On a day when the Colts released always injured safety Bob Sanders and IU trustees voted on a housing rate increase (oh, no, in THIS economy), we got another look into Tom Crean’s best basketball coaching motivational tool.
“Your voice can be strong,” he said. “Your ideas, your game plan, can be strong. But sometimes the most important strength a coach has is that chair. And that is part of it.”
The Hoosiers haven’t played in a week and they used some of that time to work forward Christian Watford back into the rotation. He even showed off the scar rising about the back of his surgically repaired left hand.
Coaches also used the week to further develop what Crean called a more “combative” mindset.
“It’s a learning process. It’s not like they’re not trying to. They aren’t struggling with playing hard. They are struggling with understanding just where they have to be constantly. And then you get guys thinking too much.”
Thinking is fine, but in a fast-paced game such as basketball, sometimes you have to read, react and go.
Northwestern (15-10) comes to Assembly Hall tonight and the key is not to go full-throttle, but to be patient. That’s why IU practiced for 35-second shot clock drills. Freshman Will Sheehey said if the Hoosiers messed up after 34 seconds, they had to start all over again.
There will be no starting over tonight. Indiana will try to defeat a team that already has beaten it once. It must guard against three-pointers (no Big Ten team shoots 'em like Northwestern), play transition defense and, for goodness sakes, do NOT give up back-door cuts. Doing do so means being ready by the opening tip. If IU (12-14) is to have any hope at a postseason bid, it has to beat the Wildcats.
“We are going to have to play excellent defense and not let their switching defenses, their combination defense, their 1-3-1 zone, disrupt us from being on the attack,” Crean said.
In case you thought Indiana was the only football program losing recently hired assistant coaches, it’s now happening to Purdue.
DeMontie Cross was hired as the linebackers coach on Jan. 25. Less than three weeks later, he bolted for Wisconsin.
IU coach Kevin Wilson has said it didn’t bother him that four assistant coaches left the program for more high-profile jobs. Purdue coach Danny Hope didn’t quite go that far.
“There has been a tremendous amount of turnover in college coaching this year, and we are seeing what I consider an unprecedented number of coaches accept a job and leave soon after for another one,” Hope said. “DeMontie wasn’t here long enough to make a difference. We will get to work immediately on finding someone who will. Great groundwork has already been laid in the hiring process, and we will continue our search for the right coach.”
Maurice Creek will not be making any miracle comeback from knee surgery this season. The timetable remains next year. For the sophomore guard.
“He’s progressing,” Crean said. “He can shoot X amount of free throws every day. He can’t be on the court doing exercises, but he’s around every day. He’s gaining as much knowledge of the game as he can. He’s strengthening his knee and building his body. Trainers are pushing him and getting his body stronger. He’s at a time period where he can do that.”