Thursday, August 16, 2012

On IU Basketball, Patterson and Moving On

So now the focus is on what should be a dynamic Indiana basketball season.

Speculation is left for how many games the Hoosiers will win (figure 30-plus), can they win a Big Ten title (yes), will they go on to win a national title (why not?) and whether Cody Zeller will cap a national-player-of-the-year performance by turning pro (probably).

Freshman shooting guard Ron Patterson’s exit from the program -- he didn’t do well enough in two summer classes to meet the school-imposed academic guidelines set for him -- means the Hoosiers are at their allowed total of 13 scholarship players. Coach Tom Crean has the pieces in place for a season to remember.

The backcourt is loaded even without Patterson, considered one of the best defenders in the nation among incoming freshman. Veterans Jordan Hulls, Victor Oladipo, Remy Abel and Maurice Creek (who apparently is on his way to a full recovery from his Achilles tendon injury) will be joined by super freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell.

Oh, in case you’re wondering, Hulls has been looking very good in off-season workouts. He’s developed a solid mid-range offensive game to go along with his impressive three-point shooting.

As for Patterson, he’ll have to grow from this. It won’t be easy, but then, so many things in life aren’t. He’ll have to apply himself to his academics with the same zeal and determination he did to basketball. His options are prep school, junior college or another four-year school.

Ferrell, tweeted this about Patterson, who had come up with the term, “The Movement,” to reflect the class’s determination to help restore the glory to the program:

“Good luck to my dude Buss (Patterson’s nickname). “Wherever he ends up, he will always be part of The Movement.”

For those wondering what this means for graduated guard Matt Roth, the answer is nothing.  There is no scholarship for him. IU has Etherington to fulfill that three-point specialist role. Etherington barely played last season, but his hard work and long-range shooting will give him the opportunity Roth had last season.

Finally, some readers suggested Hoosier Deep Throat was unfair in naming names in an earlier blog that revealed Patterson would be the player to go. In truth, the unfairness was in signing 14 players when only 13 scholarships are allowed.

This is not a knock on Crean. He’s not the only coach who over-signs. It’s part of the sometimes ruthless nature of recruiting. In an era where players transfer or go pro at any time, you have to protect yourself.
The dilemma came when Zeller (an almost certain lottery pick) and Watford (who was expected to enter the draft before wisely deciding to stay for his senior season) passed on the NBA draft.

Then, no other returning player transferred or became academically ineligible. IU had a problem that lasted until Wednesday.

Hoosier Deep Throat kept some information vague, intentionally blurring the distinction between losing a scholarship and a transfer because, well, there were discrete reasons. Losing a scholarship can sometimes mean exactly that rather than have it taken away.

That’s irrelevant now. What is relevant is the Hoosiers can have a season for the ages, and Patterson can still achieve so many impressive things.

It’s all about how badly do they want it.


  1. Is it unfair to oversign? Had that not happened then IU would be down a scholarship player. Not to mention the uncertainties surrounding the health of Creek. The oversign is there to protect the program. Other journalists chose to not publish the rumors concerning the names of players. Obviously not everyone works with those standards.

  2. Naming Ron Patterson was not a rumor. It was a fact. It was the truth. That's the standard I strive for.

    Also, if IU had signed Gary Harris, as it nearly did, it would still have a scholarship to cut. That would have cost somebody $15,000 to $25,000 to resolve via a walk-on route.

    Anyway, appreciate the perspective.