by Kent Sterling
If Tom Crean ultimately fails to bring Indiana the banner Hoosier fans have craved to see raised to the rafters of Assembly Hall for 27 years, his recruiting budget will not work as an excuse.
According to Mark Alesia’s piece that was published yesterday in the Indianapolis Star, Crean spent $673,708 dollars on recruiting during 2013-2014. The next highest outlay was Illinois’ $431,327 – some $242K less.
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Bringing up the rear of the 12 programs reporting figures (Northwestern is a private school and not required to make public such data, and Pennsylvania law does not mandate Penn State share it either) is Wisconsin, participants in the last two Final Fours, who managed to assemble a quality roster while spending a piddly $62,082.
It seems counterintuitive for a program nestled in the midst of one of the most fertile basketball recruiting areas in the world to need to spend exorbitantly on airfare to go get 13 kids to play at Indiana, but under Crean they do.
This is yet another of many conundrums regarding Crean. If Crean spent $62K like Ryan, fans and media would carp about him not working hard enough to find the best. Because he spent so lavishly, critics will hammer Crean for wasting cash to acquire players who have put together a combined 16-22 record over the past two Big Ten seasons.
Choosing to leave Indiana to crisscross the country in search of basketball players is like flying from France to Ohio in search of great wine. You might find some good ones, but they are likely no better than what is produced in the winery 400 yards from your house.
Whether or not the money is well spent is entirely determined by whether Indiana wins or loses, and over the past two seasons the results have not been good.
A relevant question about Crean’s ability to recruit Indiana at a high level can and should be asked. Has Crean been forced to recruit elsewhere because coaches and players in Indiana have been worn raw by what they refer to off the record as his brash tactics and arrogance?
There was a time when Crean was able to recruit Indiana, but he took chances on the wrong kids because of measurables – the class of 2012, minus Yogi Ferrell comes to mind. That time appears to have passed with Southport’s Joey Brunk committing to Butler, and Ryan Cline, Basil Smotherman, and Grant Weatherford at Purdue right now preparing for their freshman season. Indiana did win the battle for James Blackmon, Jr.
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In a vacuum, cracking open athletic director Fred Glass’s wallet to the tune of close to a quarter million dollars more than Indiana’s closest conference rival could be seen as a good thing – evidence of hustle as Crean beats the bushes to find the best and brightest. Given the lack of recent positive results, Indiana fans look at this as yet another piece to a narrative that continues to evolve into a reason to ask whether Indiana Basketball has been driven into relentless mediocrity from which there is no escape – at least under current management.
Whatever Crean has spent, and whatever results his leadership has produced over the past two years, this coming season will determine his fate. Expectations are high for the Hoosiers, and if Crean’s eighth team cannot find it’s way into the top four of the Big Ten and a spot in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tourney, the doubters will have been proven right.
You have to love the $13,000 spent on magazines that was my favorite part of Mark’s article. This team is not going to be that good and what the hell is up with all these stupid summer drills, is it any wonder the kids revolt and start partying. When I went to Bloomington I lived across the hall from Greg Graham, Todd Leary and down the hall from Calbert Cheaney. You know what their offseason workouts were? Run around campus a few miles. Sometimes they would cheat and hop the bus routes to make the times. I mean come on sand lot workouts, working out with masks on. Then Crean comes out and says Blackmon injured his knee and I quote “DURING A DEFENSIVE DRILL” that has to be a joke right. This years team could have a worse record than last year, yea that’s right a worse record. Much tougher non-conference and BiG Ten will be much better as well and no way does IU all of a sudden become a defensive juggernaut. Crean is a joke he should be an NBA scout that would be the perfect job for him and might be soon, we can only hope.
Crean can’t coach I don’t understand why people don’t get this it’s that simple the man is clueless. Inside the Hall’s constant pounding of how Joe Blow is considering IU as one of his final five schools is nauseating. Then nobody reporting the Blackmon injury except Sports Illustrated screams of a Crean love affair by the Indy Star, what the hell is Zach doing if he is the so called beat writer for IU basketball, idiot. ERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.
“brash tactics and arrogance.” give us some off the record no names necessary examples. tom crean seems like the kind of guy that would throw a cheap shot in a fight. I like those guys. the kind of guy that THINKS he is throwing the first punch. the kind of guy that throws everything into that cheap shot because he thinks it is an end all when in all reality he has stepped into a trap and left himself totally off balance and exposed. lights out. ironically enough I believe creans record against bo ryan is somewhere in the 1 and 10 or 2 and 12 vicinity. tom crean is playing checkers. we need a coach that plays chess and knows how to coach basketball.
A spot in the Sweet Sixteen. A spot in the Sweet Sixteen!
BTW Kent your interview with the guy from IU School of Business who said Crean exhibits qualities of a good leader, well my opinion of the Kelly School of Business went way down. That guy shows ZERO LEADERSHIP. 1. Failure to admit his mistakes is my #1 example of his poor leadership. 2. Not recognizing there is a problem is #2 of POOR LEADERSHIP. 3. Not honoring his word ie scholarship is another example of poor leadership. TOM CREAN IS NO LEADER!!!!!
Interesting perspective. As an employee of Indiana University in Bloomington, I didn’t expect a cup half empty response about Crean from him.
People who know Crean tend to defend him, which is a fascinating part of the Crean dynamic.
You shouldn’t have to “know” someone to recognize they are a good leader should you? I don’t know President Obama, but I know he is a terrible leader, as an example.
