Posted on: November 5, 2009 2:52 pm
Here's Thursday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: What grade would you give Tom Crean at this point on the rebuilding process at Indiana? Also, how would you grade Hoosier fans' support and patience up to this point?
I'm not really into grades, so I'll stay away from that unless you'll let me offer an 'I' for Incomplete. But if your question is whether I believe Crean will get it turned around at Indiana, the answer is yes, absolutely. He's just too smart and too focused to be unsuccessful at a place like IU.
Speaking of, I spent some time with Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor a few weeks ago, and we got to talking about Crean. Remember, Taylor signed with Crean at Marquette, then got a release when Crean went to Indiana and later enrolled at Kansas. So that's the connection. Anyway, we were talking about Crean, and Taylor said nothing but great things. He wasn't mad that he was put into a bad spot by Crean's departure, wasn't negative at all. He just talked about how much he liked Crean, and basically said there's no doubt he'll get it going at Indiana, in time.
And that's what I believe, too.
But it's going to take three years, at least.
Posted on: August 14, 2009 12:50 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2009 12:51 pm
LOS ANGELES -- Tom Crean was among the scheduled speakers for today's Collegiate Business Conference .
But he apparently will not be here.
"From the Department of better me than any of our players. ... I am having knee surgery today," Crean announced via Twitter early Thursday morning. "... A MRI I had on Tuesday revealed a torn meniscus in my right knee."
Later, Crean updated from the hospital.
"I feel like I am wearing my 4 year old daughters socks," he Tweeted, "And if I never have to wear a hospital gown again it will be okay ."
Posted on: February 5, 2009 12:56 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2009 12:58 pm
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- How big was Indiana's win over Iowa on Wednesday night?
This big: When I called to check in with Tom Crean this morning, I got a message that said, "The mailbox belonging to xxx-xxx-xxxx is full." So it's clear Crean was overwhelmed by well-wishers following the Hoosiers' 68-60 victory, their first in the Big Ten. And if you didn't see it, it really was a nice scene, complete with Crean grabbing the courtside microphone afterward to thank the fans for sticking with this program that was decimated by the NCAA violations committed under former coach Kelvin Sampson.
"This is your win,'' Crean said. "There is no way we could do it without the best fans in America, the Hoosier Nation.''
Next up for IU: at Michigan State on Saturday.
Posted on: October 30, 2008 12:04 pm
Here's Thursday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: Everyone always talks about teams whose coach is on the hot seat, but we tend to hear less about teams who have hired new coaches. So looking around the NCAA, which new coaches were the best hires and have the potential to have the most success?
I think the best hire was the biggest, i.e., Indiana's luring of Tom Crean from Marquette.
Of course, he has almost no chance of having success this season (given the makeup of the IU roster), which might eliminate him from your question. But in the long run I don't think there's any doubt that Crean will return the Hoosiers to a place where competing for Big Ten championships and Final Fours can be expected, and for that reason his hiring should be viewed in a positive light.
Five other hires I believe will be proven good in time are:
1. John Groce to Ohio
2. Bill Bayno to Loyola Marymount
3. Derek Kellogg to UMass
4. Craig Robinson to Oregon State
5. Mike Montgomery to California
As for coaches set-up to win immediately, that's obviously Buzz Williams at Marquette and Trent Johnson at LSU. Both inherited nice rosters from their predecessors and should make the NCAA tournament in their first seasons on the job considering LSU is the smart pick to win the SEC West and Marquette is a consensus preseason top 20 team.
Posted on: October 6, 2008 3:06 am
Edited on: October 6, 2008 3:15 am
Here's Monday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: I love you -- in a completely heterosexual, male-appreciation sort of way, that is. I've been reading your articles since last year around the middle of the season, and I've cracked up every time. You're filled with supposedly common sense, which I love, and you present it in a humorous way. Great job! What do you think of Indiana's chances this year in men's basketball?
Finally, somebody who gets me.
And loves me.
