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?
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?
HOOSIER ANSWER MAN: Sure did.
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.