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.”
For a college student during finals week, 1:41 a.m. is probably not that late. We’ve all been there, stuffing our brains with those shreds of information that might end up somewhere on the exam that stands between you and summer.
But I can’t help but wonder what was running through Eli Holman’s head as he texted me at 1:41 this morning. I’d talked to him earlier in the night and he offered a polite “no comment.” His text message said he’d be ready to talk in the morning, and I can only imagine that he had been mulling over the events of the day.
He continued to do so this morning and has decided to issue a statement through the media relations department. I don’t expect that statement to be very long and I expect it to basically say about the only thing there is left to say for a kid who made a mistake: I’m sorry.
I rushed out to Assembly Hall this afternoon without my recorder. Ditto for IDS ace reporter Mike Sanserino.
But Indiana athletic director J.D. Campbell has just issued this press release which contains most of what Crean said to us this afternoon.
UPDATE (7:55): I just spoke with Eli Holman. He does not want to comment on the situation at this time.
TOM CREAN STATEMENT ON ELI HOLMAN
We met with Eli Holman this afternoon. He had a good meeting with our
assistant coaches earlier in the day. I felt like he still was not sure
whether or not he wanted to be here which surprised me because everything we
have seen from him had been very positive in terms of staying at Indiana and
moving forward. I have no idea what made him change his mind and arrive at
this point. He indicated that he would like to leave Indiana, although I was
hopeful that we could work through this situation to come to an arrangement
we both were comfortable with and to take some time to make a decision.
The conversation was very cordial but unfortunately, it did not end that
way. His behavior took me, along with the other people in the office, by
surprise. We saw him as a danger to himself and wanted to take precautionary
measures to help him. We felt bad for Eli and hopefully were able to help
I do not anticipate Eli being back at Indiana. We will do our best to help
him move forward and wish him well.