Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Recruiting Young – IU’s Crean Does It Again; Making Big Bucks

Tom Crean is fearless when it comes to offering basketball scholarships to guys who have yet to reach high school.

He’s done it again, the second time in the last couple of months, by offering 6-8 center DeRon Davis from Colorado.

Crean and his Indiana staff got a close look at Davis during last week’s Adidas Invitational in Indianapolis. Davis played for the Colorado Hawks team that lost to an Eric Gordon squad in the U15 finals. That’s the same Eric Gordon squad that has Eron Gordon, the other pre-high school recruit Crean has offered this year.

Davis is ranked as the nation’s third-ranked eighth grader by an entity called Nations Elite Prospects. How accurate is the rating? Who knows? Many eighth graders haven’t hit full-throttle puberty yet. But given Davis is already 210 pounds, you’ve got to believe he will physically be able to eventually handle college basketball battles.

Offering eighth graders is a risk, but one Crean is willing to take. A couple of years ago he offered scholarships to Fort Wayne Bishop Luers guard James Blackmon and Indianapolis Tech forward Trey Lyles before either had enrolled in high school. Both accepted his scholarship offers. That’s turned out pretty well. Blackmon is a top-50 prospect in the Class of 2014 while Lyles is a top-10 recruit in the same class.

Eron Gordon, of course, is the brother of Eric Gordon, the former IU All-American and current NBA player. Genetics alone would suggest Eron will develop into at least a solid Big Ten player.

Crean goes deeper than genetics, of course. When you recruit that young, you analyze maturity, academics and quality of character in addition to basketball skill and physical attributes. You want to make sure, as much as you can, that young players have the necessary passion, drive and toughness. That they have high motors and a work ethic that will ensure they will maximize their abilities.

Davis apparently has that. He’s from the Denver area, so he will have to be convinced that moving to Indiana is in his best interests. Of course, like most high-level recruits, he likely has the dream to play professionally some day as well as play on a powerhouse college team. IU’s return to national prominence under Crean, plus the NBA success of former Crean players such as Dwyane Wade, indicates he can help make those dreams happen.

IU associate head coach Steve McClain attended the Colorado Hawks’ loss to the Eric Gordon squad on Sunday, which gave him a chance to evaluate Davis as well as Eron Gordon at the same time. The younger Gordon scored just eight points, but still wound up being the U15 MVP.

Neither Davis nor Gordon have accepted IU’s scholarship offers, by the way.



Would you like to become really, really rich? All you have to do is coach a college basketball team. In particular, coach Indiana’s basketball team.

How hard could it be?

Yes, we are being sarcastic. If you lived through the three-year post-Kelvin Sampson years, you know how hard it is to coach, and to win, with the Hoosiers.

Anyway, thanks to the Bloomington Herald-Times’ annual how-much-people-at-IU-make story, we know where Crean ranks in the salary pecking order.

It’s No. 1.

Crean already was making a ton of money when he was hired in the spring of 2008. He earned bonuses last season for IU’s 27-9, Sweet 16 effort. He got an extra $25,000 for making the NCAA tourney, $25,000 for winning the first game, $35,000 for winning the second and making the Sweet 16. His total was $2.34 million.

Football coach Kevin Wilson make $1.21 million. Not bad for a 1-11 coaching debut season.

In case you’re interested, IU president Michael A. McRobbie makes $631,120.


Part II of the three-part July evaluation period begins Wednesday at 5 p.m. and ends Sunday at 5 p.m. The Indianapolis area hosts another event with the Best of Midwest tourney in Fishers. While it will lack some of the national star power featured in the Adidas Invitational, the Best of the Midwest will still provide opportunities for players, coaches and fans.

If you prefer big-time events, there’s always the Nike EYBL Final at Peach Jam in north Augusta, S.C. and the AAU Super Showcase in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Don’t forget the Best Buy Summer Classic in Minnesota and the Under Armour Summer Jam in Milwaukee, plus events in Las Vegas, California, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and West Virginia.

