Posted on: October 31, 2008 3:48 pm

A diehard IU fan's response on Mike Davis

Hi Kevin,
This is quite a column you have here:


I think what I enjoy most, is that your motives are very transparent:
"That means one thing.
More than a few Indiana basketball fans are going to read it and see red."
That means one thing, Hoosier Nation is huge, and we're going to generate more clicks than UAB fans who are probably off thinking about football, or something.
To entertain your question, Indiana fans have every right to be upset with Bobby Knight, Mike Davis and Kelvin Sampson, for different reasons, but they all left the program in under dubious circumstances. Sampson being the worst but Mike Davis not getting a free pass, either.
To be honest, I was always a Mike Davis apologist until he made one fatal mistake, which you didn't mention in your column. Mike Davis' story at IU was mostly one of luck, some of it was good luck, some of it was very bad. He was in the right place at the right time, inherited a team that could shoot the lights out and lucked his way all the way to the National Championship game, in 2002. I give Mike Davis quite a bit of credit for that, IU's victory over Duke (a 13-point spread underdog) and the incredible comeback IU made (the most incredible basketball game I have ever watched) had a lot to do with Mike Davis' coaching. Anyone who doesn't recognize that is foolish.
Mike Davis also had some stretches of horrific luck. DJ White going down for a year, Bracey Wright constantly being injured, Kirk Haston leaving early at the advice of a bitter Bob Knight.
But Mike Davis had to go. He was in way over his head, this not a good rookie job. Indiana has 5 National Championships, 3rd most in College Basketball (more than UNC, more than Duke, etc...), we want more, and we have one of the biggest followings on the planet. Note how the Indiana game was the first sellout Minnesota has had in years:


"Playing in front of their first sellout crowd in nearly three years, the Gophers just couldn't take it away."
And keep in mind that Minnesota's campus is in the biggest metropolitan area in the entire Big Ten. Yeah, Indiana Basketball really is that big. I was there, it was electric!
Simply put, Mike Davis was in way over his head. I could stand him missing out on Indiana talents (Josh McRoberts, Sean May, Dominic James, etc...), I could stand the odd marginal performance team. And I could even stand his emotional blowout at Kentucky, although this was a sign he was in over his head, that kind of decorum, on National Television, is not recommended.
So what was that fatal mistake I mentioned? Simple, he missed on Greg Oden. I'll never forgive him for that, Oden wanted to attend IU as a high school junior, even said it on ESPN, and Davis botched it! Not sure how he botched it, but he did. That single mistake, which is an unforgivable sin, compounded every single mistake he ever made.
Okay, so the past is the past, I'll forgive. In fact, I think you have it all wrong, you don't want me to let Mike Davis go. Not only do I not wish Mike Davis any illwill, I actually hope he does well with UAB, I just wanted him out of the Indiana University coaching job, couldn't handle it. However, I think UAB's the perfect job for him, a mid-major type programme, not the pressure cooker IU is. He'll do better out of the limelight, and he recruits well in his home state of Alabama. Davis is my only connection to Conference USA, so sure, go UAB. Best of luck this year.
Nathan Oliver
B.Sc. Finance & Economics - Indiana University
Microsoft Excel MVP
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