Though Tom Crean reiterated Sunday that freshman center Bawa Muniru has a long ways to go in his understanding of the game, the Indiana coach said it is unlikely that Muniru would be redshirted.
“I have no doubt that I’ll put him there tomorrow night,” Crean said in reference to Monday’s exhibition against St. Joseph’s. “Could we redshirt somebody? I guess we could, but again, I don’t know if we’re deep enough to take that shot right now. Maybe we do something like that down the road in a year. I would want to get our program to that point. But I don’t know if at Indiana at this present day we’re at the point where we can be redshirting people and count on x amount of guys to carry the torch for us. It’s just not there, we’re too young.”
Crean didn’t shy away from saying that the 6-foot-10, 260-pounder needs work, though. Though Muniru was just cleared by the NCAA to play last week, he was allowed to practice all Fall, and without that Crean said he’d be in even worse shape.
“The one beauty of this is that he was cleared to practice,” Crean said. “It really would’ve been a nightmare if he hadn’t been cleared to practice. So he hasn’t missed any time there. But he hasn’t always felt like a willing participant to go out there. There’s a certain amount of anxiety in him right now, and it’s been in practice. Now, the last couple of days, it’s been different. Really, there’s going to be three parts to Bawa right now. It’s his practice time and what he does there. It’s what he does outside of practice, whether it’s our individual workouts before practice, after practice, which is where we can really isolate his game for him.”
One thing that could make him helpful to this team, though, is his abilities as a shot blocker.
“The one thing Bawa brings is a legitimate shot-blocking presence, and he’s learning more and more,” Crean said. “We have as many defensive drills for him right now as we do anything else. He’s gotta really, really learn.”