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Tag:Tom Crean
Posted on: March 8, 2012 4:41 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 4:55 pm
 

Crean on Verdell Jones' injury: 'It's not good'

The extent of Verdell Jones III's knee injury isn't known, but Tom Crean didn't sound optimistic. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

The final week before Selection Sunday has not been kind to the Big Ten. On Sunday, Michigan State freshman Branden Dawson went down with a torn ACL. There was more bad news on Thursday.

Indiana senior guard Verdell Jones suffered a knee injury in the Hoosiers’ win over Penn State. The extent of the injury is unknown right now, but it didn’t look good. Jones went to jump stop on a fast break, and immediately went down. It didn’t sound good, and he was grimacing in pain.

Shana Daniels, an assistant media relations director at Indiana, tweeted that it was a sprained knee and he would be evaluated further.

In the postgame, head coach Tom Crean didn’t sound nearly as optimistic when discussing the injury on his postgame radio show.

“It’s not good,” he said, nearing tears. “It’s not good. Just got to hope of the best.”

Jones, a 6-foot-5 senior, has played an integral part in Indiana’s revival this season. His scoring numbers are down since earlier in his career, but he’s still distributing fairly well. Moreover, his leadership has been a key with the younger players. Jones averaged 7.8 points and 3.2 assists this season.

We’ll have more on this as more information is released.

Posted on: February 15, 2012 10:50 pm
 

From 20 Ls to 20 Ws, Indiana's made the big turn

Crean got his first 20-win season in five years tonight. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Matt Norlander

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — There are checkmarks to this season (which now seems like, no matter what happens come March, will be one of the most rewarding Tom Crean will ever have) and the most significant one so far came Wednesday night.

The first checkmark, the one no one talks about, was getting out of November with an undefeated record. That was certainly a surprise lost amid the college and pro football and other early-season storylines in college basketball. Then came the Christian Watford 3 to beat Kentucky (still the only loss UK has this season), a dynamite explosion of a shot that’s already considered among the biggest shots in the history of Indiana University basketball. After that, the New Year’s Eve 74-70 home win over Big Ten favorite Ohio State.

Wednesday night brought Crean a 71-66 win over Northwestern, and thus a 20-win season, his first at Indiana in four years. There was  a fuss, a real big fuss, made about the three 20-loss seasons that came before this unprecedented lopsided one in the opposite direction for Crean and his Crimson crew. It came against the perfect opponent, too. Northwestern had caused Crean’s hair to act as a stress doll in years past. His clubs were 1-6 against the Wildcats prior to Wednesday night. Those younger, greener Hoosiers couldn’t defend NU, couldn’t outsmart Bill Carmody’s crew and weren’t good enough to muscle their way past them.

Not Wednesday night. Crean was thrilled with the W not just because it was a win, but because, so many times in a two-hour span, his defense came up with a play to stymie Northwestern’s deceitful attack. And yet the Wildcats were still successful for a large portion of the night. Stopping the slicing backdoor cuts at a 50-percent rate instead of a 65-percent rate is a huge difference against Northwestern. Crean’s team prepared and had enough talent, stamina and discipline to get one of those proud, finally-we-DID-this games, the celebrations and accomplishments that carry more weight in the locker room than with the fan base.

You might think, Oh, it’s just Northwestern. But think about the 1-6 record and the 20-loss seasons and the calls for Crean’s job two years into this tenure. Wins over Kentucky and Ohio State are enthralling and can fly a man home, but it’s because they are expected. Sticking to task and finally — fin-a-lly — winning the way you want to against a team that’s a nightmare of a matchup: just as rewarding.

The Hoosiers came up with answers, but they also came out of the tunnel with Cody Zeller, a component blatantly missing prior to this season. The Indiana freshman who’s playing like one of the five best in the nation had 23 points and seven boards on 9-of-11 shooting in — well isn’t that nice — 30 minutes of play. (There was foul trouble for Zeller, but Victor Oladipo and Christian Watford each contributed 12.)

“It’s the spirit of the defense,” Crean said. "That spirit of the defense and how our attitude has changed."

This team reminds him of his 2005-06 Marquette squad. Crean wears the NCAA tournament watch from that season. It's a simple ticker with a leather strap and gold trim. Without looking closely, you'd never know it was anything special But it's been Crean's reminder this year that he once had a similar team do so much when, initially, little was anticipated. That '05-'06 group was picked to finish 12th in the Big East. Ultimate result? A 10-6 year in the league, a 20-11 record and a seven seed in the tournament. It fell in the first round to Alabama.

