IU announces plans for Mark Cuban Center for Sports Media and Technology

What began as a brainstorming mission to improve his own team transformed into a $5 million gift from Mark Cuban to his alma mater.

Now, Indiana University is in position to become the leader in the field of virtual reality sports technology.

The IU athletic department announced Friday that Cuban will donate funds to create a state-of-the-art sports media and broadcast technology center to be housed in the west side of Assembly Hall. The center will be named after Cuban and is expected to open by the spring of 2017. Other parts of the project will be rolled out this fall.

Cuban’s donation also means Assembly Hall and Memorial Stadium will receive technological benefits, including cameras for enhanced 3-Dimensional and 360-degree replays during games. Coaches and players will have access to the same views to analyze and evaluate practices.

IU athletic director Fred Glass said during a ceremony Friday at the Henke Hall of Champions that Cuban’s donation will make Indiana the first school in the country to utilize these sports broadcast and virtual reality technologies.

“Whatever I give to IU, it will only be a fraction of what Indiana University gave to me,” said Cuban, a 1981 graduate of the Kelley School of Business. “There aren’t enough words, there aren’t enough thank yous for all I learned here about life, about myself and continuing my education.” (more…)

Wilson’s team focused as it enters next phase

Kevin Wilson’s calendar is divided into quadrants, each mirroring the format of a football game.

The Indiana coach views the winter and the weeks immediately following the regular season as the first quarter, a time to meet recruits and finalize the signing class. His second quarter is the spring, with the structures of practices and workouts bringing his team halfway toward a new season. The third quarter is where Wilson and the Hoosiers are now, readying for summer workouts and the fourth-quarter journey that all involved hope ends with a winning campaign.

“To me,” Wilson said, “you build a foundation that you play as your season. Good or bad, you start over, you build from what you’ve got. You overcome things (and) you’ve got to replenish. It’s never the same. You might have good things coming back that aren’t good. You might think it’s bad and it’s better. Every year is a separate entity. You start over, and as we recap where we’re at, I really like where our team sits.”

Friday marked the unofficial first day of IU’s eight-week summer workout session. Because the start of the second summer semester doesn’t begin until next week, nothing is mandatory until Monday. But returning players are beginning to filter in and freshmen are arriving for orientation. Wilson boasted about his team’s spring performance and attendance during Wednesday’s IU Tailgate Tour event at Huber Winery in Borden, lauding the 50-plus players who remained in Bloomington for voluntary work last month. Wilson said the program’s most-attended May workouts in the past included 15-20 players.

Wilson also lauded the team’s development in the weight room — specifically pointing to the speed and strength exploits of left tackle Jason Spriggs and nose tackle Nate Hoff — and reported a 2.8 team grade point average for the spring semester. “That’s not great in sports,” Wilson said, “but in football that’s not too bad.”

The next step, Wilson acknowledged, is turning these off-season gains into wins during the fall. (more…)

Report: Devin Davis headed to Odessa College

Three weeks after he was dismissed from the team, ex-Indiana forward Devin Davis has found a new home.

Davis will enroll to play basketball at Odessa College, according to a tweet from Basketball Times columnist Joshua Parrott. Odessa is a two-year junior college located in Odessa, Texas.

The former three-star recruit from Warren Central was kicked off the team on May 14, days after he was cited by Indiana University Police for possession of marijuana under 30 grams. Davis redshirted his sophomore season after suffering a traumatic brain injury during the early morning hours of Nov. 1, when he jumped in front of a vehicle driven by teammate Emmitt Holt. Officers repsonding to that incident determined the cause of the accident to be “pedestrian action.” Both players had been drinking.

IU coach Tom Crean was hopeful Davis would have been cleared to play during the upcoming 2015-16 season. Crean said during April that the program was moving forward with Davis in mind after he finished the season participating in non-contact practice drills.

Davis played in 29 games as a freshman, averaging 2.4 points and 2.6 rebounds. He appeared to be on course for a bigger role as a sophomore after averaging 8.0 points and leading the team with 7.6 rebounds during the Hoosiers’ five-game tour of Canada last August.

But the accident in November was the beginning of the end to Davis’ IU career. Hanner Mosquera-Perea, who was with Davis at the time of his citation but not cited himself, was also dismissed with Davis three weeks ago. Mosquera-Perea’s AAU coach, Mark Adams, said Sunday that he will transfer to East Tennessee State.

“I hope they both move forward and have tremendous futures and careers,” Crean said Wednesday at an IU Tailgate Tour event in Borden. “Because we’re not going to stop caring about them, and loving them, and always appreciate what they did and want them to be successful people.”

IU to make major donation announcement Friday

Indiana will make a major announcement regarding an athletics donation on Friday at 4 p.m. at the Henke Hall of Champions.

IU graduate Mark Cuban is expected to attend and also take part in a “hackathon,” which brings coders together for the purpose of solving problems. The hackathon is being hosted by IU Athletics.

