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.