Tag:Tom Crean
Posted on: May 26, 2011 3:00 pm
Edited on: May 26, 2011 3:04 pm

Investigation sheds light on Indiana AAU team

Posted by Matt Norlander

Before I get to the beef of this post, I want to share a feeling with you.

As I grow older in life and in this profession, I appreciate and love investigative journalism more and more. The reasons for this are simple: good investigative reporting is incredibly hard to do, so when people do it right and do it well, I want to hunt them down and bow to them for their public service and diligence. Without the gumption and dedication of these men and women, corruption, immorality and deceit would be much more prevalent in our worlds, from sports to politics to business to schools and beyond.

Think about it: When you're an investigating a story that's got a taboo to it, no matter the subject, people are constantly dodging you, quite possibly lying to you. Cell phones suddenly don't work. E-mails get sent into the ether, sometimes never to get a reply. Getting folks on the record -- the ones who don't have an axe to grind -- is no easy task. Quite often, an investigative reporter parachutes themselves into a situation where they have little or no contacts. Their reputation precedes them, so most aren't exactly eager to have a Woodward clone show up at their door. Gathering information and culling it can take months before dividends start to pay off.

It is, very much, a slow boil.

ESPN.com saw its water turn to bubbles recently, as Mike Fish compiled a pretty significant series of stories, all of which were released this afternoon, spearheaded by its spotlight piece, "Basketball Ties That Bind." Fish sheds a lot of light on Indiana Elite, the AAU team that's recently been spoon feeding Indiana University with a slew of highly ranked recruits. It's because of this, most likely, that Hoosiers coach Tom Crean (right) still has a job. Crean has had to clean up Kelvin Sampson's mess, but he's still not doing a lot of winning; the fans are becoming increasingly itchy.

Fish's story details Indiana Elite and its coach, Mark Adams, who runs something known as A-HOPE, a program that mainly recruits African-born players to the United States with the intention of giving them a better life -- through basketball. A-HOPE is a registered non-profit organization with the IRS, something Adams claims he's put hundreds of thousands of dollars into. Fish's story, however, does a fantastic job of showing just how much time and effort is given to getting these players into high-level programs, most notably Indiana, and how there seem to be myriad perceptions of Adams, A-HOPE and Indiana Elite.  

There's been an increasing amount of suspicion among the college basketball community that Adams has been intentionally funneling players to colleges of his choice; Indiana is only the most recent target. The skeptics recently took on more gasoline for their fires when Adams' son, Drew, was hired in April of 2010 as a video coordinator with the Hoosiers.

Let it be clear: the story does not try to untangle Indiana's recruiting tactics or indict Crean in any way. This is about the practices of Adams and how he runs his teams. There are many coaches in the business who don't favor Adams because they've felt they've lost out on countless recruits due to Adams' influence.

His connections and motives, he says, are clear and pure. But others in the high school and collegiate basketball communities keep asking questions: What about Adams' ties to Indiana University basketball and about how his son got a job under coach Tom Crean with no prior college coaching experience? What about whether Adams stops communicating with African basketball players if they don't follow his advice when selecting a college? What about Indiana Elite, which has evolved into a pipeline for top players to IU, punctuated by future verbal commitments through 2014? What is going on with his nonprofit's donations and expenditures? And what about gifts bestowed upon Colombian-born forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea, a top IU commitment for the Class of 2012?

Adams will have none of it, saying ESPN.com is asking the questions only at the suggestion of rival coaches and that it is "manufacturing" a story. He declined multiple interview requests before agreeing to answer a set of questions in email, but he ultimately told ESPN.com not to contact him again.

As you can see, Adams doesn't come off as pure and completely moral. In one story by Fish, a player recruited to America by Adams, David Nyarsuk, no longer has contact and fears he'll be deported. As of now, there is no investigation being done by the NCAA into Indiana or Crean, but there is with Mosquera-Perea. The 2012 recruit's eligibility remains in question due to issues dating back to his time as a Baylor recruit, as referenced in the drop quote above.

Indiana seems OK -- for now. Crean is quoted in the story about how intense the microscope he's under now, and he has a point: Indiana would be one of the toughest places to cheat in recruiting, considering the smoldering crater Sampson left the program in after his text-messaging infractions killed off scholarships and sent IU basketball to the bottom of the Big Ten. If Adams and Crean (and anyone on Crean's staff) aren't working in concert to get recruits from Indiana Elite to the Hoosiers, then the Hoosiers should be in the clear.

Adams will remain to have his enemies and skeptics, even if he is bringing over impoverished, raw basketball players and trying to give them better lives.

There will never be enough time or manpower to fully investigate all the goings ons with this country's AAU scene. Piece by piece, we get a clearer picture, though. And it remains as unsettling, confusing, suspicious and unseemly as ever -- even without true proof. Fish's reporting, above all else, undresses Adams and force us to at least question his motives.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 21, 2011 3:39 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2011 3:39 pm

Tom Crean sees paradise by the dashboard lights

Tom Crean starts the sarcastic slow clap for Big Ten schedule changes

Posted by Eric Angevine

Tom Crean is annoyed. His rebuilding Indiana team has to play two games in rapid succession.

Jeff Rabjohns reported on tweets from the IU coach's Twitter account this afternoon:

“I just heard the craziest thing. It must be Ashton Kutcher and his PUNKED show or a April Fools joke a few weeks early,” Crean wrote on his Twitter account.

“I heard the Big Ten network is moving us to play at Illinois after we play Wisconsin at 9 o clock Thursday at 11 on Saturday. IN THE MORNING.

“There is no way that could be true is it? What was the 8 a.m. slot taken?

