopefully the coach has a few surprises underneath his sleeve. Time will tell if the titanic will strike the iceberg or not.

  7. Ben, please define “fails.” You wrote, “If CTC fails this year,…..” What represents failure to you?

  8. Reading Crean’s comments is turning into a nails screeching on a chalkboard experience for me.

    We need to “obvious statement,” We’ve got to, “obvious statement.”

    I don’t expect him to reveal the inner workings of Indiana Basketball, but it would be nice to see if we can have any confidence on WHAT they are doing to correct the obvious statements he’s making. All the obvious statements are outcomes that are determined by actions taken. There’s little to no talk about that.

    The flip side of that, Kevin Wilson talks a lot about what they’re doing in practice to prepare for the season. He’s not a perfect coach, but his candor is one of reasons why I’m still in his corner this late in the game.

  9. BTW, I just got caught up and enjoyed the discussion you guys had in the previous thread. Wish I could have participated. Life has taken some twists and turns in the Double Down region.

  10. DD,
    Life is what happens while you’re making other plans. Hope it all works out.

  11. Double Down-

    Though I like the metaphor, I’ve never quite experienced the “screeching on the chalkboard”…Since the day he stepped onto the Bloomington campus, this is what I heard. And it’s never stopped(even when Fred speaks from behind stage).

    Hope all is working out. Wonder why you didn’t take part in the discussions that began as the Chet & Harvard ‘Marathon Man’ thread…..Is it safe? Is it safe? Is it safe to enter this thread? Is it safe? Is it safe….? Jeremy, is it safe? Punjab, is it safe?

  12. Failure to me Podunker is giving a man 7 years to field a championship team but still waiting. Failure for me Podunker is not developing our players as much as they could be. Failure to me Podunker is letting this team go from elite to middle of the road at best. Failure to me Podunker is seeing this coach struggle time and time again with in-game strategy. Failure to me Podunker is saying all the right things before the season starts and just the opposite happens.

    I’ve never doubted CTC loving his family and being a beacon to the community but he can no longer be handed a free pass. Hoosier basketball in my opinion is no longer elite. Borderline joke, perhaps. It’s obvious he is coaching for his job. Whenever a coach is in this situation he more then likely is canned anyway. Last year was it for me. Time to get someone else to put some faith and excitement into this team and the fans. CTC would make an excellent coach at Alabama but don’t cut it when it comes to the elite as Indiana should be.

  13. That is why I like Wilson as well DD. He is very blunt and don’t sugar coat anything. The man is brutally honest and will give his honest opinion when asked about his team in general.

    CTC beats around the bush to much like he’s embarrassed or something. It’s frustrating not to get an honest answer from him. He must hold his cards very close to his chest. I wish someone would tell him we don’t mind a brutally honest coach. We had one for many many years.

    Hope things get better for you DD. I’m taking a crash coarse into fatherhood but my wife says I’m doing a good job, so that’s good enough for me.

  14. I heard the world beacon used recently, but it was surely not in reference to Crean. Crean would only distort such a light to put more “con” in be-a-con.

  15. Good one Harvard. Made for a laugh. I’ve noticed your posts have been very entertaining, enlightening and just fun to read as of late. Keep it up. It’s obvious you have a gift for writing. Hope it rubs off on your kids. Are you familiar with the Schaumburg, Illinois area? Visiting family and looking for a place to stay. Seeing a Cubs game as well.

  16. Wish I could help you out, Ben…Not familiar with Schaumberg….the city…I do remember a Ryne Schaumberg that played second base for the Cubs. He was o.k. No Beckert.

    Now it just hit me…That’s who my auto mechanic of the last 20 years reminds me…He looks a hell of a lot like “Ryno” Sandberg! I think his voice is even similar…They say everybody has a twin.

    Have fun at Wrigley…I haven’t been to Wrigley in probably 5 or 6 years. Would love to go again…But I don’t agree with many of the mass marketing changes and I hope they don’t do the planned changes to the old scoreboard. I hope they don’t completely destroy all the character that has made the stadium feel so uniquely humble and welcoming. Do you know they have guys that work on the inside the scoreboard and manually change all the numbers, score updates, etc. ? . Thanks for your kind words, too. Always enjoy your thoughts on Scoop and value your honesty as well.

