Monday, February 21, 2011

For Indiana, Is It Back To Africa? Can It Rock Purdue? What's Up With Illinois?

Are you like us? Do you see where Indiana is looking at another recruit from another country and start to get that queasy, oh-no-not-again feeling?

IU tried two guys from Africa and it didn’t work out. It tried a guy from France via Martinique and that didn’t work out.

Now comes word that Tom Crean, the man with the non-stop motor and travel budget, is taking a look at swingman Maurice Aniefiok, who is in West Virginia, but is originally from Nigeria.

Aniefiok is 6-5 and 220 pounds. He is athletic. He can probably leap over tall buildings and out-run speeding trains.

Can he play basketball? If so, this could be great because IU could use some inside muscle. As a reader noted, he is a guard, but at 220 pounds, he has the physique and strength to go inside. Hey, the Hoosiers have tried Jordan Hulls at the 4 spot, and he's listed at 6-foot and 175 pounds. In Crean's system, the more roles you can handle, the better.

Aniefiok averages 13 points for Huntington Prep out of West Virginia. He’s been offered by Mississippi and is getting looks from West Virginia and Southern California.

Crean attended a practice on Monday. Assistant coach Bennie Seltzer showed up at a game last week.

With center Guy-Marc Michel out of eligibility, IU could use another big man, or at least somebody who could occasionally mix it up in the paint, play some defense and grab some rebounds. Heck, maybe even alter or block a few shots.

Could Aniefiok be that guy -- at least some of the time? Who knows? But Crean and his staff aren’t sitting around waiting for Cody Zeller and Austin Etherington to show up next year. If they can get some inside help, or help in general, it’s all good. And if they can’t, well, it never hurts to look.


Purdue is coming to Assembly Hall on Wednesday night, which means at least one team will be playing defense.

Yes, the No. 8 Boilers (22-5) have positioned themselves for a second straight Big Ten title because of their rib-rocking defense, a quality Crean continues to try to develop in his squad. Someday, you figure, it will come. In fact, there have been times this season when it has come, but not often enough.

Still, put the Boilers in Assembly Hall and the Hoosiers (12-15) are likely to find inspiration. They will defend as if their scholarships depend on it.

Hey, who knows? They might even get the upset.

One thing is certain -- they can’t afford to repeat the defensive disaster they had against Northwestern. If they do, they’ll get carved up.

“That level of play is not acceptable,” Crean said. “It’s not going to be acceptable even remotely close on Wednesday night.”


Crean is not happy and it has nothing to do with the Hoosiers’ defense.

That’s progress, isn’t it?

The Big Ten has told IU that it has to play at Illinois on Saturday, March 5 for a noon tipoff. It has to host Wisconsin Thursday, March 3, with a 9 p.m. start.

That’s not much of a turnaround, especially given teams are supposed to get two days to prepare for each game. Sometimes, though, with all the complexities of TV, rules are bent.

Crean tweeted what he thought of that schedule: “I am okay with 1 day in between games on occasion, but 36 hours? In a rivalry game? That defies rationalization.”

It’s hard enough these days for the Hoosiers to win. That kind of schedule could make a guy think a conspiracy was at work.

What’s next -- that the dude who starred in the X-Files will officiate the game?

1 comment:

  1. The X-Files dude would be an improvement over Valentine.