Friday, July 13, 2012

U Football Gets Another Commit; Basketball Recruiting; Big Ten-Pac-12 Glitch

Okay, the football commitments aren’t rolling in at a machine gun pace, but coach Kevin Wilson is building some momentum as we approach the halfway point of July.

Illinois tight end Danny Friend has pledged to the Hoosiers. That gives them four commitments, two at tight end. The other is Evan Jansen from Cincinnati.

Friend figures to be more of a blocker,while Jansen is more of a receiver. This should provide some much needed offensive balance, while providing a boost at a position that historically thrives under Wilson.
He wasn’t shy about using the tight ends while at Oklahoma. Neither was offensive coordinator Seth Littrell when he was at Arizona.

The 6-5, 240-pound Friend is rated as the nation’s No. 30 tight end by Rivals.com, the No. 17 player overall in the state of Illinois. He had scholarship offers from Purdue, Oregon, Iowa State, Boston College, Central Michigan, Northern Illinois, and more. He also was drawing interest from Notre Dame, Michigan State and Northwestern.

In other words, Friend isn’t a stiff. He has the kind of potential the Hoosiers will need if they are to make a move in the Big Ten.

Friend is IU’s highest rated player in the Class of 2013 so far. The others are Jansen, receiver Isaac Griffith and defensive end Patrick Dougherty.


Is Trevon Bluiett playing his way into elite status?

It sure seems that way. The Park Tudor forward is going on a scoring frenzy during the Adidas Invitational. In one game the 6-5 Bluiett had 32 points for Spiece Blue. In another, he had 31.


When we last saw Jeff Rabjohns of peegs.com, he was stopping by the Adidas Invitational at Indianapolis North Central before driving to Washington D.C. for the Nike Global Challenge. He didn’t have to stop by. He had a 10-hour drive ahead of him. But he did because that’s his nature, because he doesn’t want to miss anything. Finally, he hit the road.

That road paid off when super recruit Beejay Anya told Rabjohns IU is one of his five finalists. Coach Tom Crean flew out to the Global Challenge to evaluate Anya and make sure the nation’s No. 32 player in the Class of 2013 understands how much Crean wants him to join the Cream ‘n Crimson.

Bet the house that when Anya finally makes a college decision, it goes the Hoosiers way.


Remember all the hoopla surrounding the announcement that the Big Ten and the Pac-12 would form a sports scheduling partnership that would involve football and a bunch of other sports?

Well, it’s dead. Apparently the Pac-12 got cold feet and squelched the whole thing. Why did it happen? Here are the comments from Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott via a release:

“After extensive deliberation and consultation with member institutions, television partners and others, the Pac-12 and Big Ten have decided not to pursue the previously announced plans for enhanced scheduling collaboration across all sports at this time. While we continue to value our close relationship, particularly our partnership in the Rose Bowl, the Pac-12 came to the conclusion that it’s in our best interests to maintain our nine-game conference schedule and maximum flexibility in out-of-conference scheduling. Thus, the Pac-12 decided not to lock into the proposed mandatory 12-game schedule in football.”

Here is Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany’s response via the same release:

“We are disappointed to announce today that the Big Ten Pac-12 strategic collaboration announced jointly in December 2011 unfortunately will not be consummated.  We recently learned from Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott that the complications associated with coordinating a non-conference football schedule for 24 teams across two conferences proved to be too difficult.  Those complications, among other things, included the Pac-12’s nine-game conference schedule and previous non-conference commitments.

“A great effort was made by both conference staffs to create football schedules that would address the variety of complexities, but in the end, we were just not able to do so.

“While everyone at the Big Ten is disappointed by the news, we look forward to continuing the historic partnership that we have with the Pac-12 and to working together on other matters in the future.”

Thursday, July 12, 2012

IU's Watford Does it Again: Coaches Get New Titles

Christian Watford did it again.