    Have a blast…I could suggest a very unique pizza place or two in Chicago.

  17. Thanks Ben, I appreciate your passion. But given your response, it is interesting that your criteria is qualitative and not quantitative! I expected you to state a number of wins, or refer to a Big Ten Championship, or making it to the Final Four, etc. As for a few of your responses, and with no intention of giving you a hard time, let me ask a few more questions:
    1. Given the state of IU Basketball when Crean was being recruited to take the IU job, do you think any reasonably accomplished coach would have accepted anything less than a long-term contract?
    2. After leading his team to IU’s first outright Big Ten Championship in decades (in the nation’s toughest conference), and leading it to back to back Sweet 16s, was it unreasonable for IU to extend Crean’s contract? (Keep in mind, hind site is 20/20)
    3. Was it that Big Ten Championship team that you referred to as being elite? If not, when was the last time IU’s Basketball team was elite?
    4. What would you expect Crean to say before a new season begins? Are coaches supposed to be pessimistic about the upcoming campaign? Are they supposed to predict a losing season? Is any coach responsible for managing your expectations of his team’s performance? How is Crean’s speech before a new season any different from any other coach’s speech?
    5. If IU is no longer elite, and is “borderline joke, perhaps,” is Crean to blame for that, or were others responsible for doing severe damage to our once-elite program? In other words, do you blame Crean for diminishing IU basketball or simply for not returning it to the prominence it once enjoyed?

    Those are sincere questions and I have sincere interest to read your responses. Thanks, and Happy 4th-of-July Holiday.

  18. Ben, thanks for the response. Interesting that your criteria is qualitative and not quantitative, and that you did not refer to a specific number of wins, the Big Ten Championship, making the final four, etc.

    Just a few more questions:
    1. Given the state of IU basketball was in when Crean was being recruited to take the IU job, would it have been reasonable to expect any moderately established coach to accept a shorter termed contract>
    2. Was it unreasonable for IU to offer to extend Crean’s contract after he lead IU to back-to-back sweet 16s and the first outright Big Ten Championship in decades?
    3. How is Crean’s speech before any new season different from any other coach’s speech? Would you prefer that Crean be pessimistic? Is Crean responsible for managing your expectation of his team’s performance?
    4. If IU BB is “Borderline joke, perhaps,” do you hold Crean responsible for that, or are you just disappointed that Crean has not returned IU BB to its once elite status? Were others involved in helping IU basketball fall from the ranks of the elite programs, or is it all Crean’s fault?

    Those questions are sincere, and I have a sincere interest in reading your response. Thanks again, and have a happy 4th-of-July holiday.

  19. Nice clip, Harv. The SCTV cast there rivals any cast on SNL in any year. Some serious heavyweights amongst that crew.

    I’d never seen that sketch before. Funny as hell.

  20. Thanks for the kind words Harvard. I did know someone manned the scoreboard. I’m with you that I’d hate to see the scoreboard torn down or anything that resembles classic Wrigley character. I’m all for making Wrigley more handicapped accessible and renovated restrooms , but gutting it out to make it “hip and new” just irks me.

    I haven’t been to Wrigley in years. The last time I went was I think in 2003. All I remember is I was with my ex (the one that got away) and Greg Maddux was the starting pitcher. The wind was blowing out big time! It was homerun city. They lost though against the Reds. I do remember Adam Dunn crushing a homerun to epic proportions.

    I’m a fool for pizza. What do you suggest?


    Hope your doing well. It’s been awhile. I’ll answer your questions but not now. I have to get up early tomorrow to replace a clogged French Drain. The previous owners made some fatal mistakes installing it. Every time it rains my ass gets tight as I’m afraid it’s going to give out and flood. The water stands as is and leaks a bit inside the garage. When I bought this house I wished it had rained. I’d requested them to fix before I bought it. Oh well. I’m out $1,000 dollars but that covers all materials for drain and sod. It will look beautiful when me and dad are done.

  21. Double Down-

    I had never seen the clip either…Just happened to stumble upon it. It is a classic. And you are correct, some real heavyweights there.
    Humor doesn’t have to be complicated, it merely takes pure genius in delivery/execution. By the way, #17 gives me more the “nails screeching on a chalkboard experience”….or ….?…but that’s just my opinion..

