Men's Basketball

    Crean Excited For Next Chapter Of Indiana Basketball

    Go Hoosiers! Indiana men's basketball coach Tom Crean
    Go Hoosiers!
    Indiana men's basketball coach Tom Crean
    Go Hoosiers!

    Sept. 24, 2009

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    Bloomington, Indiana - Throughout the 2008-2009 men's basketball season, Indiana University men's basketball coach relied heavily on family, friends and mentors to help him through one of the most trying seasons he had ever been a part of. But despite all of their best efforts, the first-year IU Coach realized there was no textbook he could turn to or no example featuring a similar plight to study.

    "There was no textbook, course or handbook that could have helped us," said Crean as he spoke to a crowd of nearly 1,000 at the IU Auditorium Wednesday night. "You are helping us write that book. You were there giving us hope with your support. One of the greatest stories to ever hit sports will be the comeback of Indiana basketball."

    Crean knows that there is no greater tradition at Indiana than the love its fans have for the program.

    "A lot of people love Indiana basketball," Crean added. "Our students and community mean so much to our tradition and they came and stayed loyal despite having so many options."

    Last year, Crean noted his players worked hard and understood the circumstances they faced were not their fault. But he also admitted he is not good with patience and expects improvement this coming season.

    "We are feeling better and I am really excited about our overall gain in strength," said Crean. "We have to grow up and learn, but I am jacked up. It may not be as fast as we like it, but I am taking a glass half full approach."

    Among the veterans, Crean was excited about the progress of sophomore Verdell Jones III in the weight room and is looking for junior transfer Jeremiah Rivers to play with a chip on his shoulder.

    "He is the best player in the country people forgot about," noted Crean. "When all the pundits put out their lists every day about transfers of impact, he is no where to be found. We put that in his locker with a big highlight mark every day."

    Coach also made light of sophomore Tom Pritchard's need to do more with his right hand and talked about how he tells Matt Roth he needs to do more than just shoot, and senior Devan Dumes is coming out every day with a purpose because "playing time isn't a given for anyone."

    The coach had a little tidbit regarding all of the returning players including Daniel Moore, Tijan Jobe, Kory Barnett, Steven Gambles and the most tenured player on the team, Brett Finkelmeier.

    "Brett has been relentless," said Crean. "He's the only guy we will let in a fraternity (FIJI). He has a 3.93 GPA and he takes care of everything he has to take care of."

    Crean had the crowd in stitches when he talked about other players joining fraternities. "Please don't be getting those other ones to rush, we're not doing that," said Crean "And don't let them come to your parties. Ship those guys out. I don't want them there."

    He also heeded a word of advice to the female students in the crowd which drew another round of laughter..

    "Females, please, PLEASE! Do not smile at those guys and make them think they are rock stars," he added. "They have done nothing yet."

    The final part of Crean's 56-minute address was about his own personal experience as he offered advice to students who hope to one day make a mark of their own in a chosen profession.

    "My mother is my hero," said Coach. "She gave me a car and allowed me to go to school and pursue my dream.

    As a young father himself, Crean worries about the future.

    "Businesses are cutting back and it is a competitive world," noted Crean. "You have to find a way to separate yourself from the competition."

    He stressed reliability, durability and accountability among the attributes and qualities he believes today college student should have.


    This is the second year that Crean has spoken in the auditorium to the student body. He also offered the following on members of the freshman class.

    Jordan Hulls: "That kid never accepted that he wasn't a college player, or that he might be a Division II player, and that he might be a low-major player, and that he might be a mid-major player. I don't think he ever accepted that. Something's telling me that kid always had his sights set pretty high."

    Derek Elston: "The other guy that hasn't gotten nearly enough attention nationally is Derek Elston. That guy is one of those people, if he hadn't been injured out on that AAU circuit, there would have been a lot more things written about him. He's good, he's tough. And he wants to be really good."

    Bawa Muniru: "This is a unique guy. He's had a lot of pitfalls in his life. A LOT of pitfalls. But that young man wants to be very, very successful. And I have very high optimism that he will be in time. He has a great attitude. If you've met him you know what I'm talking about. The first 10-15 minutes you're like, `is this kid for real? Is anyone that happy? Does anybody have a smile that wide?'"

    Bobby Capobianco: "Bill Lynch has been very, very noble not to try to get that kid to be one of his tight ends, one of his linemen. He has that body. He doesn't have tremendous athleticism - that's not there yet. But he's got to have tremendous will. When he shows that will, shows that grit and that fight, and when he's got it you're going to see a guy that will really help us."

    Maurice Creek: "He had to go through some hoops academically because his first couple of years weren't so strong, but he really rebounded the last couple of years of high school...right now, if you touch him with your index finger on his back he'll probably fall over because his body is so sore from the workouts that Jeff Watkinson is putting him through because he didn't have that this summer. Pretty soon that soreness will go away and he'll continue to take off."

    Christian Watford: "One day he's running with the guards, the next day he's running with the swing guys, the next day we ran him with the big guys because we want him to be a complete player. One day he's being challenged to work on his turnaround jump shot, his up and under, the next he's being challenged to go through four people with dribbling the ball and crossovers. He's got a chance to be a very, very good player because of that versatility."




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