Specifically, his Kentucky beating three-pointer won the ESPY Award for best play of the year.
Watford and coach Tom Crean were in Los Angeles Wednesday night to receive the award, which was announced during the ESPN show at the Nokia Theater.

The ESPY’s are like the sports equivalent of the Academy Award.

Okay, they’re not THAT prestigious, but any time you can relive beating Kentucky, hyperbole is justified.
Watford hit the buzzer beating shot that beat the top-ranked and previously undefeated Wildcats 73-72. That play beat out 15 other contenders in bracket voting. The top four plays make the semifinals, again based on voting.

“I’d like to thank my family, my teammates, especially Cody Zeller and Verdell Jones, and thank you to the Hoosier Nation for voting,” Watford said in an acceptance speech.

Zeller set a screen to free up Jones, who drove and kicked to Watford for the winning shot.

The opportunity was enough for Crean to pass on the first day of the July recruiting evaluation period to attend with Watford in Los Angeles. His assistants were on the road, with associate head coach Steve McClain attending the Adidas Invitational in Indianapolis.

He’s back on the recruiting trail today.


The Indiana basketball titles might have changed, but the bottom-line roles have not: produce the nation’s best basketball program.

So even as Crean adjusted the titles of his staff members, the goals remain clear – win big, win the right way, do the university proud.

Still, the changes mean Tim Buckley and Steve McClain are now associate head coaches. Assistant Kenny Johnson is also recruiting coordinator. Calbert Cheaney gets director of internal and external player development in addition to his duties as director of basketball operations.

“The chemistry inside of your program starts with the chemistry of your staff, top to bottom,” Crean said in a university release. Everyone in our program continues to work in a diligent and energized pace to keep IU on a continual rise.”

Buckley is in his fifth year in the program. He was the Ball State head coach from 2000-2006. He also was an assistant coach at Iowa and Wisconsin, as well as an assistant coach under Crean at Marquette.

“It’s a great honor,” Buckley said.  “Our staff has been through a lot of things here over the past four years, so I think part of that comes from the success that we’ve had this past season and hopefully for the future, and it’s one that I’m very appreciative of.”

Added Crean: “Tim has been instrumental from day 1 at Indiana with dealing with every aspect of this program. He administers, teaches, coaches and recruit at an extremely high level.”

McClain has been a college coach for 29 years. He was the head coach at Wyoming from 1998-2007, and at Hutchinson Community College where he won a national title. He also was an assistant coach at TCU and Colorado.

“I think, as we all talk about the staff, I don’t think anyone worries about what their titles are,” McClain said. “ I think the one thing that makes this staff so strong is the fact that everybody works the same every day for the same goals every day. It’s a great compliment, yet it’s a compliment of our whole staff.”

Added Crean: “To have two head coaches on this staff, in Tim and Steve, has been instrumental in the program moving forward the last two years. He has exhibited a daily intensity, passion and skill level that has been felt by everyone associated by IU basketball.  Along with Tim and Jayd Grossman, there are very few things that happen in our program that they don’t have a hand in.”

Johnson is in his first year at IU. He was an assistant for a year at Towson University, and was a long time assistant in high school and in travel ball.

“Being with the guys on staff here, just having an opportunity to work with them as well as learn from them, has been a great benefit for me,” Johnson said. “It is a privilege to earn that title and have that label. Working in coordination with the guys, we all do a little bit of everything on staff.”

Added Crean: “In a short period of time at IU, Kenny has made his presence felt on the coaching floor, in our offices and in recruiting. His work ethic, energy level, and attention to detail are at a very high level and I think in due time he will be an outstanding head coach. He now will have the ability to organize, shape and coordinate our recruiting efforts.

Cheaney returned to his alma mater last summer after spending 13 years as a player in the NBA and one season as an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors.

“This has been an outstanding experience for me and I enjoy working with this group of players and coaches,” Cheaney said.  “I think you always want new challenges in whatever you do and this new role with provide that opportunity for me.”

