Crean praises Burton, Bedford (Courtesy of Bedford Times Mail)
Aug. 15, 2014
By BOB BRIDGE email@example.com | Posted: Friday, August 15, 2014 10:30 am
BEDFORD -- When Indiana University President Michael McRobbie realized he was too ill to honor his pledge to speak at Thursday's Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce annual dinner at the Lawrence County 4-H Expo Hall, he had no trouble recruiting a willing and worthy substitute.
"I love coming to Bedford," IU men's basketball coach Tom Crean proclaimed with enthusiasm. "Anytime you have a chance to go to a place the president feels is important, there's no debate about it.
"I love being here in Bedford. It's fun here, and I see some faces I recognize. And now I've finally met Richard Burton, the man I see on that billboard all the time."
Crean said liking Bedford and the Burton family is hardly an arduous task.
"I'd like to tell you we have the good fortune of having Ryan Burton in our program," Crean said, eliciting an appreciative roar from the audience. "We like his grade-point average, he always has a smile on his face, and he's got this demeanor about him.
"He has been fantastic for us. He first worked out with us in the spring when we were coming off a season we weren't that excited about. We had lost some people, but we went into the spring with tremendous enthusiasm.
"We knew we had an opportunity to build a better chemistry. We had a chance to get on the same page and have people respect each other's talents more."
Enter Ryan Burton, a Bedford native who shot .400 behind the arc during his two seasons at Bellarmine. Burton recently transferred to IU to attend the Kelley School of Business.
"Ryan came in and added enthusiasm and energy," Crean said. "At first we treated it like a trial basis. But after the first couple of days I knew there was no way we weren't keeping him.
"You have to trust your instincts, and it became pretty clear early on there was something there with Ryan. He's athletic and extremely smart. And I don't just mean Kelley School of Business smart. I mean really smart.
"He's got personality and presence. Even before he knew he was on the roster, he had been absorbed onto the team. He felt like he belonged, and we haven't looked back since."
Crean asked the audience to help make Burton an even greater contributor to the program.
"Give him some limestone to carry," he suggested. "Give him your grocery bags. We need to make him stronger." He noted that with Burton's age, background and personality the junior is well equipped to provide perspective for the younger Hoosiers on the roster.
"The players have gravitated toward Ryan," he said. "We'd like to get even more leadership from him."
The coach also congratulated Lawrence County officials and local business leaders for making their mark during the past couple of years.
"You went up to Indianapolis in 2013 and came home with the Community of the Year Award," he explained. "Well, we went up to Michigan in 2013 and came home with a Big Ten championship. It was a great year."
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