  22. Ben-

    Here’s your all-encompassing answer to #17;

    C-O-D-Y Z-E-L-L-E-R.

    Otherwise, the man is the worst coach in the history of basketball…Anyone watching our team play against zones and coaches that understand in-game adjustments(even the new names to the Big 10), can recognize just how bad Crean is within minutes of watching. His managing of a game has gone from comical to simply sad.

    But get used to the tragic comedy…because he hired his own AD. And the Aussie President of IU is very out of touch with what we all know basketball deserves to be in the state of Indiana. I’m sure they all finished tops in their class and ruled the business worlds before they came to IU…But they know sh____ about hoops and they rely on brainwashing and marketing gimmicks to sell a very inferior product.

  23. Ben,
    Congrats on fatherhood. Despite anything you may have thought about yourself in the past you are now about to embark for the first time on a mission to become the best person you possibly can because now you are a father.

    It certainly the best thing I have ever done.

    You lucky bastard.

  24. I sympathize Ben. I spent 20 years fixing the mistakes of my home’s previous owners. And just when you get things right, you have to start replacing the things that were not a problem in the first place. Good luck.

  25. Come on, Harv, don’t hold back! Tell us how you really feel about Crean (for the ten-thousanth time). What would a day be like without reading one of your over-the-top, deranged, anti-Crean rants? But I’m surprised you threw dirt on the other members of that IU team. Cody Zeller was the only reason IU did so well that season? Wow! Why so little respect for the other members of that team? I never knew you had such little regard for Victor, Will, Christian (probably because of his name, right), Yogi and the other fine young men who made significant contributions to IU winning that Big Ten Championship! Using your twisted logic, you could say that the only reason IU won its last NCAA Championship was because of Isiah Thomas.

    Based on the ridiculous hyperbole you use to express your disdain for Crean, it appears the hate is consuming you. We’re in early July, celebrating our nation’s birthday, and you can’t stop yourself from writing “Otherwise, the man (Crean) is the worst coach in the history of basketball…” I hope writing that sentence relieved some of the pressure and made you feel a little better. Happy holiday!

  26. Maybe your vision has gone along with your mind. There isn’t a ton of gleaming support on this thread and most are very tired of his broken record. He’s even lost Ben, Podunker…He’s even lost the congregation.

    I think the record on Scoop is pretty clear. I defended guys like Watford and Hulls…and Mo Creek when many on here were degrading them and questioning their talents. But, nonetheless, the landing of Cody Zeller kept the fan base in happy delusions…But you can’t remove yourself while most others have seen the light. The landing of Zeller bought 3 to 4 more years for Crean….It provided the hype and the opportunistic event to reel in a lot of names from the state that were being overly hyped as well. Suddenly, projects like Hanner(the byproduct of ties to Adams/A-Hope, the “missionary way,” and wasted upon wasted recruits that failed to provide a bench that could give a dominant center the necessary firepower on the bench to win championships) were being elevated by locals as being the next Hakeems. Tijan Forever = Banners Never. But wasn’t it just a blast for East Coast journalists to love Indiana because the manner we reached out while throwing our basketball program down the toilet?

    You love to make me your hit guy…But take a look.. There is no support for Crean’s blow anymore. He’s not a firework…He’s not even a ground display. He’s just a very expensive smoke bomb. ..

    You should be ashamed to put one of the Founding Fathers our banners anywhere near a Benedict-ion ‘Tom Arnold’ Crean.

  27. “don’t hold back!” Hell he got his hands full just holding on.

  28. Ben-

    It will be busy as hell, but Chicago Pizza & Oven Grinder on Clark St. is one of my favorites. It’s not traditional pizza…It’s served upside down in a small bowl(one half-pounder can be shared…I’m a pig and usually get one for myself). I won’t spoil the fun by providing much else. It’s just a cool place. My first visit was when my sister(living in Chicago at the time) took me there when I was only about 13-years-old) took me. It’s been in Chicago for many years..Sort of an unknown hidden gem for a very long time…
    I would suggest getting the Mediterranean bread and the chef salad(can easily be shared between three people…They’ll bring extra dressing, too). And old tradition of longtime patrons is to mix the buttermilk dressing with the poppy seed(both are homemade and delicious). We love to dip a torn off slice the bread around in the mixture of the two salad dressing…We also love the blue cheese stuffed olives and often ask for an extra order delivered on a side plate with the salad.

