Monday, June 18, 2012

Hoosier Answer Man Tackles More Tough IU Questions

Because of a massive number of requests, we’re providing a new episode of Hoosier Answer Man, the only place to get the truth about Indiana basketball and Lloyd Bridges.

Yes, we’ll explain that.

Anyway, you have Hoosier questions, we have Hoosier answers. Just like 24’s Jack Bauer, we’ll do whatever is necessary to get you the information you have to have, even if some disagree. It’s cutting edge journalism at it’s most dangerous.

What could go wrong?

Let’s start.

Q: A reader of the previous blog said you were “under-informed.” Others suggested you are clueless. One even suggested a connection to Purdue. How do you respond to that?

HOOSIER ANSWER MAN: I don’t have enough information to respond.

Q: Does that mean you are “under-informed” and over-paid?

HOOSIER ANSWER MAN: My lawyer will get back to you. Next question.

Q: What have you heard about this Stanford Robinson guy who has committed to the Class of 2013?

HOOSIER ANSWER MAN: He’s a stud scorer.

Q: Can you elaborate?

HOOSIER ANSWER MAN: He averaged 9.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists at the very prestigious National Basketball Players Association Top 100 camp in Virginia. He can score against anyone at any time (his 24 points in one game ranked with the most of anyone at the camp). He’s good with both hands. He attacks the rim. He hits three-pointers. He plays aggressive defense. He’s fast. He’s a good passer. Oh, he rebounds well for a guard.

Robinson also thrives in an uptempo attack, which is what IU does well, and will do even more of this coming season. He's ranked as the Class of 2013's No. 88 player, and figure he'll make a big jump by the end of the summer.

He’s the best player in a very good IU class that also includes Devin Davis, Collin Hartman and Luke Fischer. And for the record, don’t be surprised if coach Tom Crean adds another.

Q: Is there a better recruiter in the Big Ten right now than Crean?

HOOSIER ANSWER MAN: His recruiting has been off the charts the last couple of years, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Why? Because he and his staff bust their tails. They put in the time, they care and they develop players and programs.

Yes, they start very early. And, yes, Crean's tendency toward over-signing has created a problem (as mentioned in the previous blog with the 14 players and 13 scholarships). While he's not the only one doing it, that doesn't make it fair. But then, recruiting is a tough, competitive, ruthless process. Success comes to those who are aggressive and tenacious, and Crean has been very successful.

It's much like dating.

Or so we've been told.

Also, don’t underestimate the advantage of hiring new assistant coach Kenny Johnson, who was a driving force in the Washington D.C.-area Team Takeover AAU program that delivered Maurice Creek, Victor Oladipo and now Robinson.

The addition to Cook Hall also was big. It puts IU on par with every other program in the nation when it comes to facilities. Add the tradition, fan enthusiasm and everything else and the Hoosiers figure to be a national power for a long time.

Yeah, it’s a good time to be a Hoosier.

Q: How good is IU track distance runner Andy Bayer?

HOOSIER ANSWER MAN: Well, he’s good enough to have a shot to make the upcoming London Olympics, and if he needed a near midnight qualifying run to do it, no one is complaining.

Bayer recently won the NCAA 1,500 meter run in like 3 minutes, 42 seconds, which was a little slow because it was more of a tactical race. He needed to break 3:39 to earn a spot in the upcoming U.S. Olympic Trials.

He did it LATE Sunday night by running a 3:38.07 at something called Bloomington Twilight at IU’s track facility. It was held shortly before midnight, the deadline for qualifying. That meant it was cooler and less humid, great conditions to run fast, and Bayer delivered.

It was the fourth fastest 1,500 time in school history, faster than even former IU standout and two-time Olympian Bob Kennedy had run.

Q: Is it time for Cody Zeller to start shooting three-pointers?

HOOSIER ANSWER MAN: Yes. The guy can shoot and make them. He proved it in high school. He proved it in AAU ball. He has the range and the touch. It’s time IU took full advantage of everything he can do.

Q: Why didn’t he shoot them last year?

HOOSIER ANSWER MAN: Zeller was an All-American as a freshman and led the team in scoring, so obviously somebody knew what he was doing.

IU led the Big Ten in three-point shooting, and a big reason was because of Zeller’s inside scoring threat. It gave guys open perimeter shots. When those guys include Jordan Hulls, Matt Roth and the ever-improving Christian Watford, good things usually happen.

Still, Zeller needs to use all of his skills. No limits. Look, the guy didn’t take one three-pointer last year. Not one! Even Tom Pritchard took one (yes, it was to beat the shot clock, but still!). It’s time to open up and REALLY torture opposing defenses. And wouldn’t it be nice if one of those defenses belonged to Kentucky.

Q: That leads to our next question. Did you hear athletic director Fred Glass on 1070 the Fan’s JMV radio show the other day talking about the latest update on the IU-Kentucky basketball series?


Q: What did you think?

HOOSIER ANSWER MAN: Fred Glass is a great guy. He’s down to earth, funny, smart and sensible. We also share the same fashion sense. But this thing is all messed up.

Q: How so?

HOOSIER ANSWER MAN: Fred said about 25 percent of the feedback he’s gotten about the IU-UK series think he’s a knucklehead and should play Kentucky anywhere, anytime. The remaining 75 percent supports his position, which is hold firm with Kentucky. If the Wildcats won’t compromise and play once every 4 years at Assembly Hall, if they won’t agree to a 4-year deal rather than a 2-year contract, if they’re scared to play in Assembly Hall and are trying to throw their weight around just because they’re now a “non-traditional” program, then screw ‘em, we’ll play Savannah State.

