Thursday, May 6, 2010

Flavor of the Month Recruiting Isn't Tom Crean's Style

The word is Tom Crean is upbeat these days, and why not? He has an absolutely spectacular new practice facility (Cook Hall) to show off to recruits. He has a bunch of recruits coming to visit Indiana in the next couple of weeks. They range from players who could join the team this fall to ones set for the Class of 2013. Some are big guys, most are guards (hey, Crean loves guards) and all are designed to get the Hoosiers back to winning big.

If you want specifics, they include forward Kevin Norween, Indianapolis guards Devin Davis, Gary Harris and Ron Patterson, and a whole bunch more.

Yes, Crean has his critics who are unhappy that he isn’t cleaning up on elite players in the manner of, say, John Calipari. Some wonder why he pursues a guy with a heart condition (Emmanuel Negedu) or why he can’t get the best in-state talent (have they forgotten Jordan Hulls was Indiana Mr. Basketball of 2009 and Derek Elston was an Indiana All-Star in 2009) or why his incoming freshman class rates near the bottom of the Big Ten or how much longer will this unprecedented losing continue.

Winning, of course, would soothe the toughest critics. Getting an elite player (can you say Washington’s Cody Zeller?) would boost excitement and prospects. Settling on a definitive style of play would make it easier on players.

So what is Crean looking for? He wants confident players, talented players, tough-minded players who do what needs to be done when it needs to be done.

“Confidence can go one of two ways,” Crean says. “You can be very confident in what you’re going to do and not budge. There’s not a lot of flexibility because you believe so much in what you’re going to do. Or, you have the confidence to be very flexible. You want to add to things that fit us. You recruit players who can provide another set of eyes, who know what toughness looks like, who know what a tough mindset looks like.

“I’m not talking about the flavor of the month because a kid puts up 38 points in an AAU game. I’m talking about guys who have a substance that wins.”

In other words, guys like the state is producing in eye-popping numbers for the classes of 2011, 2012 and beyond.


  1. I dont know, he doesnt seem very selective at all. Just think of all the names that have flashed and went away just in the last few months, guys like Yuegete, McCombs, now Noreen. Whats even worse, he cant seem to even land these guys.

    I havent given up hope yet, but I think its pretty clear that recruiting isnt going to be all that good for a while. I wrote off Zeller months ago. I think we should just get McGary now (some think hes better than Zeller) and just go with it

  2. Tom - your style absolutely is "flavor of the month". How many offers have you made in the last 3-4 weeks? You are losing public recruiting battles to the likes of Illinois St.

    I'm with you kind of because I have to be. The shotgun style of recruiting is straight outta the bush-league though. You aren't fooling anyone.
    Perception = Desperation ... unfortunately

  3. Tom Crean seems to be a very genuine, well-intending person. He also seems very likable. He may, in time (and he should be given plenty of time with the disaster he inherited), get it rolling in Bloomington. He may even have success in terms of the regular season. I do not get the sense from watching his in-game coaching that he will get Indiana back to the premier level many IU fans have known from years past.

  4. The other issue is the number of coaches within the Big 10 who are better strategists than Coach Crean. This is not intended to penalize Coach Crean for not having a Big 10 ready roster that was and is not his fault. The following are better in-game coaches (and in order as I see it): Ryan, Weber, Painter, Izzo, Carmody, Tubby, Matta, Crean, Beilein, McCaffery, DeChellis

  5. Your going to rate Weber as the second best in game coach? Vote Tom Izzo as the fourth..haha Guess final fours are not good enough.

  6. Tom Crean is not the guy. He is a suspect recruiter, an average strategist and in-game coach and a weak motivator.

    I don't want anymore 7 foot foreign guys who can't walk and chew gum at the same time. This french guy averages 7 points per game in JUCO? At 7' 1" he should walk on the floor and score 20.

    The Northwestern game in the big 10 tournament did it for me. That team absolutely quit on their coach. They didn't want to play any more basketball for him. His message was tired and their play reflected it.

    I wish we could afford to fire this guy but we can't. We're stuck with him and when his tenure is over, I fear that there will be nothing left to salvage.

    Right now, IU basketball has no sizzle and the primary indication of that is the lack of interest in even top 100 recruits. Two three star combo guards and a 7 footer from Martenique? That could be the worst recruiting class at IU since I have been alive and I am 35 years old.

    I think the darkest days are yet to come. I guarantee over the next 3 years we see no 20 win seasons, no NCAA berths, no top 3 finishes in the Big 10, and no top 15 recruiting classes. Crean gets bought out at the end of it and we are left with a potential coaching pool that would make Iowa State wince.

    Go Hoosiers!