This team’s more talented than that group but it’s exceeding expectations just the same.

“[Getting to 20 wins] is not an exclamation point … but it is a bench mark,” he said.

Though it was already going, Indiana essentially locked up a tournament bid Wednesday night. It’s on course to earn a bid that gives it geographic favoritism (reward to the top five seeds in each region) when the bracket is released in less than a month.

It’s a talented group that’s gotten punched in the Big Ten and regressed, somewhat, at some times, to the team it was expected to be this season. More often than not, it’s played beyond that, though. Crean’s coaching himself to a memorable season no matter the outcome.

“We keep getting better. I keep telling people that,” he said.

Many didn’t or still don’t believe that. But the evidence is mountain and Indiana’s now too talented, too experience and too promising to dip back down to those first three years. But no one wants to talk about those 20-losses seasons now.

Crean wouldn’t mind having the conversation. Tangible culmination took place at Assembly Hall Wednesday night. Indiana's made it's big turn toward sustained national relevance and likely continued success. Whatever happens from now through the end of March is more for the scrapbook in an unforgettable year for this program and its grinder of a coach.

Posted on: January 1, 2012 10:14 am
 

Indiana proving Hoosier Hysteria for real

By Jeff Goodman

First it was Kentucky. Now Ohio State. 

It's about time we start taking Indiana seriously. 

When I made a stop in Bloomington back in October, I knew this was a team that was set to improve upon the last struggles of the past few years. Will Sheehey had made a serious jump from his freshman season and Tom Crean added the most significant recruit in his tenure - talented freshman big man Cody Zeller. 

But I didn't see this coming. 

No one did. 

Hoosier Hysteria is officially back. I was still cautious, even after the win over Kentucky three weeks ago, not quite ready to declare the Hoosiers a lock to make the NCAA tournament. Could a program that had won just eight league games over Crean's first three seasons in Bloomington turn it around so quickly in Big Ten play?

There was the opener at the Breslin Center in East Lansing against Michigan State. Although the Hoosiers lost, they did it in impressive fashion. They took an early punch from the Spartans before delivering one of their own. Yes, they wound up leaving 0-1 in conference play, but this group showed it was mentally resilient. 

There are those who still want to see if this group can sustain this throughout Big Ten play, especially on the road, but as long as Crean & Co. win six more games in the league, Indiana is a lock to make the NCAA tourney. 

It sure looks as though I was wrong in my prediction this team would be headed to an NIT berth. 

Fans aren't the only ones that can relax that this program is headed in the right direction, either. Crean can finally relax. His future as IU's coach is secure. They'll be no more Brad Stevens-to-Bloomington thoughts around these parts. 

I questioned the backcourt of Jordan Hulls and Verdell Jones. I questioned whether Christian Watford was consistent enough. I questioned the depth after the Hoosiers lost Mo Creek. Well, Indiana is 13-1 with wins over two of the elite teams in America. 

Sure, there will be excuses from some. The two wins were in front of raucous crowds in Bloomington. Terrence Jones didn't show up in the UK game and Ohio State was plagued by foul trouble on Saturday. Well, Indiana was without Sheehey against the Buckeyes. 

The bottom line here is that Indiana has earned a spot in the top half of the Top 25 - and it's only going to get better in Bloomington. 

Posted on: November 27, 2011 9:42 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2011 9:47 pm
 

Tom Crean gets biggest win in tenure over Butler

By Jeff Goodman

Tom Crean will sleep well tonight. Maybe he won't even have Brad Stevens nightmares any longer. 

The Indiana coach, in his fourth season since taking over one of the most storied programs in the country, watched his Hoosiers team pull away from Stevens'  Butler Bulldogs on Sunday night fr a 75-59 win. 

This was a huge victory for Crean. In fact, I'll go as far as to say it was the most important in his IU tenure, largely because he ended up on the winning end against Stevens - a guy who many still believe could wind up replacing him in Bloomington if the Hoosiers don't continue to make steady progress. 

Indiana had won five consecutive games to start the season, but it wasn't exactly Murderer's Row. 

The Hoosiers knocked off Stony Brook, Chattanooga, Evansville, Savannah State and Gardner-Webb - by an average of more than 25 points per game. 

Crean's group ran its record to 6-0 against a mediocre Butler team, but that was somewhat irrelevant. 

Because Crean had to win this one. 

He's jealous and/or envious of Stevens - just like nearly every other coach in America that has watched the Boy Wonder make two consecutive national title game appearances. But it's different for Crean because he's supposed to own the state - and yet it's been Butler who have been the darlings in Indiana. 

