iu basketball

April 5, 2008

on wednesday, indiana university hired tom crean as their new head basketball coach. listening to the press conference (you can find it here, here, or here) was my first opportunity to be proud of my team in a long time. this year has been so disappointing that, i half expected the university to screw up this hire, bring in someone who isn’t good enough, and i would be left to loathe college basketball for several years. instead my hoosiers made the perfect hire, who said all the right things, and verified my belief that as bad as the last couple of years have been, iu is still a preeminent program. in fact, he made me want to go out, but a pair of their candy striped warm up pants and a crean and crimson t-shirt and wear them everywhere i go.

here is how i know coach crean is going to be successful at iu.

1) he recruits the right kids to fit his style of play. he doesn’t go out at recruit nothing buy mcdonalds all-americans and then worry how he’s going to find enough shots for all of them. he recruits good players that fit into his system, not the other way around.

2) his marquette teams are athletic enough that they try to run up the floor and get quick transition baskets. if the defense doesn’t bend, then his team is totally comfortable transitioning into a motion offense. (for those of you who have only seen the hoosiers of the last eight years, this is when the players are constantly moving and setting screens until someone gets an open shot).

3) his teams play smothering defense. the constantly follow the ball. there aren’t quite wisconsin, but they are impressive to watch.

4) even when his teams lose, there isn’t a question of whether or not they put a maximum amount of effort into the game. they did, they just got beat. again, it’s been a couple of years since i’ve been able to say definitively that the hoosiers gave it their best and just got beat.

5) coach crean is a tough coach. his players love him and respect him because he will get in your face if he needs to. he’s not as mean as coach knight, and not as nice as coach davis, but a happy medium. as much as you will never question a game’s outcome because of his players effort, we will also never question a game’s outcome based on the coaching.

6) he knows how to work the media. none of the coaches in my lifetime have been able to say that. knight despised the media, davis was always confused and defensive, sampson was mute, and dakich’s short time was spent making jokes because that is what the teams play had become.

7) read this and remember it because this point is the most important over the short-term for the program. coach crean will unite hoosier nation which has been divided since 2000 when coach knight was fired. in his press conference he held an obvious (hopefully you saw it) hand out the bridge the divide by saying that one of his most memorable events as a child was meeting kent benson. benson might not be the most important person in hoosier nation, but he IS the most outspoken. making an effort immediately to bridge the gap is as good as winning 30 games the first year. having a unified fan base, boosters, and alumni will go a long way towards making sure that the program has support (emotional and monetary) and make sure that the school and community puts it’s best foot forward for recruits.


One comment

  1. I am a die hard OSU fan, but I think IU made a great hire and we now have another top notch coach in the conference.

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