Conference media days are all about self-praise. That’s mostly the point of having them.
OK, maybe it’s not just self-praise. It’s about praising every one else in your conference to show them respect, then hoping the assembled media prints said praise to make the conference look good, which in turns helps the conference’s profile with important people like television executives and recruits.
So there wasn’t much of a surprise that a lot of that was going on at Big Ten media day on Thursday in Chicago.
This time, though, the league’s coaches might actually be justified.
Indiana sent out a press release today confirming that former basketball coach Bob Knight will not attend his Hall of Fame Induction ceremony next week.
He didn’t want to detract from media coverage of the other inductees.
Many of you predicted months ago that Knight would say this. Kudos to you.
Here’s the full press release:
Jeremiah Rivers didn’t make the Trip to Chicago for Big Ten Media Day, Tom Crean said, because he suffered a facial injury in practice coming off a pick n’ roll.
“He hit his face in a pick n’ roll situation,” Crean said. “He ran into an elbow, and we decided to keep him back so he could fully recover.”
Crean said he didn’t expect the Georgetown transfer’s injury to be long-term, however.
The usual suspect for a cause of such an injury would be senior center Tijan Jobe. a 7-foot, 255-pounder with some body control issues. Crean said, however, that Jobe wasn’t the culprit.
“Actually, it’s the other part of Team Africa right now,” Crean said. “Bawa Muniru got him, so he’s learning from Tijan. They’re buddies. Really, it was on his own team. He was setting a pick n’ roll in the corner. It was a very tightly contested play, and it was just an accident.”
Jobe, Crean said, is making improvements.
“He’s made enormous strides,” Crean said. “He really has. Tijan Jobe is challenging for a spot in the rotation. That will surprise those of you that saw us play last year. Once you see him play this year, it may not surprise you.”
Indiana’s women’s basketball coach is at the mic:
“This is a very young team, and this will be the ultimate challenge,” she says. But she hopes the returning experience she does have, mostly in the form of Jamie Braun and Jori Davis, can help the team reach new heights.
Some of the players were out in the fraternity and sorority neighborhood last night, trying to meet students and encourage them to come to games.
Sasha Chaplin, the forward who was lost five games into last season, is back. And she’s grown. She’s up to 6-foot-4.
Legette-Jack is excited about two flashy point guards on the team this year: Whitney Lindsay, who runs so fast she sometimes leaves the ball behind, and Sasha Bernard, who is such a creative passer that some of them may end up in the crowd after flying by surprised teammates.
Legette-Jack credits Tom Crean with helping her to grow the women’s basketball program. She thinks fans are slowing growing to appreciate the game as it is played beneath the rim.
Regarding Braun, who most observers believe will be the heart of this team, is majoring in African-American Studies. When Legette-Jack asked her why, Braun replied: “Because I want to understand you.”
Braun will move to the “two” this season, and her leadership role will expand. She’s been able to be quiet with experience in front of her, but will need be more vocal this season. She’ll also be relied upon to score more, especially with her 3-point shot.
How will the Hoosiers play this season? Legette-Jack thinks she can play more man-to-man (woman-to-woman?) defense, while continuing to play up-tempo on offense.
Michigan State was tabbed as the favorite to win the Big Ten championship at Big Ten media day with Purdue picked to finish second and Ohio State third. Michigan State’s Kalin Lucas was picked as the preseason player of the year. He’s joined on the all-conference first team by Michigan’s Manny Harris, Ohio States Evan Turner, Penn State’s Talor Battle and Purdue’s Robbie Hummell.
Indiana coach Bill Lynch waits for his team to leave the stands after shooting the team picture during the preseason. Chris Howell | Herald-Times
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Donnell Jones will start at cornerback against Iowa, co-defensive coordinator Joe Palcic said Wednesday.
Jones, a redshirt sophomore, has been out with a dislocated elbow. He is wearing a large apparatus on his right arm.
“I am hoping he is going to be able to play,” said Palcic, who is also the team’s secondary coach. “He hasn’t really tackled anybody yet so we’re going to see how he goes Saturday. He’ll start, and we’ll see how it holds up.”
Tuesday, Indiana head coach Bill Lynch said it would be an open competition to determine who starts opposite Ray Fisher on Saturday.
But Jones took the majority of the snaps with the first team defense on Wednesday. Nick Polk, the team’s starting safety, also played at the cornerback position.
Adrian Burks, who was listed as the team’s starting corner on the depth chart this week, and Richard Council played with the second team.
Council has been beaten for several touchdowns against Illinois and Northwestern, after replacing Jones.
Lynch said it was not decided who would start, and may not be until Friday. He said he wanted to watch film of practice and see how Jones felt.
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