    Giordano’s…Pizza Uno…Gino’s East. are all popular touristy places…I think they’re all very good, but nothing special to me. And the crowds are often crazy.

    Pequods(North Clybourn) Highly recommended for deep dish…. Lou Malnati’s(State Street) is one my daughter says is really good for deep dish You may be forced to pay for parking garages…It’s tougher to find meters in the downtown spots.

    Another one of my favorites is Pizano’s(go to the one on 864 N. State only a short walk from Michigan Ave Water Tower Place, etc….They have a fun little bar setting with lots of pictures iconic Chicago sports figures adorning the walls)…This pizza tastes true old mama Italiano..The tomato sauce is very light…The cheese is buttery and absolutely delectable….I guess they are also known for deep dish, but I love the thin crust. They also have a very good Caesar salad. Oh, and the dessert…If you have room, get the baked chocolate chip cookie thing….It is incredible. The owner once gave gave my wife and I a complimentary try of it on Valentine’s Day. It is special.

    At the end of the day, I’d still go with Chicago Pizza & Oven Grinder. Pay the $11.00 for valet parking. It’s worth it. They are open very late on weekends…Unless you can get there before 5:00 pm, the later times may make for less wait.

    Here’s a link to Oven Grinder. You have fun.

    I’m sure there are lots of places near Wrigley as well…I’m just not as familiar with that area.

  29. Ben-

    The smaller chef’s salad($7.50) at Chicago Pizza & Oven Grinder can easily be shared between three people…The larger size could probably do a party of 4-6.

    Half-Pounder Pizza Pot Pie
    Chef’s Salad…extra blue cheese olives
    Mediterranean Bread
    Tall glass of Stella

    Pay for the valet parking. Tell them the enormously handsome and distinguished looking guy from Indiana with cute petite fit wife and beautiful daughter sent you. They’ll know. They’ll never forget your face as well. I should have also mentioned that their waitresses and waiters are very kind and welcoming…The whole place is run how we’d all love a Tom Crean basketball team to play. Focused and together…and most always appearing to be enjoying what they do.

  30. Because, at the end of the day, isn’t that what doing something in “elite” fashion means? Doesn’t it mean uniquely prepared, focused, together, and thoroughly enjoying the intrinsic rewards of such a pursuit? It’s really not about the banners or succeeding in making one or two people look spectacular. It’s consistently striving to be the best at something so all can enjoy being a part. To do it anything less and walk away is a refusal to take ownership. That’s all I’ve really wanted for Indiana Basketball. It shouldn’t be a destination to simply put your own talent it on display…It shouldn’t be about the mass marketing something of an average result or taste as if it were worthy what we know we can do better. …and have taken ownership to demand ourselves. It should always remain a bit of a hidden gem where greatness isn’t necessarily defined by how many sold or how many hung from the rafters. We shouldn’t sell out to the trends of narcissism and define a game’s only purpose as to feed the NBA with empty and boring stat calories found in phenoms not interested in keeping Indiana true to its candy stripes. Excellence is in the teaching and the inclusion that everyone on the floor. And no player should feel a recipe for winning can’t include his effort and dedication to the establishment of Hoosier Basketball…

    This ain’t a Lexington Pizza Hut for fast delivery of tasteless banner…This is Hoosier Basketball…It should be an old family recipe for a more discerning palate. And those in charge should not just identify the best ingredients, but know how to bring out their best flavor in a collective marriage of hoops complexity worthy our legendary location and reputation.

  31. 1. Given the state of IU basketball was in when Crean was being recruited to take the IU job, would it have been reasonable to expect any moderately established coach to accept a shorter termed contract?

