Tuesday, June 15, 2010

In Big Basketball Picture, Crean is Right IU Fit

So now we know Tom Izzo will be a Spartan for life. He will not succumb to NBA temptation with its mega-million-dollar salaries and LeBron James possibilities.

The Big Ten is better for it. So is Michigan State. It seems unlikely that anyone could duplicate Izzo’s success in East Lansing, just as it’s been impossible to duplicate what Bob Knight did at Indiana and John Wooden did at UCLA.

Izzo is a guy who has taken his team to six Final Fours in the last 12 years, something only Wooden and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski have done. He’s won a national title and a bunch of Big Ten championships. He returns a team with strong national championship potential.

There are some in Indiana circles who are disappointed in Izzo’s decision. They hoped that if Izzo went to Cleveland, Michigan State officials would hire Tom Crean away from the Hoosiers.

In this scenario, Izzo goes to Cleveland, Crean goes to Michigan State (he’s a former Spartan assistant coach under Izzo) and somebody new, say Brad Stevens of Butler, ends up in Bloomington.

This is not unexpected or a negative. Okay, it is a negative if you’re Crean, who is giving his heart and soul to the IU job, but we’re looking at it from the big picture perspective.

These are passionate Cream ‘n Crimson fans who are tired of losing. Any coach who wins 16 games in two seasons, as Crean has done, is not going to win a popularity contest, especially if he’s just 1-for-3 in landing top-15 recruiting classes and has yet to fully tap into the state of Indiana’s mother lode of high school talent.

That Crean had to gut the program because it was full of guys who, and we’re being kind here, were not IU material, is no longer relevant. Fans want victories and stud recruits. They want hope in this era of Purdue and Butler thriving on the national scene.

Crean has already used Twitter (we still don’t understand the attraction of this thing, but we do understand it’s making somebody a lot of money, just not us) to state he’s not interested in the job. Now, of course, it’s irrelevant. Izzo will likely be at Michigan State for at least another 10 years, maybe more.

Crean, of course, remains focused on restoring Indiana’s basketball glory. The Hoosiers are pushing the off-season pace to get bigger, stronger and more skillful, and if they have to do it without strength coach Jeff Watkinson, who is now ex-Hoosier Eric Gordon’s personal trainer, well, it’s just another challenge Crean must overcome.

And he will.

The key remains recruiting and Crean is fully committed to landing a big-time class dominated by some of the state’s big-time prep talent. That commitment needs to produce results. This summer and fall will be huge.

In the meantime, grumbling will continue. Some will keep wondering if Crean is the right guy for the job. IU fans, you see, really aren’t fickle. They just want the Hoosiers win again, thrive again, thrill again. They want IU to kick some behind, starting with Kentucky and Purdue.

Is that asking too much?


  1. no way, he isn't even close to being the one for indiana. you won't even post this because you know i am right. alford or bust, indiana basketball sucks under crean!!!! no hoosier kid wants to play for him, he cannot even get a 4 star from ohio, cannot land a big guy worth having, cannot develop a player, and don't say wade please he coached him like kobe,lebron, could of being coached. oh well couple more of these loosing season's and we'll see a change and then if you still writing on HH i'll remind you of this post as i will on the blogs. we need a change and need it now, but a couple more 10 win season maybe the spot opens up for us a developing/recruiting coach. i hope i am wrong on all accounts but i don't believe i am.

  2. Exactly what has Crean done in his coaching career (minus DWADE) that makes you come to the conclusion he can coach? Can you please provide that info.

    There is plenty of info stating otherwise. One NCAA win without Wade. Mediocre conference records in Big East. How do those make anyone believe he can win big at IU.

  3. It is the same ole, same ole. Crean will probably have to learn to win with the girl he took to the dance. Today's high school kids (especially Indiana kids) have no loyalty to their home state at all and are easily swayed by the greener grass. All their loyalty is based on personal connections and personal loyalty. Unlike in the days when a Quin Buckner comes to IU having never even been to an IU practice are long gone. High school kids in those days went to schools based on state and regional loyalty as well as pressure from alumni. Well the alumni pressure is still there but today's kids just don't have the regional allegience they once had. One school is as good as another. Purdue and Butler, while getting a lot of Indiana talent, aren't exactly cleaning up either. The really top talent is still headed out of state. Ohio State, Duke and North Carolina are making huge success based on Indiana talent. All and I do mean All of the in state schools are going to have to do a better job marketing themselves if they want to end this trend.

  4. i guess my post wasn't good enough. but thats why you all in this business is frowned upon. you voice your opinion then scared of someone elses. which is good. like a tc coached basketball team, no heart.

  5. if recruiting were that easy tubby, alford and leclitner would have at worst taken their teams to the sweet 16. nobody likes to wait for anything even a pizza we have to have in less then 30 minutes. consider the fact a new employe doesn't get to be ceo in 2years give the guy a break he didn't become a dumb coach in 2 years

  6. I am shocked people are upset with Crean or calling for a change. Are you kidding me? He is a stand-up guy, does it right, and has always been a winner. I absolutely can't believe I'm hearing this.

  7. The Hoosiers are night and day with Creek back in the lineup. I just hope he can get his confidence back with that knee.

  8. I completely agree, the youth and rebuilding story has gotten old. It is time to show results. If we do not make the tourney this year I do believe CTC will be on the hot seat for sure. The players he has recruited were 3 and 4 star players and should have had a greater impact last season than they did. I saw a complete lack of effort and development with last season's team. That should not happen with 3 and 4 star recruits.!

  9. Anyone grumbling about Crean is an impatient imbecile. If they win 10 games again next year, then cry all you want. Until that time, let's see how the team plays next season -- with everyone a year older, stronger and hopefully wiser.

  10. I don't get all the negativity over IU hoops. Two years ago, Crean started with a player I had never heard of (I watched 80% of the games from the year before) and a role player. Two year's later, we have made strides, but clearly have a ways to go before we're back in NCAA tourney. Realistically, last year, we had a team of Freshmen and Sophomores and two of our best shooters (Creek and Roth) were hurt and, essentially, missed the season. Our D in the paint was atrocious and our offense in the paint wasn't a whole lot better. Bawa Maniru leaving gives Crean what amounts to a mulligan for his scholership. Hopefully, Michel can do what Maniru wasn't able to do, give IU a presence in the paint. In order to take the next step, it is critical that IU land two more solid players in 2011. It wouldn't hurt if one, or both, were in state. Enough has been said about recruiting in-state. IU needs to improve and Crean knows it. But, winning begets winning and landing two of the following for 2011 would put IU on track: B.J. Young, Cody Zeller, M Plumlee, J Davis, and A Thomas. 2012 recruiting looks good with big-men Perea and Junkin likely on the way and we have a shot at D Smith-Rivera, Ron Patterson, Gary Harris, and Yogi Farrell. Again, winning begets winning and it's easier to land the four and five star recruits, when the program is perrenially top 25 in the country. The Hoosiers do have to start winning to get the ball rolling. As for this season, I'm expecting to see improved D in the paint and new assistant coach Steve McClain is supposed to excel in coaching the big men. We get Creek and Roth back and will benefit from last year's Freshmen and Sophomore team being Juniors, Sophomore's and the three new Freshmen this year. Time will tell, but I'm optimistic on Hoosier hoops and think it would help not to have all the negativity in Hoosier Nation. Excellent job by the football Hoosiers in landing TWO four-star players in Zack Shaw and Raymon Taylor!