Bears sign Majors

By   |   Monday, Apr. 28, 2008 - 3:31 PM   |   10 comments

Former Indiana cornerback Leslie Majors is one of 10 unsigned free agents who has been signed by the Chicago Bears, the team announced Monday.

UPDATE 4/29: Long snapper Tim Bugg is expected to work out with the Bengals Wednesday or Thursday, and then join former teammate Josiah Sears in working out with the Bears this weekend, according to a source close to the IU football program.



Quite a year

By   |   Monday, Apr. 28, 2008 - 11:54 AM   |   17 comments

Dear loyal Hoosier Scoopers,

It is with great regret that I must inform you all that this will be my last post on the Scoop. (Please, hold your cheers). Graduation comes Saturday, and barring a miracle, I will be leaving Indiana University with two degrees and as great of a college experience as I could have ever hoped for. I start that whole “job” thing in a few weeks.

I paused the other day to reflect on the year I’ve spent covering the Hoosiers. What a crazy, unique year it was. We saw it all, from a game-winning field goal that won the Oaken Bucket to the Phonegate scandal to the ushering in of the Crean and Crimson era of IU basketball.

I feel that, although I’ve only covered the Hoosiers for ten months, I’m leaving with about six years of experience. There were some exhilarating moments that I’ll never forget, none more than standing ten feet away from a teary-eyed Jane Hoeppner as Austin Starr’s kick split the uprights. There was the never-ending day at Assembly Hall, as a throng of sports reporters, myself included, spent nearly ten hours waiting for the Kelvin Sampson resignation to transpire as we tried to separate fact from rumor all afternoon and into the night. And lastly, there was the opportunity to have a lengthy chat with Tom Crean outside his hotel in Bloomington the night he was hired as Indiana’s new basketball coach.

One of my favorite things over the past year has been the tremendous interaction we’ve been able to generate on the Scoop. That’s one of the many benefits of covering a program like Indiana—the fan base is so involved and interested that it makes your job a lot of fun.

So, I figured I’d go out just as I came in: leaving you with some questions that will stir up some good-natured debate.

Take it easy, and as always, thanks for your input.

Zak

___

Considering the IU football and basketball season this past year…

1. What was the best moment? (A few suggestions, in no particular order)

  • The ceremony honoring Terry Hoeppner before IU’s first home game of the 2007 season
  • Austin Starr’s 49-yard field goal against Purdue to capture the Old Oaken Bucket
  • IU’s selection to face Oklahoma State in the Insight Bowl on New Year’s Eve
  • Austin Starr’s first down run in the Insight Bowl
  • Bill Lynch’s contract extension as IU’s football coach
  • Eric Gordon’s banked-in three-pointer helps IU escape Illinois with a win on Jan. 13
  • Indiana’s 80-61 drubbing of Michigan State on Feb. 16
  • D.J. White’s senior night ovation at Assembly Hall
  • D.J. White being named Big Ten Player of the Year
  • The announcement that Tom Crean would be IU’s new basketball coach
  • Tracy Porter and James Hardy being selected in Round 2 of the NFL Draft


2. What was the worst moment?

  • IU’s internal investigation produces more recruiting violations by Kelvin Sampson
  • IU’s 49-33 loss to Oklahoma State in the Insight Bowl on New Year’s Eve
  • NCAA findings that Kelvin Sampson’s recruiting transgressions were ‘major’
  • Seven players, including captain D.J. White, miss Dan Dakich’s first practice as coach
  • Sampson’s resigns as head coach and leaves with a $750,000 settlement
  • Minnesota’s Blake Hoffarber’s game-winner to knock IU out of the Big Ten Tourney
  • Indiana’s 86-72 loss to Arkansas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament
  • News that Kellen Lewis would miss spring practice for the Hoosiers, and maybe more


3. What was the best individual performance by an IU player in a single game?

  • Kellen Lewis: 199 yards rushing yards, 137 passing yards and 5 TDs against Akron
  • Jammie Kirlew: nine tackles, 3.5 sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss at Iowa
  • James Hardy: 14 catches for 142 yards and two scores against Penn State on Oct. 20
  • Eric Gordon: 33 points in his college debut against Chattanooga on Nov. 12
  • D.J. White: 21 points and 22 rebounds at Michigan on Jan. 8

4. Who or what was the biggest surprise?

  • The football squad playing in their first bowl game in 13 years
  • Greg Middleton: a school record 16 sacks, first team All-Big Ten honors
  • Kelvin Sampsons’ inability to stay off his cell phone (again)
  • Jordan Crawford averaging 9.7 points a game
  • D.J. White winning Big Ten Player of the Year honors
  • Dan Dakich: Director of Basketball Operations to interim head coach in five months
  • Tom Crean being named IU’s new basketball coach

5. What was the biggest disappointment?

  • The Big Ten Network
  • IU recruit Bud Mackey is arrested and charged with possession of cocaine
  • Indiana’s performance in the Insight Bowl
  • IU’s 3-4 record under interim coach Dan Dakich to close out the season
  • The Hoosiers (football or basketball) not winning a post-season game
  • The end of the Kelvin Sampson Era
  • Eric Gordon’s play down the stretch
  • Devin Ebanks and Terrell Holloway opt out of letters of intent to play for other schools


I’m not gonna write you a basketball blog …

By   |   Sunday, Apr. 27, 2008 - 10:36 PM   |   9 comments

cause you asked for it.

Well, actually, I guess I will.

Somebody calling themselves Dynasty (a 1980s soap opera fan, I assume) commented below seeking basketball news. So, here goes.

A person with direct knowledge of the situation told me today that Armon Bassett is still hoping to stay at IU and play basketball. He expects to hear something this week about his status with the team. As we’ve been reporting, it appears as though his grades will have a major impact on whether he’s reinstated.