I swear, sometimes the list seems short (and mostly excludes those who have to deal with me on a daily basis). Whch is why it's nice to hear somebody loves me as much as I love me, and if I ever need a roommate I'm going to call you, Josh. So keep your phone on. And thanks again for the kind words.
As for Indiana's chances this season, well, there's no reason to be optimistic.
I mean, the last time I checked Tom Crean didn't have any players.
But he's recruiting his ass off and laying the foundation for something special. So I'm confident he'll get where Indiana fans want him to get in proper time. That said, I think it would be naive to expect much this season because, again, Crean wasn't left with much to work with, and that's the thing you should never forget about basketball, that it's just incredibily difficult to win without players.
Posted on: September 22, 2008 3:54 pm
Most of my conversation with Dan Dakich for Monday's column revolved around what he's up to these days. But naturally, we spent a little time talking about Indiana basketball, and Dakich made it clear that the IU program he took over on an interim basis after Kelvin Sampson resigned was not the same program he experienced as a player and assistant for Bob Knight.
"Let me put it this way," Dakich said. "Sometimes being with Coach Knight you think 'Well, maybe our culture is wrong. Maybe we work too hard and demand too much.' But after seeing what I saw last year, you better have the right culture or else the thing can really blow up on you. And when you talk about everybody gone from the athletic director to the graduate managers, that thing blew up."
It's common knowledge that the players at IU last season weren't model student-athletes, evidence being how Dakich and his successor, Tom Crean, combined to dismiss pretty much everybody who didn't leave on their on accord. Out of respect for the individuals, Dakich declined to get specific. But he did acknowledge the group of players didn't "fit the Indiana basketball culture."
"I feel bad that D.J. White never got to experience Indiana basketball the way it's supposed to be," Dakich said. "And I'm really sad for the players that ended up getting kicked out of here because they will realize at some point in their lives what a colossal mistake they made by not taking advantage of Indiana."
Posted on: September 11, 2008 9:00 am
Here's Thursday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: I understand that when you only return one scholarship player you have a lot of places to stick anyone who wants to play for your program. The puzzling thing about Indiana's success in recruiting is that I guess the (prospects) do not expect any major (or even minor) consequences from all of Kelvin Sampson's handy work. Is IU getting away with a slap on the wrist, or were the violations just not that serious?
The violations were serious, yes.
But I wouldn't expect much more in the way of serious/program-altering penalties.
I mean, think about it. The coach who committed the NCAA violations (Kelvin Sampson) is gone and the athletic director who hired the coach (Rick Greenspan) has already announced his resignation. Meanwhile, pretty much the entire roster Sampson assembled is also gone, meaning any serious additional punishments levied against IU would only hurt an athletic director, coach and team that had nothing to do with anything that went down.
For that reason, I think the NCAA will show sympathy to some degree.
My prediction: There won't be any penalties that will seriously affect the class Tom Crean is currently compiling because these players won't enroll until the 2009-10 school year. In other words, even something as damaging as a one-year NCAA tournament ban would be over before Christian Watford, Maurice Creek and the rest of the Class of 2009 commitments are on campus, which is why I think they're correct to assume the worst will be behind IU by the time it matters to them.
Posted on: September 9, 2008 7:20 pm
Edited on: September 9, 2008 7:30 pm
Tom Crean's rebuilding job took another significant step Tuesday.
The new Indiana coach gained a commitment from Christian Watford.
"They said I was their biggest priority," Watford told CBSSports.com by phone. "They stayed behind me the whole way."
Ranked by Scout.com as the Class of 2009's 72nd-best prospect, Watford is the fourth Top 100 player to commit to Indiana since Crean was hired in March, joining Maurice Creek (ranked 45th), Jordan Hulls (ranked 80th) and Derek Elston (ranked 90th). It's the type of recruiting class that suggests Crean could have IU basketball back competing for Big Ten titles inside of three years, which would be a stunning accomplishment given how he inherited a program in shambles thanks to the violation-plagued Kelvin Sampson era that preceded him.
Watford is a 6-foot-7 wing from Alabama.
He chose the Hoosiers over Louisville, Memphis and Kentucky.