Crean putting together vision for guard-oriented team

By   |   Tuesday, Jul. 15, 2014 - 7:43 PM   |   27 comments

The team Tom Crean coaches this season will operate differently than any team he’s coached at Indiana and possibly different than any team he’s ever led. It certainly will have to undergo a vast metamorphosis from the 2013-14 Hoosiers squad that finished 17-15 and missed the postseason entirely.

Indiana returns just six scholarship players from last year’s roster with one of them — rising sophomore forward Collin Hartman — rehabilitating from an ACL tear with an still undetermined timeline for his return. Last year’s squad was low on guards, heavy on wings, and had an eventual top-10 NBA draft pick playing center in Noah Vonleh. This year’s team will have an over-abundance of guards, a smaller number of wings, and two unproven players over 6-foot-9 who will have to man the center position.
Crean said in June at an Indiana tailgate tour event in Borden that he wasn’t sure what Indiana’s style of play would be, but that it would have to be unconventional. Crean said at a press availability on Tuesday that the construction of his vision for this team is in its early stages.
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Lemonis adds Cheesebrough to IU baseball staff

By   |   Monday, Jul. 14, 2014 - 2:13 PM   |   2 comments

Here’s the release from IU:

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Kyle Cheesebrough, an assistant under Indiana head baseball coach Chris Lemonisat Louisville, will join IU as an assistant coach and the Hoosiers’ recruiting coordinator, Lemonis announced Monday. Cheesebrough will also work with IU’s hitters and catchers.

“I’m excited about adding Kyle Cheesebrough because we’re getting a young, energetic coach who will be relentless in maintaining the standard of excellence that has been established here in Bloomington,” Lemonis said. “He has a strong knowledge of the game and a great passion to coach.”

Cheesebrough spent the past three seasons at Louisville working with catchers after serving as a volunteer assistant at the University of Pittsburgh in 2011.

While on staff at Louisville, Cheesebrough helped the Cardinals to back-to-back College World Series appearances in 2013 and 2014 and an NCAA Regional stop in 2012.

“Watching how Indiana has evolved over the last few years and what they’ve done as far as facilities and how much they’ve made baseball a priority, it was a no-brainer to jump on board and be a Hoosier,” Cheesebrough said. “It’s an exciting time at Indiana. They’ve had a lot of success the last couple of years and we’re going to try to keep that rolling.

“We’re going to try to be the best we can be here and recruit the best kids out of Indiana as well as the surrounding states.”

As a player in 2008 and 2009, Cheesebrough started 18 games and played in 32, helping U of L to back-to-back BIG EAST Tournament titles, a BIG EAST regular-season title, two NCAA Regional appearances and a NCAA Super Regional visit.

“I have to thank Coach Lemonis,” Cheesebrough said. “I’m very blessed to have this opportunity to not only have been recruited by him and played for him, but to continue to be on his staff. I know how hard he works and I know what kind of person he is. He is going to do amazing things at Indiana and I’m going to do everything in my part to replicate what he accomplished in this role at Louisville as we strive to remain one of the premiere baseball programs in the country at Indiana.”

The Rowlett, Texas, native completed his degree at Louisville in education while working as a student assistant for the team in 2010.

Spalding enjoying IU, recruiting process

By   |   Friday, Jul. 11, 2014 - 7:58 PM   |   5 comments

INDIANAPOLIS — The future is now in a manner of speaking for Ray Spalding, a 6-foot-9, four-star recruit for the class of 2015 who has picked up offers from Indiana and Louisville in recent months.

Spalding, a four-star, 6-foot-9 forward/center, put on an impressive show in his Adidas Invitational opener for The Ville 2015 squad on Wednesday night with 36 points and 14 rebounds in front of Indiana coach Tom Crean, among others.

The numbers weren’t as spectacular in Friday night’s bracket play opener at North Central High School, a 61-52 win over Shining Star Sports (Ohio). Spalding had 19 points, eight rebounds and three blocks, including The Ville’s first 10 points of the second half. Overall, it still might be proof of a more concentrated approach to his game.

“Developing as a better basketball player, being more aggressive, shooting the ball better and rebounding the ball better,” Spalding said of his goals for the summer. “I think the key for me to move on to the next level is to have the change of mindset.”

That said, Spalding has seen college interest explode since last summer, picking up offers from the likes of Indiana and Louisville to bolster an already significant amount of Divison I interest.

Although Spalding mentioned Xavier, along with the Hoosiers and Cardinals, as three of his top options earlier this week in media reports, he was quick to note on Friday that his recruitment remains wide open.

“It’s just really exciting. I’m just taking it all in,” he said. “I haven’t made any decisions yet — don’t have a top five, top 10. Just taking it all in.”

And Spalding says he is enjoying the recruiting process and all the new relationships it brings, too.

“I’ve enjoyed talking to a new and different coaching staff every day,” he said. “I’m getting to know all those guys. They’re all great guys and great programs.”

That includes Indiana, whose fans and media have gotten Spalding’s attention during his time in Indianapolis, complementing what the senior-to-be has picked up from the Hoosier coaching staff.

“I’ve realized how great Indiana really is as a university and as a whole,” he said. “The state of Indiana is great — the fans, the atmosphere and the coaching staff. It’s a great place.”