Added Crean: “We knew Calbert would have an immediate impact on our program but he ha surpassed our expectations with what he has brought to the program. He has a knowledge base and life skill teaching ability and the understanding of what it means to be an IU student-athlete. We want to shine a bright light with not only what they do on the floor, but with how they develop as young men and leaders.  Calbert is a living example of what success looks like.”

Friday, July 6, 2012

Basketball Recruiting Action Returns to Indy; IU Basketball Update; Magic Mike

Good news for those who treat summer basketball recruiting with the same enthusiasm women awaited the debut of the men-in-skimpy-attire movie, “Magic Mike.”

Basketball recruiting is back in a revamped July evaluation format. The first of three periods this month begins on Wednesday at a bunch of sites, including Indianapolis’s Adidas Invitational that will showcase some of the nation’s top prep talent at nine different locations, including North Central and Park Tudor high schools, plus the Fisher’s Fieldhouse.

IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: We interviewed several women who saw “Magic Mike,” which is basically about male strippers and based on the early life of actor Channing Tatum, who apparently looks good in a thong, although we'll have to take others' word on that. The women said, and we are not making this up, that the movie was, “stupid and silly and full of bad acting.” Like acting was a reason to see it! That would be like watching a porn movie and griping about the music.

By the way, what was up with the sound track for “Debbie Does Dallas?”

Anyway, basketball recruiting drama has surfaced even before the action starts. Consider the NCAA’s move to ban four travel teams and their administrators from participating in NCAA certified events because of prohibited ties to well-known agent Andy Miller. NCAA rules prevent any association with agents. Miller, the founder of ASM Sports Agency, has been involved with 15 NBA first-round picks since 1995.

The ban, which involves administrators Desmond Eastman of World Wide Renegades, TJ Gasnola of New England Playaz, and Matt Ramker of Florida Rams, plus coach Tony Edwards of the SEBL All-Stars, means those teams have to reform under new direction, and reform fast, or their players are out of luck, unless they can quickly join other teams.

The NCAA went to work after reportedly getting access to an email from Miller telling Eastman, Gasnola, Ramker and Edwards to more effectively recruit top draft picks to ASM Sports. Let’s just say that’s a big no-no. Stopping such activies is a priority for the NCAA, which has recently changed its approach to target major recruiting violations rather than minor ones such as phone calls and texts.

That won’t affect the quality of the Adidas Invitational. State of Indiana teams include the Eric Gordon All-Stars, a bunch of Indiana Elite squads, Indiana Fire, Indiana Ice, a bunch of Spiece Indy teams, and more.

Action begins Wednesday at 5 p.m. and concludes Sunday afternoon.


Eric Gordon is already rich, and he’s set to become richer as a restricted NBA free agent. The former Indiana All-American guard has a four-year, $58 million offer from Phoenix. His current team, the New Orleans Hornets can keep him by matching that offer, although reports suggest Gordon would prefer the Hornets let him go.

Gordon only played nine games last season for New Orleans because of surgery on his right knee. Still, he averaged a team-leading 20.6 points. That’s no surprise. He could always score.

Gordon is one of 15 finalists for the Team USA 12-player roster. Yes, that’s the Olympic team. That group will be finalized on Saturday. Workouts are going on now in Las Vegas.

Speculation is that it will come down to Gordon and Oklahoma City guard James Harden. Yes, that’s the guy with the most impressive beard in all of sports.


Of course you know Indiana is a preseason basketball No. 1 pick with a high-powered attack (great 3-point shooting and overall shooting) that should run most opponents into the ground. But in the end, the deciding factor in whether the Hoosiers win a national title almost certainly will come down to defense.

Last season IU ranked No. 64 in the nation in points allowed per possession. Opponents shot nearly 43 percent against the Hoosiers. That’s not nearly good enough, a message Crean has hammered to his players this off-season.

