I almost had to put an “OT” before the title of this blog because I feel like it is off topic.
We (Terry Hutchens of the Indy Star, Chris Engel of the Indiana Daily Student and the guy writing this) sat down to chat with D.J. White today (remember that guy?). We’d arranged this interview a while back, hoping to spend a relatively carefree afternoon finding out what D.J. thought about his future and how he planned to prepare for the NBA.
I think we were all a bit distracted because of the events of the day, but the conversation was good anyway. White could only smile and shake his head — as he has done so many time this year — when asked to reflect on his career at Indiana. Ultimately, he said, it was a learning experience.
White has signed with an agent, who is sending him to Phoenix to train with a former Phoenix Suns trainer. So on Saturday, the same day White will graduate with a general studies degree and minors in criminal justice and African American studies, he will pack his things up and get ready to leave his home for the last four years.
In late May he will attend the pre-draft camp in Orlando. He has already set up visitsÂ with individual teams (though he could not say with which teams) for the weeks following the camp and leading up to the June 26th draft in New York City.
He said he has been told he could be drafted anywhere from the mid-first round to the early second-round.
We’ll have more on this story later this weekend.
Since there isn’t anything else going on in the IU sports world today, here’s an update on Indiana football recruit Darius Willis.
As was reported on an Indiana football message board this week, Willis was recently injured, but Franklin Central football coach Lance Scheib said today that the injury is expected to have no impact on his star running back’s readiness to work out this summer or play next fall.
Scheib said that because of privacy laws, he couldn’t discuss specifics of the injury. He said the injury ended his track season, but it is being taken care of and won’t have any impact on Willis by the time he arrives in Bloomington in June to begin voluntary workouts with his new teammates.
“I guarantee he’ll be at full speed,” Scheib said.
The message board report said Willis has suffered a sports hernia injury, but I have not been able to confirm that.
This is not, I can assure you, the first day this year that I sat in Assembly Hall wondering if covering Indiana basketball could get any weirder.
But the timing of this announcement — that Kelvin Sampson has indeed landed with the Milwaukee Bucks — could not have come at a more odd and maybe fitting time.
These are his players being exorcised from the program.
I just spoke with former Indiana point guard Armon Bassett, who just found out that he will not be allowed back on the team.
He declined to comment on the matter and is waiting for Indiana to give him a release to talk to other schools.
Here’s the official release, which was leaked to ESPN earlier.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. â€“ Indiana Menâ€™s Basketball Coach Tom Crean announced today
that junior DeAndre Thomas has been dismissed from the program and will not
have his scholarship renewed. In addition, sophomore Armon Bassett will not
be reinstated for failing to comply with University and Athletic Department
guidelines. Junior Jamarcus Ellis also will not be reinstated to the active
roster. Both Bassett and Ellis were originally dismissed from the program
on March 31. Crean also announced on Thursday that freshman Eli Holman
would not return next season.
â€œBefore you build a team, you need to develop a family,â€ said Crean. â€œWe
will go through the learning process, feel some growing pains and experience
some bumps in the road along the way. We need the Hoosier Nation to rally
around this program as we go through these stages.â€
â€œOur staff is going to ensure that anyone who attends this University and
wears the Indiana uniform will make this privilege among their highest
priorities and not treat the opportunity as an entitlement,â€ added Crean.
â€œWe fully expect our student-athletes to accept the responsibilities
academically, athletically and socially that come with representing one of
the top programs in college basketball history.â€
1:45 update: I just received confirmation from Indiana basketball spokesman J.D. Campbell that Bassett, Ellis, Thomas and Holman are indeed leaving IU. An announcement will be madeÂ in the next few minutes.
Indiana will announce this afternoon that Armon Bassett, Jamarcus Ellis, DeAndre Thomas and Eli Holman will not be back with the Hoosier basketball program next season, according to a report by Andy Katz of ESPN.
Bassett and Ellis were previously kicked off the team by interim coach Dan Dakich and their appeals to rejoin the team have been turned down, Katz reported.
The losses would leave IU with just three returning scholarship players (Jordan Crawford, Brandon McGee and Kyle Taber), along with incoming freshmen Tom Pritchard, Matt Roth andÂ Nick Williams, as well as JUCO transfer DevonÂ Dumes, and several walk-ons. Â Â
IU basketball spokesman J.D. Campbell saidÂ moments agoÂ that he cannot confirm or deny the report.
We willÂ provide more information as itÂ becomes available. Â Â
Just released by IU:Â
“Last night and this morning I had the opportunity to apologize to Coach
Crean and today I would like to extend that to everyone involved in the
program for allowing my frustrations to get the best of me. I appreciate
everything Indiana University and Coach Crean have done for me and I hope
nothing but the best for the program in the future.”