Draft Slots for Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller Bring Good and Bad News for Hoosiers

by Kent Sterling

Victor Oladip[o and his pair of Google Glasses were drafted #2 overall, and IU fans want answers to why two top four picks couldn't move beyond the Sweet Sixteen.

Victor Oladip[o and his pair of Google Glasses were drafted #2 overall, and IU fans want answers to why two top four picks couldn’t move beyond the Sweet Sixteen.

The emails started as soon as Cody Zeller was announced as the fourth overall pick in last night’s NBA Draft.  “How in the hell did the team with the second and fourth best players in college basketball not advance beyond the Sweet Sixteen?”  “Crean had 2 and 4 and same outcome as last year?  Crean has some splainin to do.”  And, “The AD should have asked for Crean’s resignation as soon as Zeller was drafted.”

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Not mentioned in those angry emails was that Victor Oladipo came to Indiana as the 144th ranked player in the 2010 high school class, and developed into a guy who could very easily have been drafted first.

Zeller went fourth after spending two years with Crean in Bloomington.  The second year saw Indiana win their first regular season Big Ten title in 20 years before a disappointing finish to the season with early exits in both the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments.

Indiana University basketball coach Tom Crean and his staff are responsible for a good portion of that development, and the Big Ten title.

Will Sheehey and Yogi Ferrell are both among 16 finalists for the 12-man World University game team, which is also a double-edged sword for Crean depending upon fan’s perspectives.

With two top four draftees and two of the best 16 returnees, crediting Crean with rebuilding the talent pool at Indiana is obvious, but so is assigning some blame for a team that appeared to peak a few weeks prior to March.

The question for Indiana fans who continue to hammer away at the fact that validation of Crean’s reign in Bloomington can only come by hanging a National Championship banner, is what is truly important at IU.  Is it banners, titles, graduation rate, a clean record with the NCAA, or all of the above?

The lack of an NCAA banner is an obvious void, but winning championships is not only hard, it requires good fortune.  The Hoosiers won the Big Ten regular season title, and that far outweighs any glory that would come in the Big Ten Tourney.  For most Indiana fans, the Big Ten Tournament is a sideshow – a money grab by the conference – that is a distraction on the road to the NCAAs.

The graduation rate under Crean is stellar and the NCAA APR has been a perfect 1,000 the last three  years.  Crean’s team APRs (they run a year behind, so we won’t know 2012-2013 scores for another year) have been 975, 1,000, 1,000, and 1,000.  The only blip on the NCAA infractions radar we are aware of was the visit to Hamilton Southeastern High School to see recruit Gary Harris one day after the window for visits closed.  It was minor, and appeared to be unintentional.

Minus the NCAA flame outs (one of which was against the eventual champion Kentucky Wildcats), the results Crean has crafted for the program Kelvin Sampson nearly destroyed with the recruitment of players with serious character issues and arrogant indifference to NCAA rules haven’t brought that elusive sixth banner, but they have returned Indiana to a place of prominence and respect in college basketball.

What high school recruits learned during last night’s draft is that the structure is in place in Bloomington for basketball players to reach their potential and shoot for their dreams, while also achieving academically.  The number of schools where that combination is possible makes for a very short list.  Those who didn’t learn it will definitely be educated by Crean and his staff through the three evaluation periods in July.

For some, that won’t be enough, but it should be.

10 thoughts on “Draft Slots for Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller Bring Good and Bad News for Hoosiers

  1. Jeff Gregory

    I think the jury is still out on Crean. His coaching career at IU is still too small of a sample size. He has beaten multiple #1 teams already and has won the Big 10 outright (the best conference in the country last year).

    Unpredictable things happen in the tournament. Knight won three championships at IU, but some would say that the team that had Cheaney, the Grahams, Reynolds, should have won, but didn’t.

    I am not sold on Crean. I am not a fan of his offensive system at all. However, I am still reserving judgment. When Crean gets a larger sample size, he will be easier evaluated.

          1. kentsterling Post author

            I think the concern about offense comes from two directions. First, Indiana fans who were around during the Knight years have enjoyed watching motion, and the ball screens that Crean employs are hard on the eyes of those used to watching motion.

            The second is that the last time Indiana fans watched Crean’s offense, they couldn’t solve the Syracuse 2-3.

  2. Pauly Balst

    Exactly, the tournamant is unpredictable. I mean, who could have seen Jim Boeheims 2-3 zone coming, and prepared accordingly? Boeheim originally installed it at Syracuse in 1929 in response to the Vollstead Act during Prohibition to keep that prick Jimmy Naismith out of his hooch.

    I think Michigans success reaching the final game with 3 starters from Indiana, and each within an 1:15 drive of Purdue, says a lot about Matt Painter, yet he seems to get a pass.

    One could argue Crean is true to his larger body of work, from his Marquette teams, really good, maybe great, not quite champions.

    I like Crean, he’s done well for the kids and IU, but like you, I’m just not quite ready to take a bullet for him.

    1. Jeff Gregory

      No doubt that IU could have been more prepared for Syracuse. It is a little difficult to duplicate those Syracuse guards in practice, but the point is taken. It wasn’t the zone as much as the personnel that was the problem.

      Either way, it was one poor game in the backdrop of a B10 Championship and all the other accolades already mentioned. Crean has earned himself some time. That time will either convict of vindicate him.

  3. Pauly Balst

    On behalf of a lot of college basketball fans of all ages, THANK YOU Victor and Cody for your dedication, hard work and most importantly, the standards you’ve upheld as student athletes responsibly representing Indiana University. The example you’ve set for youth cannot be overstated.

    Good guys are finishing first, and here is proof. I wouldn’t have wanted anyone from anywhere at IU more than you two.

    Enjoy the fruits of your effort, you’ve earned it.

  4. BS

    Calipari missed out on titles far more frequently (and with more talent) than Crean and this past season’s Hoosiers squad.

    For example, he even had an early elite-8 exit back in 2010 with far more talent leading the way, including: John Wall (1st pick), DeMarcus Cousins (5th), Eric Bledsoe (18th), Patrick Patterson (14th), Daniel Orton (28th) and DeAndre Liggins (53rd).

    The NCAA Tournament is the most unpredictable of all championships due to its one and done nature.

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