Fife: Working with Izzo too good to pass up.

I spoke with Dane Fife earlier today about his new job with Michigan State. The story will run in the paper tomorrow. An excerpt from that follows.

Dane Fife understands this move might seem strange.
Not only did the former Indiana guard already have a head coaching job, he had it locked up for the foreseeable future. Just three weeks ago, Fife signed a contract extension that would keep him at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne through 2016.
But on Wednesday, after six years as a Division I head coach, he went back to being an assistant. By choice.
So why would a coach go back to working for someone else and take what some might view as a voluntary demotion? Because, Fife said, it was that important for him to work for Tom Izzo. (more…)

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Live: Morehead State at Indiana baseball

UPDATE, End of Game: Indiana reliever Casey Smith gave up a single to start the ninth but retired the next three to preserve the victory for Indiana, who take down Morehead State, 5-1. IU improves to 25-12 overall.

UPDATE, End of the Eighth Inning: Catcher Dylan Swift ripped a two-out, two-run double in the left-center field gap to the give the Hoosiers a little more comfort heading into the ninth. They lead 5-1.

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Dane Fife headed to Michigan State

Tom Izzo wanted Dane Fife to come to Michigan State as a high school prospect, but Fife chose Indiana.

This time, he did not get away.

Fife has left his job as head coach of IPFW to become an assistant for Izzo at Michigan State.

Here is the Lansing State-Journal report, which includes statements from both Fife and Izzo.

“I’m giving up a lot, but gaining a ton in return,” Fife said in a statement of leaving his head coaching job to join Izzo’s staff. “At this point in my life, the opportunity to be a part of an unbelievable staff and operation is simply one I could not turn down. I’m truly honored to be the latest addition to the Spartan basketball family.”

“I’m happy to finally get him to Michigan State,” Izzo said in a statement of Fife. “His toughness, competitive spirit and enthusiasm will be great additions to our staff. Having played at Indiana and growing up in Michigan, he knows the Big Ten well and has recruited the area. As a player, he understands the commitment and dedication needed to reach a Final Four.”

Fife has had opportunities to leave IPFW before. He interviewed with Michigan last season and one report suggested he was offered the job but turned it down. He was also a candidate for Indiana’s opening, which eventually went to Steve McClain.

There was also some talk of Fife joining Purdue, which had two assistant coaching openings to fill this  spring.

Knight apologizes for comments on Kentucky

Bob Knight apologized for his comments about one-and-done players at Kentucky in a statement released by ESPN. He stands by his criticism of the one-and-done situation, but said he shouldn’t have made it personal with the Kentucky players.

Commentary: Bob Knight was out-of-line about Kentucky, wrong on NBA Draft process

Over the weekend, Bob Knight stood in front of a microphone and put himself in the news.

While speaking at an event in Wabash, Knight questioned the academic integrity of five former Kentucky Wildcats.

“Kentucky (during the 2009-10 season) started five players in the NCAA tournament games that had not been to class that semester,” Knight said.

Wrong. Irresponsibly wrong.

For one thing, Patrick Patterson, a junior, graduated after the semester in question. Yes, in three years. Another, John Wall, made the honor roll. A third, DeMarcus Cousins, Tweeted that he went to class and “finished out strong.”

Also, Knight knows enough to know that no school, even Kentucky, would take the APR hit (and the likely reduction in scholarships) from having five players flunk their last semester on campus.

Whatever Knight’s motives were, the execution was wrong and unfairly accused five kids who did nothing but take part in the system created for them.

Four of the five were one-and-dones, playing just one year in college before entering the NBA, and that seemed to really be Knight’s problem.

In the same speech, he suggested that the NCAA adopt the same rule for men’s basketball as it has for baseball: become a professional before entering college, or wait until after your junior season.

Knight is not the first to come up with such a suggestion, and he will not be the last.

But it is an attempt at fixing a system that is not broken. What it does is allow for individual decisions.

Harrison Barnes can decide to come back to North Carolina in order to win a national championship and strengthen his legacy, while Josh Selby can decide one uneven year at Kansas was enough and declare for the NBA Draft.

The desire to provide financial security for their families has a different sense of urgency, and that played a role in the decision-making process – Barnes comes from a solid home in Iowa, while Selby was raised by a single mother in the rougher parts of Baltimore.

This, honestly, is the way it should be. Every situation is different, and for someone to sit in an office in the NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis and make a decision that education is more valuable than supporting a family for an arbitrary period of time is ignorance on a dangerous level.

Yes, Bob, Kentucky does benefit from one-and-done prospects – the 2011 recruiting class will be No. 1 for the third year in a row, and it stands to reason that we’ll be talking about many of those prospects in 365 days and wondering whether they will see a sophomore season in Lexington.

But what is wrong with that? College basketball has survived and even flourished despite some programs actively recruiting likely one-and-done prospects.

The class you chose to single out did not make the Final Four. This year’s team did, but the national championship game starred a three-time academic All-American (Butler’s Matt Howard) and a guy who will graduate in three years (UConn’s Kemba Walker).

That seems to be indicative of a system that is not broken. But if that were the case, there would be precious little moral high ground to falsely lay claim to.

ESPN’s Lunardi Has Hoosiers in 2012 tournament

In a ludicrously early projection, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has Indiana as one of the last four teams in next year’s tournament.


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