There have been reports on some message boards that Bassett has decided to leave Indiana and transfer to a nearby school. One report said he has already visited Cincinnati.

But I know his desire is still to play for the Hoosiers next year.

I’m still trying to figure out the situation with Miles Plumlee. The 6-10 big man in the class of 2008 has requested his release from Stanford. He had an offer from former Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson, but it is unclear how familiar new coach Tom Crean is with the versatile forward who played his high school ball in North Carolina but is from Warsaw, Indiana.



Porter, Hardy reaction

By   |   Saturday, Apr. 26, 2008 - 10:12 PM   |   7 comments

I haven’t been able to reach James Hardy and Tracy Porter yet, although I’m still hoping to hear from Tracy tonight.

In the meantime, here’s what we’ve got:

Hardy is quoted on BuffaloBills.com: “He [Coach Jauron] told me he didn’t think I’d be available in the second round, but God blessed me to be in Buffalo and I just want to make the Buffalo nation proud.”

I talked with Porter’s agent, Paul Lawrence, who said his client was so ecstatic about New Orleans picking him that he could barely speak when Lawrence called him right after the pick. “He’s just excited to be able to play close to home,” Lawrence said.

IU sent out a press release in which it noted that this was the first time the Hoosiers have had two first-day picks since 1988 when offensive lineman Eric Moore went to the Giants in the first round and defensive end Van Waiters went to Browns in the third round.

Bill Lynch said in the press release that the football program is extremely proud of Tracy and James. “They gave everything they had to Indiana University and have been rewarded for all of their efforts,” Lynch said. “We congratulate them and look forward to watching their NFL careers for many years to come.”

The Bills also posted a video on BuffaloBills.com in which Tom Modrak, vice president of scouting, talks about Hardy. Modrak said that even in the NFL, Hardy’s 6-foot-5 stature will cause mismatch opportunities against smaller defenders, particularly in the red zone.

“He gives you opportunities that a quarterback doesn’t always have because of his height,” Modrak said. “And really he’s a good athlete. He bends better than you’d expect for a 6-5 guy.”

BUGG UPDATE: I just spoke with long snapper Tim Bugg who said that whether or not he gets drafted Sunday, he expects to know by the end of the day what team he’ll be signing with. He said that all indications are that he has a good chance of making a team and that if he isn’t drafted, he should be hearing right away from teams about signing as a free agent.

It’s quite a week for Bugg. He got married last Saturday and just got back today from a honeymoon in Cancun.



On the road

By   |   Saturday, Apr. 26, 2008 - 7:38 PM   |   4 comments

Tom Crean made his first recruiting trip as the head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers today when he attended the Top 100 Showcase at Ben Davis High School.  Crean watched the players rotate through drill stations — he sat right in front of the group working on rebounds because he wanted to evaluate the intensity each player brought — then watched a few games. He and assistant Tim Buckley made sure to watch recruit Derek Elston play, and the 6-8 forward out of Tipton played well. Elston said that he hasn’t actually had a conversation with Crean yet but will do so on Sunday when he takes an unofficial visit.

Crean was also checking out another class of 2009 forward, Stephan Van Treese out of Lawrence North. And he made sure to see a few runs by Jordan Hulls, a 2009 guard out of Bloomington South who made a visit to Indiana earlier this week.

Crean is headed to Akron tonight for the King James Shooting Star Classic, one of the premier AAU tournaments of the April evaluation period.  Now that Crean has been given 10 recruiting days, he’s using them carefully. He said he might use one or two more this month and save the others for July.



Porter, Hardy go back-to-back in second round

By   |   Saturday, Apr. 26, 2008 - 6:37 PM   |   11 comments

New Orleans took Tracy Porter with pick No. 40, followed moments later by Buffalo picking Indiana’s James Hardy with No. 41.

Porter, a Louisiana native, is probably thrilled to get to play so close to home.

The take from the guys on ESPN is that Hardy will have a chance to play right away at Buffalo.

A good call on Porter by one of our posters, Dynasty, who suggested in a comment that Porter would go mid-second round as Mel Kiper predicted. A lot of other draft prognosticators had Porter lower, but Kiper and Dynasty had it right.

————

This is the first year since 1990, according to ESPN, that no wide receivers were picked in the first round. But in the second round, there were three wide receivers among the top five picks: 2. (33 overall) Donnie Avery of Houston to St. Louis, 3. (34 overall) Devin Thomas of Michigan State to Washington, 5. (36 overall) Jordy Nelson of Kansas State to Green Bay.

————

With the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft just completed, Indiana’s James Hardy and Tracy Porter are still waiting to be picked.

Hardy, according to most prognosticators, has a good chance to hear his name called in the second round, while Porter is more likely to be picked Sunday when rounds 3-7 will be held.

Four Big Ten players were picked in the first round, including two to the Jets:

1. LT Jake Long of Michigan to the Miami Dolphins

6. DE Vernon Gholston of Ohio State to the New York Jets

23. RB Rashard Mendenhall of Illinois to the Pittsburgh Steelers

30. TE Dustin Keller of Purdue to the New York Jets



Crean at Top 100 camp

By   |   Saturday, Apr. 26, 2008 - 3:20 PM   |   8 comments

Indiana coach Tom Crean and assistant coach Tim Buckley are out recruiting at the Top 100 camp at Ben Davis High School this afternoon.

Among the players at the camp are 6-8, four-star Indiana recruit Derek Elston from Tipton and uncommitted Bloomington South guard Jordan Hulls, who made an unofficial visit to IU’s program this week. Both are in the class of 2009.

Chris Korman is at the camp and will have further details for you later today.





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