“I feel like we should jump in some vans, put the 8 track tapes in, get some cheese sandwiches and have a old school road trip.”

“I am okay with 1 day in between games on occasion but 36 hours? In a rivalry game? That defies rationalization.”

Of course, this is the type of schedule one must follow in the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments, though we'll spot him the complaint about travel time in-between.

What I'm most intrigued by is the notion of which 8-tracks Crean would spool on his old-school road trip. My parents had a nice collection of Eddie Rabbit, Neil Diamond and Dan Fogelberg cartage back when I was a kid (oh, and you'd better believe we had an AMC Pacer, my friends), but something about Crean just screams out Rush, or an endless loop of Stairway to Heaven.
Posted on: February 2, 2011 9:35 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2011 9:47 pm

Indiana is playing spoiler in the Big Ten

Jordan Hulls celebrates upset of Minnesota with IU fans

Posted by Eric Angevine

Are hints of Assembly Hall magic enough to keep diehard Hoosier fans enthralled?

Tonight's 60-57 upset of No. 18 Minnesota, hard on the heels of an OT loss at Michigan State and a home win over a ranked Illinois squad, definitely gives the pollyannas a bit of a rush.

The Hoosiers have already lost seven games in league play - they're not going anywhere in the league standings or the postseason, but Tom Crean's ability to keep his kids playing hard in the middle of another lost season is impressive. It's one of those things that makes me believe that the turnaround is still coming along just fine (ssshhhh, don't tell Matt Jones I said so).

With five-star prospect Cody Zeller coming into the fold next year, it seems vital for the Hoosiers not to show any quit. Giving up and letting the season go to the dogs could have caused Zeller -- or, worse yet, one of the three four-star recruits who have verbaled for 2012 -- to back away from the program.

Right now, I'd have to say I'd rather be playing at Indiana than Northwestern. Both teams are 3-7 in league play, but the Wildcats seem to be plodding along as usual, while the Hoosiers are heating up against all odds. Crean still has plenty of fans in Bloomington who realize that it takes time to rebuild a shattered program, and recognize the important steps he's already taken to change the culture (or return it to the place it occupied during the glory years).

Indiana won't be a tourney team this year. But they are a player in the Big Ten, because they are exposing pretenders to the throne. If Tom Crean's boys can beat you while being held together with spit and baling wire, do you really belong in the Big Dance?

Posted on: January 17, 2011 10:18 am
Edited on: January 17, 2011 10:21 am

Coach Speak: Crowdsourcing Indiana's transition D

Posted by Eric Angevine

Today's video does not come from the Style network. That's just the impeccably dressed Jay Wright discussing his team's victory over Maryland with Clark Kellogg.

Quotable Coaches

If you see our guys out and about the next few days, remind them that we HAVE TO GET BACK AND STOP MICHIGAN ON THE BREAK!”

-@TomCrean via Twitter

It’s too complicated to talk about, and actually it’s not anyone’s right to know that. It’s his toe.”

We’re giving you updates not because on Feb. 1 he’s going to appear from the rafters and start playing again, but because we just want to let everybody know it’s progressing. “

-Coach K gets testy about all the Kyrie’s toe hoopla

"I haven't seen an 0-for-17 ever, especially in a half. We watched a little film (at halftime) and saw our shots. It comes from the movie, "Along Came Polly" — you just have to keep letting it rain and eventually you're bound to hit one of them."

-Kevin Willard on the Seton Hall's 3-point struggles

Thank you Vol Nation for you Outstanding support tonight. Sorry about the outcome. Te Amo Mucho.”

-Interim head coach Tony Jones addresses Vol fans via twitter following a loss to Florida (@TjonesLive)

"He's athletic and now is starting to understand what we're doing offensively. He's starting to be the focal point of our press, which is huge for how we play."

-DePaul’s Oliver Purnell talks about freshman forward Cleveland Melvin

"I think whether it be injuries or other things, that's what Seth and I talk about a lot. It's not the tactical part of it, as much as it is the motivational part of it, the understanding part of it. I think sometimes coaches feel like their team is having these problems and nobody else is until they talk to somebody in a different conference."

-Tom Izzo on his in-season chats with Seth Greenberg [via the Washington Post]

"He's someone that could provide those jumper cables for your team because of his ball pressure and then the ability to escort the ball up the floor in transition. Today clearly he did all the things that a point guard needs to do. After the game, I said, 'Game ball goes to Malik Boothe.' I don't think there's any doubt that he deserves the game ball."

-Steve Lavin praises his senior guard, who scored 14 points off the bench to help St. John's defeat visiting Notre Dame

Hot Seat

Paul Hewitt, Georgia Tech: With each passing season, the 2004 run to the championship game looks more and more like a fluke. Under Hewitt, the Yellow Jackets have had multiple first-round NBA draft picks, but never managed more than nine wins in conference. Not once. This weekend's 20-point win over North Carolina is more of a referendum on how poorly Roy Williams is coaching than on how well Hewitt is coaching. This team has long had the potential to climb into the ACC's upper echelon and stay there, but Hewitt hasn't gotten the job done. Patience has to be wearing mighty thin in Atlanta.
Posted on: January 12, 2011 10:20 am

Indiana as embarassing off the court as on

Posted by MATT JONES

Indiana basketball has hurt the eyes for the past three seasons.  Watching the once-great program fall to every Tom, Dick and Harry in college basketball is embarassing for all of us that love college basketball history and remember when the name "Indiana" meant something.  But whatever devastation has been done by the dynamic duo of Kelvin Sampson and Tom Crean can't compare to the hurt put on the program by this "official" music video entitled "This is Indiana Basketball."  To quote a famous Christmas song, tonight thank God it's them instead of you...

Category: NCAAB
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