IU, ’17 recruits keeping an eye on each other

By   |   Friday, Jul. 11, 2014 - 3:26 PM   |   No comments

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana coaches were on hand to see Southport’s Paul Scruggs, North Central’s Kris Wilkes and Zach Gunn of Hamilton Southeastern — class of 2017 recruits who all have IU offers already — in their opener on Thursday at the Adidas Invitational in Indianapolis, the start of the July evaluation period.

Indiana wasn’t on hand for the first game Friday afternoon, but all three players still put the multiple facets of their game on display.

Scruggs, a 6-foot-2 guard, is the most physically mature, frequently using his muscular frame and explosive step to get to the basket while playing the combo guard role that he said he sees in his future.

“I’m really just trying to work on being much more of a leader, passing the ball, work on my guard skills,” he said. “I see myself ending up as a combo guard. My weakness is shooting, and my strength is getting to the basket.”

Scruggs picked up an IU offer nearly one year ago, at the same time as Gunn,a 6-7 sharpshooter who can rebound and handle the ball. Scruggs also has offers now from Purdue, Michigan State, Ohio State and Xavier, but that first one was memorable.

“It meant a lot,” he said. “When I got it, a whole bunch of people in my neighborhood were coming up to me, congratulating me, stuff like that. I just liked it.”

Wilkes picked up his Indiana offer a month after Scruggs and has had plenty of his friends and schoolmates suggest he take the Hoosiers up on that offer. Xavier and Purdue have also offered the 6-6 wing, who may be still growing. He makes up for his twig-like frame with a lengthy wingspan, excellent ball handling skills and a jump shot that is still a work in progress. On a good day, add a few inches, and Kevin Durant might spring to mind.

But for now, Wilkes is minding a simple message from Tom Crean and staff.

“Don’t stop now, keep working harder and get better each year,” Wilkes said.

Both Scruggs and Wilkes said they really liked Crean and Indiana, particularly noting the enthusiasm of the fans who regularly pack Assembly Hall.

Helmer adds jumps coach to complete staff

By   |   Friday, Jul. 11, 2014 - 11:11 AM   |   1 comment

Former New Orleans coach and Illinois assistant Mike Erb has been added to the Indiana track and field staff to coach jumps and women’s multi events, completing the staff overhaul made by coach Ron Helmer. The release from IU sports info follows.

Mike Erb Added to Track and Field Staff   

Erb brings 15 years of coaching experience to the Hoosiers, including head coaching experience.


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – IU head coach and director of track and field Ron Helmer has announced the addition of Mike Erb as an assistant coach for the Hoosiers program.


Erb spent the last year as the head coach at the University of New Orleans and is no stranger to the Big Ten, having spent five seasons (2008-13) as a member of the Illinois women’s track and field staff as an assistant coach, working primarily with field events. The last two seasons, Erb handled coaching duties associated with the men’s high jump, pole vault, javelin and multi-events.


Erb will coach horizontal jumps, high jump and women’s multis at Indiana.


During his tenure at Illinois, Erb coached 10 student-athletes to All-American performances, six to Big Ten individual championships and had nine student-athletes post school-records. In addition, the Illini won the Big Ten women’s indoor team title in 2013.  Also in a five-year span, a total of 54 student-athletes coached by Erb have scored points at the league championship events.


“Mike has hit most of the rungs of the ladder on his way to this position,” Helmer said. “He was the head guy in a small program at the University of Redlands, he was an important assistant to a Big Ten Championship team at Illinois and he started a program from scratch as the head coach at the University of New Orleans.  Coaches can coach but more importantly our needs and Mike’s passion and skill set are a match. He will coach our horizontal jumps, high jump and women’s multis, exactly the events in which he has demonstrated high level consistent success and for which he has a great excitement level.”


Erb arrived at Illinois after successful coaching stints at Marquette and the University of Redlands.  He spent the 2008 season as an assistant coach at Marquette, where he was responsible for coaching the men’s and women’s long and triple jumpers as well as the multi-event athletes.


The position at New Orleans is the second head coaching stint for Erb, who served as the head men’s and women’s cross country and track and field coach at the University of Redlands in California from 2002 through 2007.


In his time at Redlands, Erb guided the men’s track and field program from a last place conference finish to consecutive top-10 finishes at the NCAA Division III Championships in 2006 and 2007. With the Bulldogs, Erb coached four NCAA champions, eight All-Americans, 20 NCAA Championships qualifiers and 152 All-Conference performers. He also coached Corey White, who went on to the Pan American Junior Championships, where he placed second with a throw of 228-10.

Erb received his undergraduate degree in environmental science in 1998 from Allegheny College in Pennsylvania, where he was a decathlete and jumper from 1994-98, earning two conference titles in the triple jump. He also received his Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration from Redlands in 2005.

Erb is certified as a USATF Level II coach in the jumps and throws and is a USATF Level I instructor.


“The combination of Mike and his excitement to return to the Big Ten and the way I envision him being able to interact with our staff made him an exciting choice for this position,” Helmer said.”


Live Chat Transcript

By   |   Thursday, Jul. 10, 2014 - 5:26 PM   |   2 comments

QUESTION: MODERATOR: Good morning, and welcome to today’s IU sports chat with Jeremy, Dustin and Andy. Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying this July weather.

How are you today? Ready to get started?

JEREMY: I am completely on board with this July weather for as long as it lasts. Ready to roll.
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Live Chat, 11 a.m.

By   |   Thursday, Jul. 10, 2014 - 2:59 AM   |   2 comments

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