Friday, May 20, 2011

No Surprise -- Capobianco Is Leaving IU; Will Others Follow?

So now there’s scholarship room. That is significant if you’re an Indiana basketball fan. Sophomore forward Bobby Capobianco is leaving, which frees up a scholarship for next season.

If the Hoosiers can land an impact big guy, they should take him. Just, please, no more guards.


Capobianco’s departure is shocking only if you’ve been too wrapped up in the Arnold mess and the Rapture is Coming drama. Coach Tom Crean keeps signing and offering scholarships and the numbers only add up if veterans leave.

Capobianco was an obvious first choice.

He seemed to be a good guy. He definitely was a great quote when he was available to talk, which wasn’t often, mostly because he rarely played or made an impact when he did. Still, he was a strong student who earned All-Big Ten academic honors. He’s set to take IU summer classes into June.

Let’s face it. Capobianco had as much chance to play next season as Mike Tyson has of winning the heavyweight title again. The guy was the Mark Spitz of fouling, the Mozart of fouling. He had 44 in 165 minutes last season. To give you perspective, if he played 40 minutes a game, he’d total 11.7 fouls. That means he’d foul out more than twice a game if referees would have given him the chance.

Mercifully, that never happened.

Even if Crean wanted to play Capobianco, if he spent every waking hour devising reasons for Capobianco to play, it wouldn’t happen because of all the fouling.

When Capobianco did play and didn’t foul, he wasn’t productive. He struggled to score, rebound and defend. That’s the kind of triple crown you don’t need when you’re trying to rebuild a championship program.

After the season Capobianco insisted he had no intention of transferring. He referred to his teammates as “brothers.” He said this was a family and he was there “to battle” and would do it again next season.

Then he changed his mind.

A cynic could say Crean ran him off, but that’s harsh and almost certainly wrong. Crean probably explained the facts of life to him. Capobianco had career averages of 1.7 points and 2.0 rebounds. He averaged just 6.3 minutes a game last year and didn’t play at all in six games. He had played twice as much as a freshman.

IU returned all its big guys (Tom Pritchard, Derek Elston and Christian Watford), plus is bringing in heralded freshman Cody Zeller. Plus, Crean often plays with three-guard lineups, and has been known to even use four guards.

There was no place for Capobianco.

“Bobby has decided to go for a fresh start and transfer to a school where he can have three years to play two,” Crean said in a university release. “He has indicated he would like the opportunity to find a program where he can get more playing time.

“We will help him accomplish this move any way we can. We all want to see Bobby be successful. My hope is he finds a school like Indiana, one that puts a prominent emphasis on academics as it does in basketball. He’s done an excellent job in the classroom. He will be an asset to whatever program he chooses. We wish him the best as he moves to this next stage in life.”

That stage would be better at a mid-major school. Capobianco is from Ohio, so maybe a Kent State or Akron or Cleveland State or Miami of Ohio.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time here at Indiana, but I want to look for an opportunity to further my basketball and academic career at another institution,” Capobianco said in the release. “I value the experience that I have had here and appreciate everything the coaches and basketball staff have done for me. I am looking forward to this new chapter, and will always have very strong feelings for my teammates, coaches and everyone associated with IU.”

Given the numbers, don’t be surprised if another player or two eventually departs. You never stop recruiting or stop trying to improve the talent. If that seems unfair, well, unfair is what Kelvin Sampson did to the program, not so much for the phone calls he made, but for some of the players he brought in.

But that’s a blog for another day.


  1. Looks to me as if the next logical candidate to have "the facts of life explained to him" is Matt Roth. I also must say that Indiana will have no choice but to go the ranks of the JUCO for a rebounding big. The roster currently has only 3 bigs on it (I classify Watford as a guard)so a 6'9" 5 point 11 rebound guy is sorely needed.

  2. Whoever wrote this piece is a bit mean spirited and too clever by half. The writer also doesn't know how to spell Mozart but that is not surprising.

  3. Why on earth would Matt Roth transfer. He never redshirted so this will be his last year, and he's set to graduate early. I hope Bobby finds a good school, and works hard , he's a great kid.

  4. Matt Roth is a very intelligent, nice young man. I understand he has completed his college courses and could transfer to another school and play basketball without waiting for a year. If he wants to play college basketball then he should do it because he won't get much meaningful time at IU. He can't create his own shots and can't play good defense and they have plenty of guards who can stand at the three point line and shoot open shots.

  5. Crean is a used car salesman that is unable to develop talent... Nice work.

  6. So Pete, are you a journalist, or a PR beech for IU?

  7. Nice journalism (cough, cough) Petie.

    Sell your soul lately?

  8. Bad blog Pete, and very unnecessary. There was a time when transfers broke the hearts of IU fans no matter who it was, and we took kids like Bobby C. and made them competitive. Winning wasn't a bottom line, it was a result of the character of the university. This article proves that is no longer the case. Thanks for your award winning insight

  9. I agree another big is needed. Roth should transfer if he wants to play.I do not see him getting anything more then mop up minutes the next two years.Elston is another one I do not see getting many minutes unless somehow he learns to play defense this summer. Plus is sure would be nice to free up another grant that we really need. I think Crean has currently offered 36 2014 kids(LOL).

  10. With Zeller the ONLY accomplished BIG MAN entering IU over the next three years it shows Creans philosophy on the type of team he wants to run with. He is looking for the next D. Wade to lead IU to the Final Four. He doesn't recruit top tier BIG'S and with his offense why would any NBA prospect want to play at Indiana?

  11. It was pretty clear to me that this young man's clumsiness was not well suited for Big 10 play. Although I am sorry that things didn't work out for him, Crean had no business bringing in someone who clearly lacked the skills required to be a reliable and productive front court player in a conference loaded with far better athletes. Good luck to Bobby, but it is past time that IU put a respectable team on the floor. Any other member of this team who thinks he is a better player than his numbers show should follow Bobby out the door ASAP.

  12. If memory serves, Capobianco and Roth were signed when Samson was still around and they were the only two who stuck to their commitments after Samson left.