Friday, March 4, 2011
Indiana Whirlwind -- No Guy, Shaved Head, Top Coach, On To Illinois And Sex
Guy-Marc Michel never got a chance to show was he could do. He remains a 7-foot shot-blocking enigma who someday, coach Tom Crean insisted, will play in the NBA.
“It’s a great disappointment that we had to bring Guy to you in this way,” Crean said.
Michel appeared in Thursday night’s Senior Night activities because Crean wanted to honor him. Crean is a classy, caring guy, and while Michel never played for the Hoosiers, that doesn’t mean the coach didn’t appreciate his efforts.
The NCAA ruled Michel permanently ineligible before the season began for two reasons -- he took his first college course in 2006 (thus starting the five-years-to-play-four-seasons rule) and because he briefly played on a club team in France that had pro players. Michel apparently never took money or signed with an agent, but because of the way the NCAA views international players and their situations, it didn’t matter. He was ineligible.
“For reasons that are still shocking,” Crean said, “he never had the opportunity to play with us. Not many would have stayed with us knowing they’d never get the opportunity to play. We knew we had a guy who would play in the NBA someday. If he continues to work, there is zero doubt he will play in the NBA and maybe end up playing for somebody like a Doc Rivers.”
Rivers, the Boston Celtics head coach, was in town to support his son, Jeremiah, a senior guard for the Hoosiers.
Michel likely would have provided the inside defensive presence IU needed. With him it might have won three or four more games, which would have positioned it for a NIT berth.
Instead, well, there’s always next year.
Fred Glass is going bald to help raise money to fight cancer. Indiana’s athletic director will shave his head to support the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, an organization dedicated to raising money for childhood cancer research. Glass was go under the razor on March 11 in Indianapolis.
St. Baldrick has raised more than $94 million since 2000 with its head-shaving events.
“I am honored to become a proud St. Baldrick’s Foundation shavee,” Glass said in a university release. “It’s an honor to bring awareness to such a worthy cause.”
Glass will shave his head to honor 14-year-old Joey Chamness. He’s the son of Chuck Chamness, a St. Baldrick’s board member and a friend of Glass. Joey was diagnosed with cancer when he was 8 and is now cancer free. Also, Glass is friends with Mike and Patrice Schroeder. They had a son, Michael, who died at age 12 from brain cancer.
A year or so ago, we were told we’d look exactly like Brad Pitt if we shaved our head. In the interest of fair play, we told Fred the same thing. He, too, will soon look like Brad.
No, we don’t feel guilty.
Football coach Kevin Wilson might have had some early trouble retaining assistant coaches, but he’s had zero trouble in targeting good ones.
Take, for instance, one who stayed. Kevin Johns is considered the Big Ten’s top wide receivers coach according to Rivals.com, a national Internet recruiting and sports site.
Johns coached the previous seven years at Northwestern, the last five as the wide receivers coach. He also worked as the passing game coordinator as well as recruiting coordinator and, earlier, running backs coach.
The job he did there impressed Rivals.
“One of the game’s underrated coaches … Johns consistently took overlooked wide receivers and turned them into some of the Big Ten’s most productive pass catchers: Eric Peterman, Zeke Markshausen, Jeremy Ebert, Ross Lane and Andrew Brewer among them.”
At IU Johns will work as co-offensive coordinator in addition to coaching the receivers. Given that receiver is the team’s strongest position, lot for this group to make a huge impact.
Indiana has arrived in Champaign ready to fight the good fight. Will that be a winning one?
You already know that answer.
The Hoosiers are winless away from Assembly Hall this year and have one just one true road win in Crean’s three seasons.
No matter. Crean is focused on one thing -- winning at the other Assembly Hall.
“I’m looking for guys who are absolutely committed to doing everything they can do defensively and on the boards and believing that they can win,” he said in a university release. “Each game is a new opportunity and that is how we approach it.”
IU faces an Illinois team that is as talented as any in the Big Ten other than Ohio State. The Illini have size, experience and one of the conference’s best point guards in Demitri McCamey. When they are clicking, they are as good as any squad in the country.
That is the atomic bomb issue for the Illini -- they so rarely have clicked this season. At 18-12 overall, 8-9 in the Big Ten, they rate with Michigan State as the conference’s most under-achieving teams. They’ve already lost at Indiana and to a really bad Illinois-Chicago squad in Champaign.
That gives IU a chance. It isn’t a big chance, but it’s there.
Illinois, meanwhile, faces must-win pressure. The Illini know they can’t afford another home loss -- to a 12-18 team mirred in a seven-game losing streak -- if they want to make the NCAA tourney.
“They are playing to get into the NCAA Tournament,” Crean said, “and I would expect it to be a battle, much like the last four times we have played them. We are going into their building on Senior Day, and it will be an outstanding environment.”
For 15 minutes four days earlier, Illinois picked apart Purdue, the Big Ten’s hottest team, in Mackey Arena. It built a 13-point lead. The No. 6 Boilers rallied to win, but the Illini’s talent was obvious.
“They’re a great team because they pass so well,” Crean said, “they make their shots and they really cover for one another defensively, and I think that’s where the length comes in. When you’ve got great length and the activity of their guards and the pressure that they can cause (puts you in a bind).
“They put five players on the floor that can score. We’re going to have to be really good with our schemes and with our individual matchups. But again, this is never about this guy is going to shut down that guy.
“We have guys that you’ve got to help on and that’s when we’re at our best, when we’re driving and penetrating and getting the ball kicked and reversed. They’re the same way. There are not a lot of guys on that team to cheat off of.”
Are you like us? Did you hear that Brigham Young’s Brandon Davies was suspended for the rest of the season for having premarital sex and wondered, what would happen if that rule was in effect at Indiana?
How many athletes would be shown the door? What about in-state schools, or those in the Big Ten or the country?
Let’s just say that we have been to a lot of college football games at a number of schools where, after the game, players are greeted by girlfriends and their very young children.
While Davies apparently isn’t upset by this decision (he did, after all, sign the honor code that doesn’t permit premarital sex), you have to wonder if there was another way. Couldn’t the Cougars have made him run like a gazillion stadium stairs at 5 in the morning, or told him he was only allowed to date ugly women or made him listen to the Best of Barry Manilow CD for the next month?
Davis isn’t the only one being penalized. This will almost certainly cost Brigham Young a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tourney and, perhaps, winning a national title. Davis is a forward who averaged 11.1 points and a team-leading 6.2 rebounds. With him the Cougars were 27-2 and ranked No. 3. Without him on Wednesday they got hammered by New Mexico.
A moralist could say this is the price to pay for having sex outside of marriage. He knew the consquences when he signed the honor code.
A cynic might say athletes have sex all the time, what’s the big deal.
What do you think? Does the penalty fit the crime? Let us know and we’ll run the results.