Thursday, May 19, 2011

It’s Official – Abell Is A Basketball Hoosier; Blubaugh Remembered

How good can newly signed Remy Abell be?

Well, coach Tom Crean compared him to Jerel McNeal after announcing Abell was finally, officially a Hoosier.

That leads to the obvious question –- who’s Jerel McNeal?

The answer -– he’s Marquette’s all-time leading scorer with 1,985 points. He played for Crean.

“I think the most impressive thing about him is his ability to make everyone around him better and he does not have to have the ball in his hands to be effective,” Crean said in a university release. “In a lot of ways he reminds me a lot of Jerel McNeal, who we had at Marquette.”

Does that mean we can expect Abell to break Calbert Cheaney’s IU and Big Ten career scoring record of just over 2,600 points? Well, that would be nice, but no, that ain’t happening, but it does suggest he has potential.

Abell averaged 16 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.5 steals for Louisville Eastern High School team that went 33-3 and reached the Kentucky state semifinals last season. He’s an all-state player and member of Kentucky’s All-Star team that will play Indiana next month.

Abell originally signed with Bradley before being granted a release after a coaching change there.

“He’s a year-round winner who will bring a great deal of versatility to our program,” Crean said. “He’s a big guard who will have an immediate impact defensively with his ability to guard three positions. He can get to the rim on offense, knock down open shots and will really add to our transition game.”

Also, cross Jamari Traylor off the list of possible big men joining IU’s Class of 2011. The 6-7 forward who averaged 20 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks from IMG Academy in Florida just signed with Kansas. He was the highest rated of the inside players IU was reportedly looking at.

That means it’s looking more and more likely that IU’s inside load this coming season will be handled by incoming freshman Cody Zeller, senior Tom Pritchard and juniors Derek Elston and Bobby Capobianco, with junior Christian Watford having a swing role.

Will that be enough? Perhaps, if Pritchard can stay out of foul trouble and Elston and Capobianco can toughen up. That’s why this off-season is so crucial. They really, really have to put in the time to get better.


How tough was Doug Blubaugh?

Consider how this 1960 Olympic wrestling gold medalist and former IU wrestling coach (1972-84) faced his final few minutes. According to a story by Dustin Dopirak of the Bloomington Herald-Times, the 76-year-old Blubaugh was riding a motorscooter in Tonkawa, Okla., when he was hit in the intersection by a pickup truck. Blubaugh got up and began walking home. Finally, he called 911. He died on the way to the hospital of a ruptured spleen.

Blubaugh’s son, Dale, told the Herald-Times that his father ran a marathon distance every other day, and the other days he would walk the length of a football field on his hands.

Blubaugh’s gold medal run included one of the most memorable upsets in Olympic history when he beat previously undefeated Eman Ali-Habibi of Iran, the defending Olympic champ and a five-time world champion. He also won the 1957 national title for Oklahoma State.

At IU he compiled a 102-144-8 record and produced two All-Americans.

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