Scout.com is reporting that Georgia defensive end Fred Jones has given a verbal commitment to Indiana.
Jones, a 6-5, 235-pounder, visited Bloomington recently. He becomes the 18th player to give a public verbal. Players planning to join the class of 2007 can begin signing their letters-of-intent on Feb. 7.
Jones told John Decker that he chose Indiana over Marshall because of the business school and because he thinks he may be able to play early.
We’ll have more on this story on Wednesday.
That’s a final. Indiana probably got a little high on itself coming off the five-game win streak and first appearance of the year in the rankings.
Check out the audio of Kelvin Sampson’s press conference in the post above.
And remember to join us for our chat at 11 a.m. tomorrow (link also above.)
2:10, second half: Illinois 45, Indiana 37
That dunk by Pruitt finishes it.
If Indiana can come back from that it means they’re either pretty special or Illinois chokes.
3:37, second half: Illinois 41, Indiana 37
Sampson is still yelling for his team to get it inside to D.J. White, despite the double-teams he’s encountering.
7:01, second half: Illinois 37, Indiana 35
Stemler just passed up a 3-pointer and in doing so pissed Sampson off. See what I’m saying about how hard it is to balance out the offense?
Anyway, Bassett was in there at point guard running things there and that seemed to give Illinois a little bit of trouble. He chances pace a little bit better than Calloway.
Earl’s back in the game now.
9:05, second half: Illinois 37, Indiana 33
When the Hoosiers are in the right position they’re getting good shots. Otherwise, they’re not.
11:33, second half: Illinois 35, Indiana 25
Two nice moves by D.J. White down low to keep his team in it. That’s what Sampson wanted. It’s a tough thing for him: he doesn’t want to discourage the 3-point shot, especially when it’s working, but he needs his team to be patient at the same time.
15:19, second half: Illinois 31, Indiana 23
Sampson wasn’t happy with the quick 3 Stemler took, and yelled at him when he came back down the court.
This time Stemler got the ball and immediately lobbed it into D.J. White, who had it tipped away and out of bounds.
So Sampson still wants them to work the inside at this point.
16:52, second half: Illinois 31, Indiana 23
Armon Bassett just missed a few assignments — although one was on a pretty scrambled play — and was yanked as the Illini have turned to the 3-point shot to try to break it open.
18:01, second half: Illinois 25, Indiana 23
Once again, Indiana’s not been very good in the paint. That almost got them against UConn; it might do the job today.
Illinois outscored the Hoosiers 12-2 in the paint in the first half, and then center Shaun Pruitt opened the second half with a close shot, and then a board and putback.
Half: Indiana 23, Illinois 23
Don’t know if you could tell, but the fans here booed Sampson heartily when he was interviewed by Erin Andrews.
By the way, what’s all the hype with her? Basketball knowledge?
1:16, first half: Indiana 21, Illinois 20
It’s been a while since Indiana’s offense looked this out of it. They’re usually fairly consistent…never too explosive, never too dull. Illinois is taking a lot of what they want to do away, and the Hoosiers are forcing shots.
5:23, first half: Indiana 19, Illinois 14
Indiana has 13 rebounds to Illinois’ 6.
7:02, first half: Indiana 19, Illinois 14
Quick note before we go any further: A.J. Ratliff has been in the game, but he does have a much heftier wrap on his left wrist. He must have tweaked it against UConn.
D.J. White was taking his first-half break — he only gets one, maybe two a half — and Indiana managed to have good defensive presence low. Illinois tried to drive a few times and a combination of Joey Shaw, Lance Stemler and Mike White were there to defend the basket.
11:34, first half: Indiana 18, Illinois 11
I’m going to pick on Doug a bit here, which is a bad idea since he’s my boss. But let’s go with it.
He said as we were walking into the alien spaceship/Illinois’ Assembly Hall that he thought the Hoosiers would finally have an off night shooting the ball.
Well, half of their points have come from behind the 3-point arc so far, with three different players hitting.
They’re in trouble defensively in the paint, though. The Illini have enough strength down there to get shots and boards and draw fouls.
15:28, first half: Indiana 11, Illinois 7
D.J. White off to a big start. Has hit a couple of jumpers and just grabbed his second big offensive board and was fouled. He’ll go to the line.
The Illinois fans haven’t been that bad so far, really. No reference to Gordon at all as of yet.
Back to the Calloway, Bassett, Wilmont, Stemler and D.J. White starting lineup for the Hoosiers.
Sampson went straight for the handshake as the Orange Krush booed him and held up cell phones.
Weber was talking to a player but broke away for the quick hand clasp and nothing more. Sampson gave Weber the old shoulder slap as he passed by. I do this to people I dislike, too.
And now they know I don’t like them. Whoops.
OK, OK. In all seriousness, it was quick. But probably not all that out of the ordinary. Sampson said the other day that he doesn’t know Weber “personally.” So they probably don’t have too much to chat about before a game.
If you notice a lack of signs held up by the Illinois fans directed derogatorily at Kelvin Sampson, it’s not because they didn’t bring them.
It’s because Illinois officials have been confiscating them.
A sampling follows. Some we’ve seen before.
“Sampson called me” — Real original.
“Sampson recruited me, too.” — Probably not. You’re 5-7, 240.
“Sampson hired me.” — This one ain’t bad. Poking fun of the fact Sampson just happened to hire a bunch of guys who had strong ties to Gordon.
“Don’t call me, Kelvin. I’ll call you soon.” — This one refers to the fact that Sampson can’t currently call recruits, only take their calls. Eh. Not doing much.
I expected better.
6:02 PM — Still getting some news about Eli. I’m expecting to talk to him within the hour and also have contacted the Richmond detective who is conducting the investigation.