More on this as it comes.

Series with Louisville unlikely this season

Indiana and Louisville have engaged in serious negotiations to begin a multi-year series, but IU athletic director Fred Glass said Wednesday he does not expect anything to be in place for the upcoming 2015-16 season.

Both sides are in favor of getting a deal done after Cardinals coach Rick Pitino said in February that he would like to play a game at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium, followed by contests on both campuses.

“Like everything else, the devil’s in the details,” Glass said. “There are conference challenges and schedule challenges, but coach Pitino and everybody at Louisville, and coach Crean and everybody at Indiana want to get a deal done. I expect that to get done in fairly short order.

Glass also said that there have been no updates about resuming a non-conference series with Kentucky.

“I would like to get that series back on,” Glass said. “I’m open to having additional conversations. We felt like we put a fairly good compromise on the table to get it going and that wasn’t embraced by the folks at Kentucky. There have been conversations at the staff level, which I think is good. I hope to get that series back on at some point, but there are no talks or framework, or anything going on.”

Crean has options with final scholarship

BORDEN — With one scholarship open for next season, Indiana coach Tom Crean does not feel pressured to use it now. He could save it for the middle of the season or put it in the bank, which is exactly what he might do.

Speaking a day after Michigan graduate Max Bielfeldt announced he will transfer to IU for his final season of eligibility, Crean said he’s in no rush to hand out his 13th and final scholarship for the 2015-16 season. There are no immediate additions on the radar at the moment, Crean said, nor are there any campus visits scheduled or players actively and hurriedly being pursued for next year’s roster.

But Crean acknowledged that things could change quickly if the right situation is identified.

“If there’s a player that fits us from a competitive standpoint,” Crean told reporters before Wednesday’s Tailgate Tour event at Huber Winery. “If there’s a player that fits us — not as much as a need but just coming in that’s gonna bring something for the team. Not in the short term, but someone that can be good now, but can also develop into someone who can be an even better player as we move down the line.”

Outside of Bielfeldt, Crean has explored the possibility of taking a non-graduate transfer that would be required to sit out a season. But that might not be optimal for a potential top 15 team that is positioned to win now. If the final scholarship is used, it would likely go to a freshman — like in Emmitt Holt’s case late last August — or another graduate transfer who would be immediately eligible.

The popular name on the board remains 7-foot center Thon Maker, a five-star prospect considered to be the top remaining player available in the 2015 class. Maker is currently enrolled in prep school in Canada and his guardian, Ed Smith, told late last month that Indiana and Arizona State are the two programs that are making the most contact. Smith has said IU assistant Chuck Martin has a plan in place for Maker to make the most of a year and a half on campus.

Maker, if he goes the college route, is expected to enroll at a university in the United States in December or January of the upcoming season. If that’s the case, he could be in school for as little as half a year and for as many as three and a half years. Like Maker’s entire recruitment — he was originally classified as a 2016 recruit — things remain unclear.

“Recruiting is so fluid and never-ending,” Crean said. “We’re oversigned at the beginning (of the summer), then three days after this school semester ends, we’re under by two. It’s a very fluid, fluid, ever-changing process. You have to be prepared. In this situation, with a scholarship available, we’ll do our best to find something that really makes sense. If not, we won’t.” (more…)

Michigan graduate transfer Max Bielfeldt picks Indiana

Indiana found the post depth it was searching for on Tuesday when Michigan graduate transfer Max Bielfeldt picked the Hoosiers.

The 6-foot-8 forward is expected to slip into IU’s rotation as a backup to five-star center Thomas Bryant, filling a role that would have been occupied by Hanner Mosquera-Perea. When Mosquera-Perea and fellow forward Devin Davis were dismissed from the program last month, Indiana quickly began its pursuit of the Wolverines’ Sixth Man of the Year.

On Tuesday, the Hoosiers were rewarded.

“The unique thing about being recruited for your fifth year is it’s one year,” Bielfeldt told The Herald-Times. “I think you just have to look at what’s there and how you’ll fit in, and how good you can make your next 12 months.”

Prior to the dismissals of Mosquera-Perea and Davis, Indiana was expected to begin next season ranked in the top 15. Bielfeldt’s transfer likely ensures the Hoosiers won’t fall from those early predictions.

Bielfeldt’s final decision came between IU, Nebraska and Iowa State, saying last week he wanted to hold his announcement until Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg’s job status became clear. Hoiberg had long been connected to the Chicago Bulls’ head coaching job, and he officially accepted that position on Tuesday.

“I know it kind of came off as me waiting to see how things were gonna be (at Iowa State), or that they were my first choice or something, but honestly for me, I just wanted to see the product that each school offered,” Bielfeldt said. “I had a little bit of time to figure things out and I was considering three schools very strongly. I think they all would have been really good choices and all would have offered something very unique at each place. It was interesting, but at the end of the day I think I’d be happiest, most successful at Indiana.” (more…)

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