The win total has climbed from six to 10 to 12 over the first three years in the Crean Era - and the Hoosiers have gotten out of the gates without a blemish thus far. 

This team is more talented than the first three. Freshman Cody Zeller is a future pro, Will Sheehey, who went for a career-high 21 against Butler, has made significant strides since his freshman campaign and the backcourt of Verdell Jones and Jordan Hulls has been solid. Christian Watford no longer has to be "The Guy" and that's exactly what Crean needs in order to finish in the top half of the Big Ten. 

The schedule certainly gets more difficult over the next few weeks with N.C. State, Kentucky and Notre Dame on the slate prior to the start of Big Ten play. 

However, Crean needed this one. Badly.


Photo: AP
Posted on: November 9, 2011 2:47 pm
 

Indiana takes most significant step in Crean era

By Jeff Goodman

Indiana coach Tom Crean has waited nearly 1,100 days for this.

Sure, the Hoosiers signed the youngest of the Zeller brothers, Cody, a year ago - and while he was unquestionably the most important piece of Crean's semi-recent recruiting success, he was just that.

A piece.

Today marks what could be the return of IU basketball.

Crean will have a trio of Top 50 kids ink in the Class of 2012: Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell, a point guard who should have the ball in his hands the day he arrives in Bloomington; Hanner Perea, an athletic power forward who was coveted by no shortage of high-major schools; and Jeremy Hollowell, a 6-foot-6 scorer.

This could be the group that ultimately saves Crean his job.

Ferrell is the most critical piece that Crean will bring in and not just because of his ranking. No disrespect to Verdell Jones, but Ferrell is a major upgrade at the point guard spot. In fact, he's the second-highest rated floor leader in the nation (behind Providence-bound Kris Dunn).

Perea is something that Indiana doesn't have: a physical, hard-playing athlete on the frontline that will run the court, rebound the ball and block shots.

Hollowell is an enigma due to his inconsistent effort, but at worst case he'll give Crean depth at the wing.

Arizona's class may be ranked higher, but no one needed the Class of 2012 more than Crean and Indiana.

It's a program that has been in a state of rebuilding since the day Crean took over and while some expect the Hoosiers to take a step forward this season with the addition of Zeller, it's unlikely that Indiana makes any noise nationally.

But that could change a year from now.

More on recruiting
Crean didn't just go out and get any three players, either. Ferrell and Hollowell are in-state kids - and Perea, who hails from Columbia, has been at a prep school in Indiana for the last couple years.

He's making strides to do what the head coach in Bloomington has no choice but to do in order to make IU a national player again.

Lock down the state - or at least make it cool to play at Indiana again.

Crean has struggled to gain any on-court momentum in his first three seasons in Bloomington - so much so that many - including myself - have speculated that Butler's Brad Stevens is waiting in the wings if Crean doesn't soon make progress.

The Hoosiers should take a step forward this season on the court - but today was the most significant step that Indiana has displayed in the Crean Era.

Photo: US Presswire
Posted on: October 11, 2011 8:26 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2011 8:28 pm
 

Report: Crean committed secondary violation

By Matt Norlander

Approaching what's going to be a critical season for he and the Indiana basketball program, Hoosiers coach Tom Crean has had a rough past couple of days.

The season-ending Achilles injury to Mo Creek set the squad back, and now comes a report from ESPN.com's Pat Forde that Crean made illegal contact with a recruit one day after the contact period ended, which was Oct. 5. The recruit in question is Gary Harris, a 2012 guard ranked No. 22 overall by CBSSports.com.

In a statement released Tuesday, the school said, "Coach Crean immediately reported an inadvertent recruiting contact violation to our compliance office, and we are following our normal procedures."

The school says in its report that Crean visited the unnamed student-athlete at an Indianapolis-area high school on Thursday, Oct. 6. According to the NCAA recruiting calendar, the contact period ended Oct. 5.

Indiana's self-report said assistant coach Tim Buckley recognized the calendar error later that day and reported it the same day to the IU compliance office. The school then contacted the NCAA that same day as well. After consulting with NCAA enforcement representative Chris Strobel, the school docked itself two days on the recruiting trail as punishment for the violation.

The violation is minor, and in reality happens nearly as frequently as impermissible phone calls. But given the sensitive nature at Indiana, where Kelvin Sampson brought upon much controversy to he and the school, every infraction is taken extra seriously. The Hoosiers do not get off probation from the Sampson era until next month, Nov. 24.