When I heard this story this morning I was as skeptical as anyone. But as more information continues to come, it sounds more and more like Holman was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Two days before your 13-month suspension is going to be overturned and you get shot by someone you’ve never met?
It’s hard for us Hoosiers to believe, but after talking to Lonnie Coleman at length, this is life in Richmond. Coleman said five people in his graduating class from Richmond High were killed. He also told stories of Terrence Kelly, who had a full athletic scholarship to the University of Oregon before he was gunned down out of jealousy.
I’m not trying to stand up for Holman as much as I am trying to explain the circumstances. This isn’t like Holman got shot in the Union Hotel parking lot. Holman was excited about going to this party because he RARELY goes out. That’s how dangerous Richmond is.
I just got off the phone with Lonnie Coleman. He gave me some information to dispel a lot of the rumors circulating about Eli Holman right now.
- Eli is fine. He has already resumed playing basketball.
- Holman wasn’t exactly going to a “shady” party. It was a birthday party for one of the girls he knew on the basketball team. He was shot around 9:45 PM on Saturday — by no means the middle of the night.
- Fortunately, the bullet bounced off Eli’s back and didn’t penetrate his body. He felt a burning sensation and was in a lot of pain and he called Coleman almost immediately after being shot. They met at the hospital.
- The Richmond police have caught the shooters. Three out of the four people the Richmond police detained are minors. They were caught with several guns and also a large amount of drugs.
Another update will be coming shortly.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have fired head coach Dwane Casey and announced that former IU star Randy Wittman will be taking over head coaching duties.
Wittman was serving as the top assistant coach under Casey and inherits a team desperate for guidance. Before serving as the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers for two seasons (62-102), Wittman was an assistant coach for a total of nine seasons with Minnesota.
He also served as an assistant coach for the Indiana Pacers (1992) and the Dallas Mavericks (1993).
During his playing days at IU, Wittman helped the Hoosiers win the 1981 NCAA Championship. He was inducted into the IU Hall of Fame in 1995 and was voted onto Indiana’s Silver Anniversary Team in 1996.
Wittman was also rumored last spring as a possible replacement to fill the head coaching position at IU, but nothing ever materialized.
Sampson believes Illinois isÂ good. Really, really good.
Of course, no coach in the country would say anything other than that about a team they have to face.
He’s never been in their building, but he expects it to be full and loud.Â
Sampson wants a rule passed that prohibits cameras from being pointed at coaches during the game. He wants all the film to be of the players and fans, because he thinks they’re the most important.
Agreed. But the fans care about coaches. They’re the leaders of the program.Â
Kelvin Sampson’s evolution, according to Kelvin Sampson:
“The biggest thing is I’ve recruited better. Don’t ever confuse success with coaching. I’ve learned a long time ago that coaches lose games, coaches win ‘em. I’ve never seen a coach who didn’t recruit and coach good players.”Â
But Sampson is also careful to point out that sometimes we confuse great athletes with great basketball players. There’s got to be a balance he says.
Sampson thinks he’s doing a better job of finding tough, smart kids who want to be coached.
More talk about the first year at Oklahoma, when Sampson took a team no one was too sure about and had aÂ strong year.
Eventually,Â he got around to answering an age-old question: howÂ can a school have success in both of the big sports, football and basketball?
He thinks it has to do with the administration, and how it treats the programs. They’ve got to be treated right: have top-rate facilities, bring in good people, etc.Â
Kelvin is reminiscing about the day Billy Tubbs resigned from Oklahoma. When his wife heard the news, she said, “They’re going to call you, and that’s going to be the one.”
The Sooners did eventually call, and Sampson did eventually take the job. Up to that point he hadÂ wanted to stay at Washington State, where he hadÂ his entire team returning.Â
Sampson looks at administrators in two ways: facilitators and inhibitors.
Some help the program get better and others try to skimp on the budget.
He credits the folks at Washington state for being facilitators during his years there, where he says he had the chance to learn on the job.
“Some of our kids aren’t naturally hard-nosed and tough. The kids who are have to carry us.”
That’sÂ Sampson discussing how difficult this time of year can be, with so much travel and so manyÂ games on the road.Â
Sampson believes other teams have figured out Lance Stemler. It took them a while, but now there’s a book on the JUCO transfer.
“He’s not the greatest athlete in the world,” Sampson said.
Stemler didn’t play much against Connecticut because he didn’t matchup well with the rock-solidÂ UConn forward Jeff Adrien.Â
Sampson is now talking about his approach to people. He doesn’t like to look at what a person doesn’t do. He wants to look at what they can do.
This is in relation to Rod Wilmont. Don Fischer wanted Sampson to reiterate what he talked about last Thursday. “Fish,” as Sampson calls him, said he didn’t think he’d seen it written about.
Both the Indy Star and The Herald-Times wrote stories on Wilmont the next day.
“Can you imagine getting beat on the boards like that and turning it over? That’s how you get beat by 30.”Â – Sampson on the Connecticut game
Sampson said his team needs to improve on rebounding coming off the Connecticut game.
He said the Hoosiers aren’t a great team, and that they’ll always have something to work on. Seems pretty reasonable.
He was happy that his team turned the ball over just four times in the second half on the road.
Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson is having a radio show tonight, though it won’t be held at Yogi’s and there won’t be any callers. It’s just him and the announcer because the team is already in Illinois preparing for the game Tuesday.
Indiana media relations spokesman Jeff Keag said today that guard A.J. Ratliff will probably play against Illinois Tuesday night.
Ratliff tore a ligament in his left wrist earlier this year and has been troubled by it ever since. He sat most of the second half in Indiana’s win against Connecticut on Saturday.
Illinois also has a few injuries to deal with. Check out this entry from beat writer Paul Klee on the News-Gazette’s blog.