Q: I don’t recall Fred saying anything about Savannah State.

HOOSIER ANSWER MAN: It’s all about reading between the lines.

Q: Is that the same as being “under-informed?”

HOOSIER ANSWER MAN: No wonder your mother doesn’t like you.

Anyway, here’s the bottom line. IU is giving up lots of money that even an athletic department flush with Big Ten Network riches can use; it is missing out on playing Kentucky at one of the great sports venues in North America, if not the world (Lucas Oil Stadium); it is passing on a game that will have HUGE national interest and provide the kind of attention and recruiting opportunity most programs would kill for, all so it can play a patsy nobody wants to see.

To compound the problem, it could have started a similar mega-interest series with Louisville, which would have agreed to everything IU wanted, even start by playing at Assembly Hall next year. IU officials said no.

Crean has mentioned a chance at some TV-brokered deal with a high-profile opponent, but that’s not definite. There remains a small window for Indiana and Kentucky to play at Lucas Oil Stadium in late December, but every day makes that more and more unlikely.

In the end, Kentucky replaced IU with a two-year deal with top-20 program Baylor (one game at Rupp Arena, one in Dallas), that will generate big bucks and lots of TV and national exposure. The Hoosiers are likely to replace Kentucky with a buy-in opponent such as Savannah State, Kentucky State or Gardner-Webb.

That’s a game, by the way, that no one will get excited about and generate zero national exposure.

So let’s recap IU’s decision -- throw away lots of money, throw away a marquee game at a marquee area in front of a huge TV audience, play home game against a patsy.

To quote Lloyd Bridges in the classic movie comedy, “Airplane,” looks like I picked the wrong day to give up sniffing glue.

Q: That seems harsh.

HOOSIER ANSWER MAN: Does it? I have a question for you. Did you put “Nude Videos” in the headline of the previous blog as a cheap way to draw readers?

Q: You ask too many bleeping questions.


  1. I certainly do not think Hoosier Answer Man should take it personally. I just figured, based on his understanding of the rules, that he was a former member of Kelvin Sampson's staff who had been "promoted" to another job in the university. As an alum, far from criticizing him, I offered my comments in a spirit of appreciation for his loyalty to my alma mater. I wanted to help.

    My point was that the actual consequences of over-signing, especially when done in consecutive years as Crean is doing, are far more complex and punitive than Hoosier Answer Man seems to appreciate. It is simply not as straightforward as he believes.

    This led Hoosier Answer man to gloss over a host of ethical and competitive implications. On the one hand, ethics are ethics (and there ARE ethical issues involved with over-signing, which has led to a great deal of media coverage of the issue with respect to over-signing in football). On the other hand, in the real world, most people apply ethics with some...flexibility...depending on the benefits of a particular choice.

    Even if that is Hoosier Answer Man's approach to life and basketball, however, the competitive advantages of Crean's approach are questionable. So what if the 12th or 13th scholarships occasionally go unfilled in random years. How many teams ever play 12 or 13 players? How many even play ten players? How many won conference or national championships because of the 13th man? Making sure these scholarships are filled is not going to win any more championships than if they are given to a deserving walk-on.

    Hoosier Answer Man needs to consider just how rarely the 12th or 13th man would ever play. He also needs to consider that Crean's approach may actually make his teams LESS competitive and able to win.

    How many freshman outside the top ten would be a better player than a sophomore or junior who would have to be cut to make room for an over-sign? Look at the commitments to IU from the high school Class of 2013; the best recruiting service ranking for each of the four of them are #50, #92, #107, and #110. Now, I actually love this class. But there is a slim chance that a freshman ranked 50th, let alone 110th, would be better than a senior Oladipo, Sheehey, or Creek, or a junior Etherington, Abell, or Zeller.

    My contention is that over-signing is forcing a better player to be cut for a worse player. My own personal contention is also that this is unethical and most everyone seems to agree if it is unfair.

    So, if Hoosier Answer Man will consider the detailed rules, then he would be better able to judge whether over-signing REALLY makes competitive sense. He just might come to believe that it does not. And that's true even if Hoosier Answer Man is one of those who is less interested in the ethical dimensions of the issue.

    And, while any such revelations by Hoosier Answer Man truly only affect his personal growth, which is to say they would not change the world, it would be a different matter if, say, a newspaper columnist would begin to really dive into the issue, explore the detailed NCAA and B10 rules that affect it, and the examine the various arguments for and against.

    It is actually a VERY important issue. It deserves more media attention than it has received and it could make for a heck of a newspaper column. Based on yesterday's comments, it certainly seems that, while I may be Anonymous, I am not alone in my feelings of overall support for Coach Crean but strong opposition to over-signing.

  2. As much as I don't like the idea of Indina giving in, either ESPN or CBS will present an offer that neither team can turn down and sometime in December IU and UK will play at Lucas Oil stadium. I will be HUGE and of a MONUMENTAL scale, believe me.

  3. I wonder if you can do a column about football recruiting. I don't want to be a downer, but I'm really worried. Most other programs have several commitments already and IU has only one. In addition, every story I read about recruits interested in IU has the player rated as a 3 star player and the other interested schools are Ball state or Western Kentucky or Kent State.
    Are we recruiting and / or have any shot at Big 10 ranked players?