    Answer: I’ve never been a fan of long-term contracts. The problem is the situation we are in now. The product is stale at best and we are regarded as just “another team”. I understand why AD’s do long-term contracts but they rarely get fulfilled at the vision the AD is seeking. It’s no secret many fans are organizing to rid of Crean and break off the long-term deal. It’s true Indiana was in a mess. There is no denying the fact. I would have given Crean four years to clean up the mess and sign him 2-3 years at most during his third year in so recruits wouldn’t bail on a lame duck coach. He cleaned the program up but it’s a very mixed bag after that. So it would have been reasonable to accept a short-term contract. First make it a priority to clean it up and then focus on 2-3 extensions to getting us where we belong, instead of going gangbusters and locking him down. I’ve seen lots of money get wasted with long-term deals and it makes me sick. I hate throwing away money.

    2. Was it unreasonable for IU to offer to extend Crean’s contract after he lead IU to back-to-back sweet 16s and the first outright Big Ten Championship in decades?

    Answer: This ties into answer #1. It wasn’t unreasonable to sign him, but very unreasonable and risky for signing him up so many years after when you still didn’t have a clear picture if the relationship was going to work or not. I could see a program like Duke, North Carolina, Michigan State and Kansas locking up a coach long-term. They are established and know what they are getting themselves into. Crean was unproven with an elite school and the jury was still out. Marquette is no Indiana.

    3. How is Crean’s speech before any new season different from any other coach’s speech? Would you prefer that Crean be pessimistic? Is Crean responsible for managing your expectation of his team’s performance?

    Answer: I don’t pay much attention to other teams except Indiana. I wouldn’t want Crean to be pessimistic but I do value honesty or better yet brutal honesty. Stop giving us the same lines and tell us what you really think. Stop holding your cards so close to your chest. It’s a good thing to be optimistic but when it bites you in the ass more times then not, you start to look like a fool. Hoosier fans can handle the truth. We don’t mind a savage coach for the most part. Though maybe I’m holding Crean to my standards. I’m very up front and frank to people and tend to speak my mind. That way all the facts are laid out and can’t be disputed and manipulated.

    Crean isn’t responsible for you or my expectations. We are men and can form our own opinions. My expectations for 34 years have been to field a championship team. When you think of Indiana you don’t think of football, golf etc. I think the majority always thinks basketball. Every state has a unique personality and ours happens to be basketball. It’s one thing if we were Maine as far as basketball is concerned but we’re not. Indiana is known for elite basketball and that is and will continue to be my expectation.

    4. If IU BB is “Borderline joke, perhaps,” do you hold Crean responsible for that, or are you just disappointed that Crean has not returned IU BB to its once elite status? Were others involved in helping IU basketball fall from the ranks of the elite programs, or is it all Crean’s fault?

    Answer: In the end it all boils down to Crean. He’s had 7 years to right the ship. This isn’t Hoosier Football where it might take ten years with one coach to right the ship. I’m still waiting. So yes I do hold Tom Crean responsible and disappointed it’s taken this long to just barely manage stability within the program.

    Nobody else is involved. Can’t blame Sampson forever. Say what you want but Sampson was leading the program somewhere. The man could coach. The players he surrounded himself with were questionable but he knew his X’s and O’s. It all boils down to Tom Crean. He can either change his approach and succeed or strike an iceberg and dog paddle helplessly in freezing waters.

    It’s good to see you back and hope family life is treating you well. I don’t pretend to have all the answers and my opinion isn’t the end of all opinions. It’s however how I feel. Regardless I know you love and want what is best for IU and that’s good enough for me. Take care.

  32. Happy 4th everyone! Cheers to the land of the free and home of the brave…and sleepy…Gonna go watch a movie now.

  33. Ben, thanks for responding, and I appreciate you doing so without the hysteria used by some of Crean’s other critics. A few comments in return:
    “It’s true Indiana was in a mess. There is no denying the fact. I would have given Crean four years to clean up the mess and sign him 2-3 years at most during his third year in so recruits wouldn’t bail on a lame duck coach.” No coach worth his salt would have accepted a four year contract at that time, given the state of IU basketball. Perhaps you were not aware, or have since forgotten just how far IU BB had fallen before Crean arrived in Bloomington. He was told that it was a mess, but it was much, much worse than that.