As Crean told Louisville’s Rick Bozich, one of the nation’s top sports writers, who is now at Louisville’s WDRB.com (a HUGE loss for his former employer, the Louisville Courier-Journal), the Hoosiers have to create more shots from steals, deflections, offensive rebounds and, in general, more offensive possessions.
Crean is trying to gain extra insight by watching videos from Louisville’s 1980 and ’86 national title teams that thrived on switching defense thanks to versatile depth. Crean has recruited long, long-armed and versatile players who can play multiple positions and thrive at multiple approaches.

He’s trying to maximize the advantage of the new NCAA rule that allows coaches to work with their players for two hours a week in the off-season.

It helps to have Cody Zeller, who will be a strong contender for national player of the year honors. He will try to duplicate what Kentucky’s Anthony Davis did this past season: be national player of the year, be on a national-title winning team, be the No. 1 player in the NBA draft.

If Zeller does those first two things, he almost certainly will skip his final two seasons to enter the draft. Even if he doesn’t, he more than likely will enter the draft. The only way that he likely stays is if there’s an injury, he has a lousy season (VERY unlikely) or IU has such a disappointing finish that he doesn’t want to end his college career that way.

Yes, we know. That’s wishful thinking.

Oh. For the record, we never saw “Debbie Does Dallas.”

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Rating The State of the State of Indiana's Basketball Talent

Is the state of Indiana’s high school basketball talent finally slipping?

It depends on your perspective.

The Class of 2013 only has five Indiana players listed in Rivals.com’s updated top 150 rankings.

The highest rated is Fort Wayne Northrop’s Bryson Scott, who is at No. 60 and committed to Purdue. Hamilton Southeastern’s Zak Irvin is next at No. 68. He’s heading to Michigan.

Mishawaka’s Demetrius Jackson is at No. 70 and is uncommitted. New Haven’s V.J. Beachem is at No. 87. He’s going to Notre Dame. Finally, Indianapolis Warren Central’s Devin Davis is at No. 99. He’s committed to Indiana.

That’s a big drop considering the Class of 2012 had nine Indiana players in the top 96, with the best being No. 11 Glenn Robinson. IU’s Yogi Ferrell was No. 19.

The Class of 2011 had four players in the top 55, including No. 5 Marquis Teague and No. 15 Cody Zeller.

That's a lot of basketball firepower for a state with a relatively small population base.

Talent follows cycles and not every year produces superstars. The state of Indiana remains high on college coaches’ recruiting lists because it produces players who are talented and basketball savy. That’s a credit to the quality of the high school and AAU coaching, as well as the commitment of the players.

The talent has been strong for at least the last decade, and shows no signs of slowing down. Consider Eron Gordon, who is about to be a freshman at Indianapolis North Central. He’s the brother of former Hoosier standout and current NBA player Eric Gordon. He will rate among the nation’s best in the Class of 2016.

Yes, the state’s Class of 2013 might not be loaded with future pros, but you can bet it will produce plenty of major college contributors.

In case you’re wondering, the No. 1 player in the class is Chicago forward Jabari Parker, who previously made Sports Illustrated cover. Moving up fast behind him are Texas forward Julius Randle and Texas guard Andrew Harrison.


Students love the basketball Hoosiers, and they’re willing to pay for it.

Yes, that’s important, especially in these economically challenged times.

Students are so pumped about next season (IU is the preseason No. 1 team) that they’ve already bought up 9,400 season tickets. That’s a problem because Indiana only has slotted 7,800 for students at 17,000-plus Assembly Hall.

IU has always recognized the importance of students at games, which is why it historically has the nation’s largest student section. Hoosier students don’t all sit together near the court, as they do at, say, Michigan State’s Breslin Center, but they make an impact.

See IU over Kentucky last December as Exhibit A through Z.

By comparison, Purdue has 5,152 student season tickets. North Carolina has 6,000. Kentucky has 4,500. Michigan State has 3,100 in its Izzone. Duke, known for its Cameron Crazies, has just 1,200.

