You can check out the questions and answers from today’s Indiana sports chat here.
We tackle questions about Tom Crean, Armon Bassett and Jamarcus Ellis, Jordan Crawford, Eric Gordon, Kyle Kozak, IU’s assistant basketball coaches and others.
There’s so much news to be had today, but I thought I’d give you a run down of some things that have interested me today:
- Jamarcus Ellis and Armon Bassett, the guards who were recently ousted from the team by interim coach Dan Dakich, were not invited to the team meeting with Crean this morning.
- Eric Gordon, the freshman guard who is currently trying to decide whether or not to jump to the NBA, did not attend the meeting. I spoke with his father, Eric Gordon Sr., earlier today and was told that Eric will announce on Friday a plan — a plan — for the next week or so. He’s not going to make his final decision known but instead outline some of his thoughts about how he’ll come to whatever conclusion he comes to. Gordon Sr. said that what Tom Crean has to say — the new coach has expressed a desire to meet with Gordon — will not play heavily into E.J.’s decision. “What he’s doing is making a decision about what’s best for him,” Gordon Sr. said. “He’s got to make the right decision for his own future based on what’s going to help him the most.”
- Crean knows he will be re-recruiting most of the current players. He said that they were quiet when he met them during the 10 a.m. meeting today. But that’s what he expected. He hopes to meet with them individually in the coming days.
- Eli Holman, the 6-9 center out of Richmond, Calif., will fly home Friday night and meet with family and friends to discuss his future. He said he was not currently leaning toward staying or going. Jordan Crawford said he will take some time to ponder his future, too. Those were the only two players who attended the announcement today.
- Lawrence McGugins, the AAU coach and trusted adviser to top recruit Devin Ebanks, believes Indiana made a solid hire by grabbing Crean. “He’s won in a major conference, one of the top conferences,” he told me today. “He’s a good catch, a great coach. He knows what he’s doing in running a program all around.” Ebanks is waiting to hear from Crean before moving forward with his decision. The 6-9 wing from New York City is also considering Memphis, Rutgers, Texas and West Virginia.
- Crean hasn’t had time to even consider who he’ll try to hire to fill out his coaching staff. He plans on speaking with the current coaches â€” Dakich, Ray McCallum and Jeff Meyer â€” sometime soon. He’s also keeping his assistants from Marquette in mind, and two of those have (what’s the best word here?) interesting ties to the Indiana situation. Tim Buckley actually took over for Ray McCallum in 2000 when McCallum left his alma mater, Ball State, for the Houston job. Buckley had spent several years as McCallum’s top assistant, and last year was on Steve Alford’s staff at Iowa. Bennie Seltzer played for Kelvin Sampson at Washington State, then became an assistant on Sampson’s staff at Oklahoma after a short pro career. He spent nine years as Sampson’s assistant but went to Marquette when Sampson left for Indiana.
We’ve uploaded the audio from ten different interviews â€” two with Crean, one with Eli Holman and others â€” conducted by Herald-Times reporters today. There’s also a Vodcast discussing the events of the day.
To check out our first news story with the highlights of today’s press conference, click here.
After today’s Tom Crean announcement, H-T reporter Ryan Dammeyer interviewed Indiana player Jordan Crawford, who attended the press conference. Here’s what Crawford has to say on his future at IU and Crean:
On him possibly leaving IU:
â€œOf course it crossed my mind, because the coach I came here for is gone, so it had to cross my mind, and I thought about it and still think about it. Iâ€™m gonna meet with the coach and then go from there. I donâ€™t know if heâ€™ll have to say anything (to get me to stay). I just want to get to know him and him get to know me. And I know he knows a little bit about me. Like he said, heâ€™s gonna watch film on the season. Thatâ€™s cool, he could help develop.â€
On Armon Bassett and Jamarcus Ellis:
â€œA lot of people say certain things about â€˜em, but I see â€˜em every day and I know â€˜em. I know theyâ€™re good kids...I think it was all just a misunderstanding. I think theyâ€™re very excited. Jamarcus had no intentions of leaving at all. Armon loves playing with everbody on this team...Jamarcus, first of all heâ€™s a junior. Heâ€™s gonna be a senior next year so itâ€™d be hard for him to leave. Heâ€™s been talking since we lost that he wanted to stay. I think heâ€™s a very good kid who wants to take a second chance.â€
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That’s a wrap on the press conference. We’ll be doing interviews now and get back to you with more updates this afternoon.
Marquette had only 600 student season ticket holders when he started there, Crean said. The first meeting he held with students, “Crean and Coffee,” he had only 17 students showed up. But that grew tremendously. Crean said he will be active in meeting students and letting them know how much he appreciates them.
Crean said the in talking with Devin Ebanks and Terrell Holloway, his plan will be to tell them about why he’s at Indiana and what it will take in terms of commitment and work ethic to succeed. He plans to visit with them quickly and to get to know IU’s current players. Those are priorities right away.
Crean said everything has happened too fast to know what he’s going to do with assistant coaches, whether they’ll be from Marquette, from the current IU staff or include people with an Indiana background. He said he needs coaches who will be incredibly loyal, passionnate, skilled and will work incredibly hard. “I don’t care if they wear a watch, but I don’t want them looking at it all the time.”
IU’s recruiting will be inside-out, Crean said, starting with Indiana, building through the Midwest and then the nation. He said players in the state need to know that Indiana has been the university and the team that’s been the focus of his state for so many years.
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IU has just distributed a news release announcing Crean’s hiring as Indiana’s 28th men’s basketball coach. It announces that Crean and IU have agreed to an eight-year $18.24 million deal that will pay him an average of $2.3 million per season.
Here are some of the quotes from the release:
“I am very pleased to have a coach of Tom Crean’s quality come to Indiana University to lead our men’s basketball program,” IU president Michael McRobbie said. “Coach Crean has had great success on the court but he is also known for his community involvement and his commitment to the academic success of players. I am very pleased to welcome him to Indiana.”
“I am so appreciative of the commitment to excellence that Tom has demonstrated in the past and the many outstanding qualities, experiences and attributes that he possess that will help us achieve our goals of academic and athletic excellence in our basketball program,” IU athletic director Rick Greenspan said.
“The committee considered a wide range of excellent candidates and we are confident that in Tom Crean, we found a coach who will be a great fit for Indiana,” search committee chair Harry Gonso said.
“I cannot begin to tell you how excited we are to join the Indiana University family,” Crean said. “This is one of the elite institutions and basketball programs in America and we take the responsibility of upholding that tradition very seriously. We want to build a program that the people of Indiana can be proud of, both on and off the basketball court.”