    “I don’t pay much attention to other teams except Indiana.” Well if you did Ben, you’d probably understand that Crean’s preseason speech is similar, if not identical, to almost all other college basketball coaches. I think the job, as with many other leadership positions, requires the person in charge to present optimism, not only to the public, but to his players. Honestly, I think your criticism of Crean’s pre-season speech is unfair, and is probably based on the fact that his teams have failed to meet your very high expectations. And that leads me to my next comment.

    “My expectations for 34 years have been to field a championship team.” Ben, it’s good to have high expectations, but yours seem exceptionally high. It is unreasonable to expect that any college or professional team will field a championship team every year. Your comment reminds me of a good friend of mine, a NY Yankee fan. The last time the Yankees won the World Series, he could not stop telling people that their manager was the best manager is MLB. The next year, when they did not win, he was screaming that the same manager was a loser and should be fired. If I interpret what you wrote literally, if IU does not win a National Championship every year, you’re disappointed! Of course, if that is the case, you’re going to be disappointed most of the time, no matter who coaches IU basketball! The great Bob Knight could not have met your expectations. Coach K could not meet your expectations. No coach, ever, could meet those expectations. I suggest that the answer is for you to moderate your expectations to something closer to whats possible.

    “In the end it all boils down to Crean. He’s had 7 years to right the ship.” ……”Nobody else is involved. Can’t blame Sampson forever.” ……… “It all boils down to Tom Crean.” Ben, there’s so much to say in response to all that, but basically that’s just not accurate or fair. It may be the way you feel, but it’s just wrong. A major college sports programs is far, far more than just the head coach. Crean did not create the mess, he inherited it. Sampson did not create the mess either, he was just the latest and most obvious symptom of a much bigger disease. NEGLECT! IU Athletics, and by extension, IU Basketball, had been mismanaged for decades before Crean was hired. It was a train wreck caused by neglect and terrible mismanagement. Bob Knight’s greatness disguised that from most Hoosier fans for many years because, as you point out, most Hoosier fans focus so much of their passion on, and really only care about basketball. I’ve presented the stats on this site that indicate that Crean’s record at IU is very similar to Knight’s record during the last decade or so of his time coaching IU. Maybe you don’t remember, but by your standards, IU basketball was average or mediocre during most of Knight’s last nine or ten years coaching IU (look it up).

    Lastly, I can testify, based on direct experience, that once an excellent organization (company, department, university, professional team or college sports program) is broken, it takes a lot longer to fix it and get it back to its former level of operating performance than most people realize. Something that took over 100 years to build, then was allowed to disintegrate, is not going to be fixed or rebuilt in 5 to 7 years. In many cases, those organizations never fully recover. And IU BB, a once excellent college sports program, was as broken as a college program can get, years before Sampson and Crean got involved. I acknowledge that Crean may not be the man/leader/coach to lead IU back to the level of excellence we’d all like to see, but he did not create the problem. And he, nor any other individual will be able to fix it without a lot of help and support from a lot of other people. It’s unfair and simply wrong to demonize Tom Crean for not fixing IU BB to the level, and in the amount of time, that you and some others expect.

    One last comment. Be careful what you wish for, because you may get it. IU basketball could be worse, and it could get worse. Much worse! It is not written in stone that the coach who is hired to replace Crean will be any more effective in meeting your expectations. There’s no guarantee that any coach that IU could afford to hire will produce better results. People who allow perfect to become the enemy of good tend to achieve neither.

  34. Alabama football was “broken” before Nick Saban arrived in 2007. It took him two seasons to turn Bama back into a winner and three to win a national championship. Two more championships have followed. There are many more roster spots to fill on a football team than a basketball team. Somehow Saban has managed to get the job done under the pressure of high expectations without making excuses. Indiana was once a college basketball powerhouse. Making excuses and spewing the company line is not going to return IU to the glory days. That only helps the apologists save face.

  35. Good point RAM. Expectations for Alabama and Auburn are very high indeed. Saban came in and turned it around quickly. It can be done. Just takes the right individual to make it happen.

  36. Truth be given to all points above(other than the usual in #17, 18, 25, and 34), this will be Crean’s most talented team. If they remain healthy, I don’t know how you screw this coming year up. Troy Williams with another year experience to take his explosive and dynamic talents, Yogi with a senior role to lead this team, the smooth shooting Blackmon should be stronger and more adjusted to the physical demands and style of college ball…RJ providing solid backcourt support, Hartman hopefully healthier to provide inside/outside component ….Holt no longer wet behind the ears providing boards and solid help to a new and highly anticipated standout freshman in Bryant…And more supporting cast with no more projects on the bench(other than Priller).