“Following the team’s incredible performance this past season (a Sweet 16 showing), I am thrilled to see student ticket demand returning to the same levels I experienced when I was a student at IU,” athletic director Fred Glass said in a university release.

“There is not a more exciting place to watch college basketball than Assembly Hall, and it is IU students that create our home court environment that is unmatched anywhere in the country.

“Indiana basketball is an important part of the IU college experience, and we want as many students as possible to have a chance to experience it live in Assembly Hall.”

Three and a half years ago, Indiana sold 4,800 student season tickets of its 7,800 allotment. That was for the 6-25 mess that was Crean’s debut in the wake of Kelvin Sampson’s scandal-ridden two-year run.

IU officials expect to break the 10,000 student season ticket barrier soon. They’ve set a ceiling of 12,400 and will ration the games so each student will see at least 10 of the 16 home games played while school is going on.

Some students, of course, will be ticked that they’ll miss the North Carolina home game as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, or some other big home game against Purdue or Ohio State or Michigan State.

That’s a nice problem to have. One of Crean’s goals when he took the job in the spring of 2008 was to make an IU home game ticket one of college sports hottest items.

Looks like he’s succeeded.

“Our student fan base is the best in the country,” Crean said in the release. “Our fans and former players are a big reason why the program is where it is today.”


Distance stud Andy Bayer had a heck of a last month. He won a Big Ten championship, a NCAA title and finished fourth in the Olympic Trials, all in the 1,500 meters. Along the way (11 total races in that span) he ran the second-fastest 1,500 in school history (3:37.24), tying three-time Olympian Jim Spivey.

The Trials were a disappointment only in the fact the top three 1,500 finishers advanced to the London Olympics. So Bayer will have to wait four years to try again.

But that’s for the future. Coming up this weekend for Bayer is the NACAC U-23 Championships in Guanajuato, Mexico. And he has one more year of college eligibility.

Now, he could skip that year and turn pro, but he told the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel he won’t do that.

In the Trials, Bayer finished behind Leonel Manzano, Matthew Centrowitz and Andrew Wheating. In all, Bayer finished ahead of eight of the 11 professional runners in the 12-man field.

Technically, Bayer is the Olympic alternate if something happens to one of the top three. But first he has to make the Olympic qualifying time of 3:35.50.


If you want to understand how far IU has come in compliance in the last couple of years, consider the resume of senior associate athletic director Julie Cromer. She oversees compliance and makes sure Indiana complies with all NCAA, Big Ten and school rules, regulations, policies and procedures. She also serves as the department’s liaison for the Big Ten and NCAA, and oversees the department’s gender equity plan.

She’s done all that, and more, for the last three years, and she’s done it well enough to recive the National Association for Athletics Compliance’s Frank Kara Leadership Award. It’s the NAAC’s premier award and recognizes Cromer’s leadership and vision in compliance.

Yes, athletic director Fred Glass has noticed.

“Julie Cromer is a tremendous leader who is widely acknowledged to be one of the foremost experts on compliance issues in the country,” Glass said in a university release. “We are thrilled that the National Association for Athletics Compliance gave her this prestigious honor.”

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Could IU Basketball's Class of 2013 Beat 2012?

IU’s Class of 2013 is looking better and better, and the July basketball evaluation period hasn’t yet started.

Could it catch the Class of 2012 for most heralded in the coach Tom Crean era?

Not likely, but if Crean lands another superstar (and he’s taking his best shot), you never know.

Three of Crean’s committed players have moved up in the latest rankings courtesy of Rivals.com, a national Internet recruiting service.

Guard Stanford Robinson went from No. 88 to No. 61 after a strong spring and early summer that included a solid effort in the National Basketball Players Association Top 100 camp.

Warren Central forward Devin Davis went from No. 107 to No. 99. Wisconsin center Luke Fischer went from 134 to 124.

The last committed member of the class, Indianapolis Cathedral forward Collin Hartman, dropped out of the rankings. Is that a problem? Not necessarily. Hartman dealt with a few injuries, in particular a concussion, that limited him at times and hurt his rankings. He can make that up with lots of improvement, which starts with a strong work ethic and passion.