Harris is also being courted by Kentucky, Purdue and, most notably, Michigan State. The Spartans are of course coached by Tom Izzo, who is a mentor to Crean, as the IU coach once served as an assistant to Izzo at MSU more than a decade ago.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: October 10, 2011 1:43 pm
 

Crean wants Bob Knight to make return to Indiana



By Matt Norlander


For Indiana, the upcoming basketball year signifies something special: the 25th anniversary of the '87 title team. It's the squad that won a championship in one of the most dramatic ways in the sport's history, thanks to Keith Smart's floating 17-footer in the closing seconds against Syracuse in the Superdome. It's also the last Indiana team to win a national championship in men's basketball.

That group was coached, of course, by Bob Knight, who won three titles for the cream and crimson in his 29 seasons there.

The school plans to honor that team at some point this year. The details and dates have not been finalized yet. As of now, there are no plans for Knight to return to campus and partake in the celebration. Current Hoosiers coach Tom Crean would love to change that.

"I would hope Bob Knight knows he has a 365-day invitation to come back," Crean said by phone. "For him to come back, that’s totally up to him. I wouldn’t hesitate in welcoming him back -- there's no question about that. And if we knew he was coming back, I’d be running out there opening the doors.”

Crean has coached Indiana since 2008. He was insistent about his willingness and eagerness to bring Knight back to the place that embraced him, faults and all, throughout his dramatic coaching tenure in Bloomington.

Ever since Knight was fired in 2000 by former Indiana president Myles Brand, a frost has thickened between he and the school. Two years ago, a dispute over $75,000 owed to Knight by the Indiana University only emphasized the schism between the Hall of Fame coach and one of the bluebloods of college basketball -- two circumstances that may have never come to be without the pairing of each other.

Reunions aren't something Knight is allergic to. In January, he returned to Ohio State -- where he played basketball from 1959-62 -- for just the second time outside of his coaching career. Ohio State will honor Knight this season during a Dec. 20 game, when his son, Pat, coaches his Lamar squad against Thad Matta's Buckeyes.

As for Indiana, it's going to take much more than Tom Crean's open invitation to get Knight back to the school. But who better to blast the "COME BACK, BOB" message than Crean? In order for the '87 team to truly get its proper celebration at some point this season, the coach of that team must be there. For that to happen, egos must be inhibited, grudges tossed aside and Bob Knight, who will soon be 71 years old, needs to muscle up and bury the hatchet.

Photos: AP, US PRESSWIRE
Posted on: September 8, 2011 12:29 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2011 12:34 pm
 

Random act of kindness from IU's Crean



By Gary Parrish


Tom Crean has struggled to rebuild Indiana while rival programs flourish all around him.

That's a tough, tough deal.

John Calipari has Kentucky operating at a different level than almost everybody, Brad Stevens has turned Butler into a national brand, and Matt Painter has established himself as one of the nation's premier coaches at Purdue. Meantime, Crean has gone 8-46 in the Big Ten through his first three years at IU. But fans still remain hopeful because recruiting is now going very well.

And stories like this don't hurt either ...
[There is student] at Indiana [who] was finding his adjustment to college a difficult one. Crean saw the young man sitting in the lobby of the basketball practice facility recently and noticed him a couple of times as he went in and out of the basketball offices. He also noticed that the young man appeared to be very upset. Crean invited the student into his office and proceeded to hear his story and counseled the young man on how difficult the transition to college can be and encouraged him to stick with it. He also introduced the student to the rest of his staff and he got him an opportunity to work around the basketball program as a member of the athletic department.
That's a story from David Kaplan at CSNChicago.com that I stumbled upon thanks to ESPN.com's Eamonn Brennan.

A reader apparently called Kaplan and relayed the tale.

Kaplan called Crean for comment.

Crean declined.

But here's the rest of Kaplan's post.
The young man had turned off his cell phone after telling his parents that he needed to take a walk and think and his parents were very worried when they were unable to reach him. When Crean inquired as to whether the young man had spoken with his parents recently the young man said no. Crean called the parents, gave them his personal contact information and told them he would look out for their son. After arranging for a job in the athletic department the young man is reported to be doing very well and has adjusted to life away from home.
Will stories like this help Crean challenge Tom Izzo, Thad Matta and Bo Ryan in the Big Ten?

Of course not.

But it sure is a helluva nice story.

And my guess is that even the IU fans who are tired of losing smiled a bit when they read it.

Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Category: NCAAB
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com