Thursday, April 29, 2010

Adams Set To Pay Indiana Basketball Dividends

Drew Adams is going to produce a big Indiana basketball payoff.

Yes, you’re probably thinking recruiting given Adams’ Indiana Elite AAU connections, but hold that thought for just a second.

Adams is 25 years old and he’s a not yet a college coach, although he’s on track to be. For now he’s the director of basketball operations/video coordinator, a position he acquired after Brian Barone left to become an assistant coach at Wisconsin-Green Bay.

That means he does a bunch of behind-the-scenes stuff. One of the most important is video work. IU basically records every game that is on TV, no matter the time or obscure channel. That means when the Hoosiers return to the postseason stage -– and they WILL return (saying that 50 times a day will make it easier to believe) -– they’ll have tape of whichever team they’re matched up with.

Beyond that, they’ll have tape of every team they’ll play next season, plus tape of every practice. All of this is broken down into teaching segments that makes you wonder how Bob Knight, John Wooden and the other coaching wizards did it back in the pre-digital days.

Adams will handle all of that, and it’s a means to an end of being a college head coach some day. He grew up a Hoosier fan, went to Bloomington South High School (averaged 10.8 points as a senior and led the Panthers to a Conference Indiana title), played two years in junior college, played for a year at Iowa under Steve Alford and current IU assistant coach Tim Buckley.

He wound up as an assistant coach for his father, Mark, who runs the Indiana Elite program. He got to know the guys IU is recruiting (already committed Austin Etherington, plus Cody Zeller, Marshall Plumlee, Jeremiah Davis, D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Kenny Kaminski, Peter Jurkin and Hanner Para).

Yes, in case you didn’t notice, Indiana Elite is loaded with in-state studs.

Anyway, along the way the younger Adams and his coaching aspirations got the attention of IU coach Tom Crean.

“For years Tim Buckley would talk about him,” Crean said. “It’s been a real blessing for Indiana basketball to have him in this program. He wants to coach; he wants to learn; he wants to get better.”

So Adams is here and loving every minute of it. Of course, he gets plenty of minutes to love because this is a hard-working staff not interested in off time when there’s a tradition to uphold, especially when that tradition is staggered by consecutive 20-plus loss seasons.

It starts with a strong foundation, which includes a strong coaching staff. Crean insisted that with Buckley, Bennie Seltzer and newly hired Steve McClain, plus Adams, he has the best staff in the country.

Buckley and McClain are former head coaches. Seltzer was a finalist for the Central Florida job. Crean said it’s “just a matter of time” before Seltzer becomes a head coach and “he’s going to be a great head coach.”

“When we talk about the best staff in the country,” Crean said, “I’m not talking about a magazine that ranks the three best recruiters. We have to make sure we’re recruiting the kind of people who you want to coach with. I’m not looking for the flash-and-dash staff. I don’t think Bob Knight was. I know Tom Izzo isn’t.

“We want guys who have a lot of substance. I don’t want a staff of models, of coaches who dress nice. I’m looking for guys who dress like me. Who are as intense as I am. That’s how we’ll win at Indiana. That’s how Bob Knight won at Indiana. That’s how Tom Izzo wins at Michigan State. That’s how we won at Marquette. That’s the kind of staff I want.”

Is this the staff that will win at Indiana? We MIGHT start knowing that next year. We DO know that Adams will have a significant role.

“Drew has been preparing for a job like this for a long, long time,” Crean said. “He’s earned the opportunity to move up. This makes our staff a lot better.”

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