As we mentioned, Crean is not done with this class. He’s looking to get one more inside player. A big reason -– this will almost certainly be Cody Zeller’s last college season. He gave up a lottery pick NBA selection once. Barring injury, he won’t do it again, especially since he’s in position to graduate in less than three years.

Check that. He’s absolutely gone if IU wins the national title this coming season. If the Hoosiers don’t, if they lose in some heartbreaking fashion involving a conspiracy and John Calipari, MAYBE Zeller comes back for a third season.


Hey, that’s as optimistic as we can be.

In the meantime, Crean continues recruiting. He never stops. Ever. He has a list of big men for the Class of 2013. Here’s where the others ranked:

Forward Kuran Iverson (25), center Beejay Anya (32), center Marcus Lee (33), forward Semi Ojeleye (36), forward Kris Jenkins (63) and center Kennedy Meeks (67).

No matter what, this will be a strong followup group to the Class of 2012. You have to have that to stay in the national title contention picture. Recruiting can’t ever slip.

But then, you know that.


For those of you wondering if Indiana would ever get a second football commitment for the Class of 2013, good news. The Hoosiers got tight end Evan Jansen from Cincinnati Moeller. He is 6-5 and 240 pounds, impressive size for someone not yet in his senior season. And the weight and strength will improve once he gets to Bloomington.

There is a problem -- Jansen only caught three passes for 43 yards as a junior.

Here’s how a cynic would respond:

CYNIC: Three catches. Three BLEEPING catches! Are you serious? That’s only three more than a dead man. Can you imagine Ohio State offering a guy with three catches? I’m so ticked I’m going to become a New England Patriots fan!

HOOSIER HOOPLA: Here’s the big picture. Jansen played sparingly behind senior John Tanner, who has signed with Ohio University. Moeller, by the way, is a traditional football power known for developing outstanding players. Moeller’s main receiving target last year was receiver Monty Madaris, who had 45 catches for 995 yards and 13 touchdowns. He’s good enough to sign with Michigan State.

Also, Jansen was much better than those numbers at off-season camps and combines, which is why he has received scholarship offers from Western Kentucky, Harvard, Air Force, Akron, Buffalo and Bowling Green. Jansen impressed college coaches, who use those camps as a major recruiting tool to learn about a recruit’s heart, attitude and work ethic. Jansen also played basketball, and has good speed and athleticism for a guy this size.

Wilson, who has a limited number of scholarships to work with for 2013, is being picky. He’s not wasting offers. He wants guys who can help build the program and who want to put forth the effort necessary to do so. Jansen apparently showed him that.

CYNIC: How picky can Wilson be when he’s beating out Harvard? Are you kidding me? Harvard? The last time they were good, Teddy Roosevelt was president and Enrico Caruso was the musical heartthrob. Besides, I thought Harvard dropped football for contests to build the first manned spaceship to Mars.

HH: You're being awfully harsh.

CYNIC: Hey, I'm toning it down. You should catch me on a bad day. Anyway, didn’t Jansen also visit Boston College and Duke, and neither offered a scholarship? What does that tell you? What’s going on?

HH: Wilson is coming off a 1-11 debut season. That’s not exactly a recruiting friendly record. He has to show recruits his system works. It takes time. Athletic director Fred Glass understands that, which is why he signed Wilson to a seven-year deal instead of five.

Last year not enough guys bought into Wilson's approach, in part, as he admitted, because he and his staff didn’t do a good enough job of building relationships with them. He seems to have corrected that. These Hoosiers seem better suited, mentally and physically, to play his style.

CYNIC: Take off your Cream ‘n Crimson glasses so you can see the truth. Until they start getting difference-making guys, they have no chance.

HH: The truth is, you need to have faith.

CYNIC: Here’s my faith. I just bought a Bill Belichick bobble head doll.