    Given a somewhat friendly bracket come March(e.g. what MSU received last year…Though all brackets have their obvious challenges), this is Crean’s best opportunity to change growing perceptions of glaring inadequacies. From top to bottom this a better team than the Zeller & Dipo years….Crean has his one last chance to prove that he is not a coach that can bring quality ingredients to the kitchen, but fail to delver anything of complexity as a chef/coach.

    Simply by the added experience in guys like Holt, RJ, and JBJ and a true athlete inside with Bryant, the Hoosiers should be a much better defending team as well.

    And that’s why we don’t need the talking points. Fans know talent. Fans know it’s rare to get a PG with the skills of Yogi to be available for 4 years. Now we want to see some coaching and some cooking in March.

  37. That is a good point, RAM. But two points in response. IU BB suffered from neglect for far longer than Alabama Basketball. Far longer! And Alabama decided to go “all in” in paying for what they thought was the best football coach available at the time. And they’re still “all in” as far as his compensation. Should IU begin paying a new basketball coach $6.5M to $7 million a year to return IU to elite status in college basketball? Because that’s the compensation range the Calipari and Coach K are now in. That’s what it’s going to take to hire the basketball equivalent of Nick Saban! If so, who do you recommend Glass hire? Oh, I know, we’ll have Glass call the Celtics and ask for permission to interview their head coach.

    Ben, good debate. Thanks for sharing your passionate, yet reasoned perspective and opinions.

  38. HH, yes. I emphatically agree that next year we have our most talented team coming back. More so than our “cutting down the nets after losing to OSU” team. If we can’t find a way to end up near/at the top of the B1G and a nice tourney run this year, it’s curtains for Crean. Oh, and we should also find a way to not get our asses handed to us by Purdue at home.

    There should be NO excuses at all next year. Every program deals with it’s challenges throughout the year and we’ll surely face that inevitability too. Champions push on. Chumps flail and watch the ceiling collapse.

  39. Calipari and Coach K have six championships between them and that makes them the cream of the crop.They didn’t start out making that much money. Billy Donovan and Coach Crean were making about the same amount of money when Billy was at Florida except Billy won TWO national championships.So if the argument is Indiana is getting what it’s paying for…That remains to be seen.

  40. Yes they did. However they weren’t used as cannon fodder in post #39. Calipari and Coach K were.

  41. You’re correct, of course. I just hate to see Calipari’s name used alongside great coaches. He never earned that right.

    Great recruiters? Sure.

    Coaches? No.

  42. Eddie Sutton had Arkansas, yes, Arkansas, in a Final Four in three years

    The two coaches proceeding his taking the job had gone a combined 39-73 and zero NCAA tournament appearances. Not sure how relevant that is to any of this, but I like the song….And I like a story of a coach that must have known more than making excuses…He learned the game by playing under a legendary coach….But I don’t think that’s necessarily a precursor to destined greatness. Some guys could sit as an assistant next to an exceptional coach and come away with less understanding than the equipment manager’s wife.

  43. Scoop android moderator must not like the word “oops.”

    Let’s try droops …

    …..[preceding] his taking the job.

  44. Eddie Sutton? The Drunk? The same Eddie Sutton who almost killed Kentucky basketball? Geez Harvard, give it a rest already.

  45. I don’t follow Kentucky basketball. That’s Tom Crean’s job to give that a rest. That’s why he loves to take his son and go on expensive trips with Calipari and his son to watch “basketball” games …That’s why Calipari praises Tom Crean and says he deserves Coach of the Year recognition just before we lose 6 out of 8 games down the final stretch…That’s why he we don’t play Kentucky anymore. We’re resting and sobering up. I guess if UK was still a place for drunks we’d play them because we must have been very drunk when we hired a “Hoosier Rising” preacher posing as a basketball coach…And a passed out Sutton is a better teacher than a sober Tom Crean on his sharpest day; a man hired by a committee full of puritanical drunks and defeatists and card-carrying members of Basketball Anonymous.

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