July 07, 2010

Tom Crean....would you like some cheese with that whine?

Nothing like a Twitter controversy to liven up the college basketball offseason. Guess it was only a matter of time. I don't really check out Twitter all that often, but I've seen seen a few different college coaches' Twitter accounts. For the most part, it's just a bunch of fluff. You’ll see a lot of “Heading to ABCD camp. Go Irish!!” type stuff (cmon, just let me believe that Brey is actually in the mix for some ABCD type guys). Maybe a few nuggets about the current players or a movie recommendation or an update on their favorite charity. Not exactly controversial stuff there.

Coaches use Twitter to sell their program and themselves, and that’s basically it. It’s an opportunity for fans and recruits to connect with the head coach through an unfiltered source. In many ways, it’s been a great thing for college sports.

We haven’t really had a big Twitter controversy in college sports yet though.

Until now.

Why does it not surprise me that the first big Twitter whine job has come from none other than one of college basketball’s biggest whiners, Mr. Thomas Aaron Crean??

In a story that is just starting to make the rounds in Indy and elsewhere, here’s what Coach Crean had to say the other day about some of the coaches he is recruiting against for talent in the state of Indiana in the loaded 2011-2013 classes.

“Frankly some of the assistants we go against I wouldn’t let valet my car. They either would lose the keys or drive away with it. In all honesty there are some Head coaches that would be the same way. The ones that wake up on 3rd base and think they hit a triple kill me. The more you spend time with recruits on campus, the more you build a relationship, the more they share. Its amazing the things you learn.”

Cmon man, are you really gonna go on Twitter and whine about other coaches and how unfair recruiting is like we’re supposed to have sympathy for you?? You’re making over $2 million a year. Your total deal is worth around $18 million. You’re the head coach at freaking Indiana. You have tradition and fans and in-state talent and everything you would need to recruit. Am I really supposed to feel sorry for you because the other coaches are working the trail harder than you and doing whatever it takes to get recruits to sign on the dotted line??

This line is so pathetic I don’t even know where to begin.

”The ones that wake up on 3rd base and think they hit a triple kill me.”

Really Tom??! Aren’t you the same coach who made your ENTIRE reputation off the back of Dwayne FREAKING Wade?? Without D. Wade carrying you on his back to the Final Four, you’ve basically been Mike Brey 2.0. One NCAA 2nd round appearance, a bunch of first round NCAA losses, and a few NITs. Not horrible, but certainly not setting the world on fire.

If anyone is guilty of "waking up on 3rd base," it's Tom Crean. He parlayed a transcendent future NBA Hall of Famer and some decent seasons into one of the best jobs in college basketball.
How about winning some games and recruiting some players before spouting off on your Twitter account?? Here is what Tom Crean has done in two years at IU:

Overall: 16-46
Conference: 5-31

5-31!! Not exactly inspiring a lot of confidence two years into his tenure at IU. In fact, here is what Indiana did in their last thirteen games last year:

1/24 IOWA L 58-43
1/30 @ ILL L 72-70
2/04 PUR L 78-75
2/07 @ NW L 78-61
2/10 OSU L 69-52
2/13 @ WIS L 83-55
2/16 MSU L 72-58
2/20 @ MINN L 81-58
2/25 WIS L 78-46
2/28 @ IOWA L 73-57
3/03 @ PUR L 74-55
3/06 NW W 88-80 OT
3/11 vs. NW L 73-58

Yikes. 12 losses in their last 13 games. Not only were they losing games, they legitimately threw in the towel last year. You don’t lose by 30 at home in the middle of Big Ten season because you “don’t have enough talent.” Indiana doesn’t have upper echelon talent like Michigan State or Ohio State or Purdue, but getting blown out by Northwestern twice in 30 days and also getting blown out by a horrible Iowa team??? Ummm, that’s a little more than a talent problem.

Now don't get me wrong, Tom Crean isn't some hack. I thought Tom Crean did a decent job at Marquette, and I actually thought he was a decent hire for Indiana. I am pulling for Indiana to become relevant again soon. I respect the tradition and the names on the front of the jerseys and Robert Montgomery Knight and Assembly Hall and the five National Titles and names like Isiah Thomas and Calbert Cheney and Steve Alford and Quinn Buckner. College basketball is better when Indiana is good.

But thus far, he's been a huge bust, and hasn't created even the slightest bit of buzz about Indiana basketball in three years. And crying about other coaches who are outrecruiting and outcoaching him doesn't reflect favorably on his future at Indiana. How many times do you see Nick Saban whining about how hard his job is?? Or Tom Izzo complaining about other coaches negatively recruiting against him. The answer is none. You don't think Tom Izzo gets negatively recruited against?? Of course, he does. "He's going to the NBA." "He's too tough on his players." "He'll recruit over you." etc, etc. Probably happens with every recruit.

Color me unsympathetic. Is college basketball recruiting a cesspool?? Yes. I realize there are coaches promising anything and everything to land recruits. But doesn't it ultimately come down to results??

Even if Tom Crean thinks John Calipari and Thad Matta are slicksters and BS artists, those guys get results!! Calipari has brought in back to back top 5 classes. Wouldn't IU fans love to have that kinda buzz right now?? Matta pulls in blue chippers throughout the Midwest pretty much every year. Wouldn't IU love to be landing some five star blue chippers once in awhile?? I don't care what these coaches say to players. It comes down to the finished product. Wake me up when Tom Crean lands even one blue chipper at IU.

Did Tom Crean think that coaches wouldn't come into the state of Indiana and try to recruit talent?? I'm trying to figure out what his complaint is. That other coaches have big egos?? That other coaches are saying bad things about Indiana?? Of course they are! That's recruiting. It's been this way for fifty years.

If you don't want to get into the shark tank with the big boys, go coach somewhere else. You're at Indiana. This is big boy basketball. They want to play in Final Fours there. When you take over at Indiana, you are expected to land blue chippers, especially in your home state. The state of Indiana is churning out top 100 players by the dozen every year these days. Kentucky has already landed Marquis Teague, Louisville is after guys, Ohio State is after guys, Duke and UNC will probably be in the mix, and even Xavier/Purdue/Butler/ND are positioning themselves.

It's a meatgrinder out there. If you want to win big, you gotta have the horses. If Tom Crean finds the recruiting battlefield to be unseemly, maybe he's in the wrong job.


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Anonymous said...

Notre Dame must be terrified of the Indiana buzz. Enjoy your 3 star scraps from the state of Indiana.

Anonymous said...

How about Cody Zeller, Hanner Parea, Kevin "Yogi" Ferrel, James Blackmon, Trey Lyles. That's five 5-star blue chip recruits in the next 4 classes.