by Kent Sterling
Indiana basketball coach Tom Crean says all the right things during his post game media availability. After the win against Michigan yesterday, Crean spread the credit far and wide, and of course he’s right.
Basketball is a team game, and every one of the players and members of the staff contribute to every victory and defeat. The walk-ons who comprise the scout team work their hard to help the starters get ready for every game.
The interview with Crean that is written below is what I would like to hear from him, not what I believe he should actually say, or would represent the truth.
KS: Great win yesterday.
TC: Yeah, Yogi went off.
KS: What did you do defensively that baffled Beilein?
TC: Defense? Sure, we held Stauskas to six points, but Yogi was throwing them in from Briscoe. He misses a couple, and you’re asking me what was wrong with our defense, and why we can’t score.
KS: What did you think about the students booing your substitutions in the first half that left Jeff Howard, Jonny Marlin, Austin Etherington, Hanner Perea, and Stan Robinson on the floor to play the last undefeated team in the Big Ten?
TC: They’re so easily played. The student section is my Stradivarius, and I am its master The key to filling Assembly Hall is building each game narrative to take them up and down a few times before the final payoff. Unpredictability is the key to the torment that engages the kids best. I can’t tell you how many times I put a player in just to get a rise out of the students.
KS: So you’re screwing with them.
TC: Those are your words. I would say, we are engaging them.
KS: Are you frustrated with the team’s inability to win the games they are supposed to while winning the games they shouldn’t?
TC: What do you think, sport? (laughs) No, again, this is all rigorously scripted. We are executing a tightly honed plan to build interest by defying expectations.
KS: The first part of your schedule had more cupcakes than a second grader’s birthday party. Why?
TC: Your metaphors wear my ass out, but to answer your idiotic question, would you rather have a team of freshmen and sophomores you coach win or lose as they learn? Seriously, are you an infant?
KS: What’s that brown goop you swig during games?
TC: Homemade chilled beef broth.
Crean is an interesting guy because we know very little about him. He’s a bulldog of a recruiter, and has a staff very adept at turning the skinny into well-muscled athletes.
Indiana is in the midst of one of the most bizarre seasons in its history, and Crean remains a tightly-wired enigma to fans. I would like to see him become more sarcastic and engaging, but in the absence of his unlikely decision to entertain me rather than focus all energy into coaching his team, I’ll write fake interviews that provide the answers I seek to questions few have the stones to ask.