I believe that the better you know someone, the more likely you are to accurately depict his or her behavioral assets and liabilities.
that’s not really a crean dynamic. that’s a human nature trait. additionally that guy and crean have a common employer. there are certainly reasons beyond genuine sentiment for that guy to be positive about crean. what about the players that complain about him off record? where they from a particular era? is it that the longer pl;ayers are gone the more they like or dislike him? I am implying nothing here other than simply attempting to string together a common theme. race?
I would say people that are tied to crean in some way in the present tend to defend him. It appears that people who were once tied to crean and without him having some bearing on their playing or professional career now tend to be the opposite.
Yea and why does Crean not have a former player on his staff, has he ever even at Marquette? Nobody bashes Crean whose job depends on Crean. See Zach Ostermen, Alex Bozich, Terry Hutchens those guys NEVER bash Crean why, because I’m assuming he gives them good access to the team, (except when someone gets injured then they have to keep their mouths shut). It’s a joke it’s like the way the press protects Obama.
im really looking forward to the series of autobiographical short stories of the “the creanings.” once these guys have moved beyond the reach of creans tentacles it will be interesting to see what they have to say.
Interesting point, but I think the guys who cover Crean are doing an okay job. They are dispassionate observers who are paid to convey information. Zach is not a purveyor of perspective. Bashing Crean is not part of the job description. Crean is an interesting guy who projects a frail image to the media that makes it difficult to accurately assess his coaching acumen. It seems cruel to hold him accountable for being him. He isn’t malicious, nor a bad coach. The argument is often made that he simply does not fit. More meat needs to be hung on those bones.
Oh yea not lieing has a little bit to do with being a good leader as well…..Such as “Luke Fisher left cause he was homesick” or Maurice Creek left cause he had a child, or Remy Abell thought it his best interst to leave, or Matt Roth didn’t want to play anymore, or James Blackmon injured his knee during a defensive drill, or we lost to Northwestern cause we missed shots, do you want me to continue Kent.
I have always believed that that Indiana Basketball is different than everywhere else – that goes from high school ball through college. If you hadn’t been immersed into that culture, it is difficult to come in and do a good job as a coach for IU.
I always get blown a lot of crap from people when I say this, but I still stand by it: IU needs and Indiana guy to coach the team. He doesn’t have to be born here, but he should have at least played at IU under an Indiana guy.
My impression is that Tom Crean has come here and thought he could play the role of an Indiana guy. It hadn’t worked out. Everyone can tell it isn’t the real thing. His recruiting approach is just another example.
I think another thing is not so much being from Indiana, but playing a fundamentally sound game that’s what people want more than anything else, play like Wisconsin plays with average kids who play above their abilities.
I have been saying this for years!!!! Not only Crean but Wilson need to go for your exact reason. Look at the football program when IU hired Hoepner, but the IU admin (trustees and AD) have the same mentality as large corporations, let’s hire the brand not the person. IU, hire a class act who cares about the school, the players and the fans, quit hiring coaches who are looking out for themselves first.
I think Wisconsin, Butler and other school have figured this out!
bill lynch was an Indiana guy. there just isn’t the rich tradition to draw Indiana football coaches from.
I disagree, I said hoepner not bill
Lynch, hoepner was not high profile like the lawyers on the search committee wanted, but he could unite the fans, alumni, students and players, that what successful leaders do! We just need to get out of the big ten cellar in football, I don’t think Wilson has the qualities I mentioned above
wilson is a winner. he coached with hoeppner. he coached on the northwestern rose bowl team. he won a national title at Oklahoma. 2006 ncaa football coach of the year. wilson has tiesto themidwest and comes from the same coaching tree as hoeppner. Indiana can draw from its basketball tradition and institute some form of nepotism but trying to do the same in football is like drawing water from a dry well.
I do not believe Wilson was on the staff of a Nat. Champ at OK, but i like the sentiment.
I think Crean cares about the school, fans, ect, the bottom line is he is just not a good coach. I mean I don’t think Tom is a bad guy he’s just not the coach to take IU to it’s 6th NCAA banner. I want the best coach for the job and I want someone other than a bunch of lawyers on some stupid search committee doing the hiring. You know say what you want but Fred Glass did not play college sports, he’s a lawyer. We need a new AD who played at IU then all will be well, get Glass out of there.
Being an athlete doesn’t automatically qualify a candidate to be AD anymore than hiring a lawyer who wasn’t one. The job of AD is so complex, it’s hard to imagine anyone succeeding without being a lawyer. I like Fred, and think he has done a solid job. He’s smart and passionate about the well-being of the student-athletes.
I love to hear/read IU fans p$ss and moan.
Oh the entitlements,arrogance,narrow mindedness….they reek of it. It seems like IU is the little brother in the state of Indiana as far as basketball and they cant stand it.
People complain about not having an “Indiana guy” coaching they’re team. Has the coaching tree of IU (as far as college basketball) have anyone that could do this? Nobody comes to mind… Dane Fife..but why would you leave Mich St?
I think it’s time to just accept the fact that IU will likely never again be a perennial national title contender in basketball. We had a great coach once, and he led us to the promised land, but he is gone and we are now in the same boat as the hundreds of other average D-1 basketball schools. Maybe it’s time to start investing the significant funds we spend on basketball into sports that are on the uptick, i.e., soccer and baseball.