Friday, June 11, 2010

What Happens To Crean If Izzo Moves To NBA

Just in case you’re wondering, Tom Crean does not see Indiana as a basketball coaching stepping stone. This is a final stop, not a means to an end someplace else.

We mention this because of speculation on what would happen if Michigan State coach Tom Izzo leaves to take the Cleveland Cavaliers job. Crean, as you probably recall, was a long-time assistant coach under Izzo before leaving to take over at Marquette and then at Indiana. He’s very familiar with the Spartans and their program.

Izzo has reportedly been offered $6 million a year to coach Cleveland. He has said he’ll make a decision by today.

So would Crean take over for Izzo?

The Indiana coach won’t go there.

“I’m at Indiana,” Crean said. “It doesn’t make any difference what job opens across the country. When you take a job like Indiana, you take it because it is one of the great jobs in all of sports. We can get it out of the equation just for being a great college basketball job. This is one of those destination places everyone dreams about getting.

“Indiana is a place that we will continue to work and build. It’s a hard job, a hard challenge and you don’t take a job like this thinking anything about it is going to be easy.

“It’s a great, great thing to try to undertake day in and day to get this thing back to where it is going to be.”

IU’s program isn’t there yet, of course. It has had two straight losing seasons. It is a Big Ten cellar dweller. Still, potential is there and that includes the Academic Progress Rate, which measures how well athletes do in classes and toward getting a degree.

IU got a 975 in Crean’s first year, well above the minimum requirement of 925. Its four-year average of 878 is better than last season’s 866 average.

“I’m proud of what is going on here academically,” Crean said.

One thing Crean wouldn’t address is Big Ten expansion. Nebraska has left the Big 12 for the Big Ten. A lot of teams are looking to switch conference affiliations.

“I don’t get a lot of media request on conference realignment,” Crean said. “Most of us as coaches will know (about expansion) at the same time. We’ll know when we read it or when we hear it. I don’t have any inside information and, frankly, I don’t ask for it.”

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