In the broad sense or the specific, it's pretty hard to really explain Little 5 to people who don't ride it.
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____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>With the academic status of 2009 recruits Maurice Creek and Bawa Muniru still uncertain, IU men’s basketball coach Tom Crean didn’t have any new information to share when he met with the media Wednesday morning. Creek told the Indiana Daily Student he is still awaiting the results of an SAT exam to finalize his eligibility, and Muniru reportedly needs one more class – which he is currently taking – to finish all his high school requirements. Both are integral members of a pivotal recruiting class ranked in the top 10 nationally and are expected to help bring IU back into the national spotlight in the coming years. Thus, the future of both players has become a hot-button issue within the IU fan base. Questioned about potential updates on either player, Crean kept his answer close to vest. “I can’t tell you much. I’m not going to,” he said, according to audio on the IU Athletics Department Web site. “We’re very on top of it, with what (Creek)’s doing, and we’re confident that everything’s moving in the right direction for him. And that’s really all there is to that with both of them.”Looming contact period, NBA Draft keep Crean busySummer is a strange time for college basketball coaches, with elite camps and the recruiting contact period balancing out the inability to work with current players, per NCAA rules. Still, the second-year coach has kept busy – and his Twitter account shows it. As evidenced on Twitter over the last few days and in a press conference Wednesday, Crean has been working the phones for former Marquette players in the NBA, and attended an Indiana Pacers pre-draft workout.Still, recruiting is as present as ever in the forefront of Crean’s thoughts. With the July contact period looming, Crean was careful not to overstep the limits of what he could talk about, per NCAA rules. “I’m not going to go far into that. I mean, we know what we’re doing in recruiting,” said Crean, who has already signed 2010 forward David Williams and has reportedly offered a scholarship to 2011 forward Austin Etherington. “We’re going to recruit, and I’m not going to come in and explain every offer, nor could I, legally. We’re pretty locked into what we’re able to do.”Moore breaks bone in footAt the beginning of the press conference, Crean revealed that sophomore guard Daniel Moore, a fan favorite for his energetic play as a freshman, broke the fifth metatarsal in his left foot during a demonstration at one of his camps. Crean said Moore had surgery Monday and was expected back in Bloomington on Wednesday, and that the Carmel, Ind., native would be out for 10 weeks. “His body looks stronger just by looking at him in camp,” Crean said. “Our focus now is that he continues to build that strength and that he really works on the form and technique of his shot.”Crean said an element of Moore’s rehab would involve working on that technique at a lowered basket when he was ready, an activity that would be supervised by trainer Tim Garl and strength coach Jeff Watkinson.Practice facility progress encourages CreanWith the new basketball practice facility on course to be completed by its target date of December, Crean said he is impressed with the progress of construction. “I think it’s rapidly moving,” he said. “I look at it every day, and really, when you break it down and gauge it, it’s significantly different every week.”Crean didn’t know exactly when the facility would be complete and his team able to move in, but he said he hopes that “when we move, it’s quick.” The facility will house, among other things, practice facilities for both the men’s and women’s basketball teams and a hall of fame area at the entrance, a part of the new building Crean is admittedly excited about getting to outfit.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Two more members of the IU baseball team have begun professional sports careers.Junior outfielders Evan Crawford and Kipp Schutz elected to sign last week with the San Francisco Giants and Baltimore Orioles, respectively, ending on their IU careers and heading to the Minor Leagues.They join former IU pitcher Eric Arnett who signed last week with the Milwaukee Brewers.Crawford confirmed via text message Friday that he had signed with the Giants, who chose him in the ninth round of the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft.The speedy center fielder said he believed he was being assigned to the Class A Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, in Salem, Ore., though he wasn’t positive. A post to his Twitter account Sunday also suggested the Arizona Giants, San Francisco’s rookie-league affiliate in Scottsdale, Ariz., might be a possible destination as well.As of press time, neither team’s roster could confirm where Crawford had been assigned.Schutz, who was taken by the Orioles in the 19th round three years after that same organization drafted him in the 26th round of the 2006 draft, signed June 15, according to the Evansville Courier & Press, his hometown paper.“There’s a lot of weight off my shoulders,” Schutz told the Courier & Press.That report also stated that Schutz would be assigned to the Bluefield Orioles, Baltimore’s rookie-league affiliate in the Appalachian League, though as of press time the team’s incomplete online roster did not include his name.Most rookie league rosters are still being decided as teams figure out where they want to place drafted prospects within their systems.Many college players go straight into short-season rookie league ball simply because they have already played a full college season and teams do not want to strain them early in their careers.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Former IU pitcher Eric Arnett has agreed to contractual terms with the Milwaukee Brewers, the team that took him in the first round of the Major League Baseball Draft on June 9.Arnett, a right-hander who finished his junior season at IU in May, will receive a $1.2 million signing bonus, the amount recommended by Major League Baseball’s slotting system.“I came in being pretty signable, and all I wanted was fair market value, signing-wise,” said Arnett, who said he’s quite happy with the terms of the contract, which also ensures him a spot in Major League spring training next year.For now, Arnett will take a trip to Milwaukee to tour the stadium and meet with organization officials to be wined and dined by his new team – a common tradition for top draft choices.He will then board a plane the next day for Helena, Mont., to join the Helena Brewers, Milwaukee’s Rookie League affiliate.“I think they wanted me to keep me on a pretty low workload this summer,” Arnett said.He also said the team has mentioned the possibility of promoting him to its Class A affiliate, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, later this summer if he progresses well in rookie ball. But he said the team does not want to rush him.“I guess it all depends on how fast I develop and how well I do,” Arnett said, adding that he hopes to make it to the Majors “within the next couple of years.”Arnett finished his junior season at IU with a 12-2 record and a 2.50 ERA, both tops in the Big Ten.Those numbers, combined with strong command, caused Arnett’s name to shoot up mock draft boards, sometimes as high as No. 15. He slipped slightly from that projection to No. 26, still becoming the first Hoosier drafted in the first round in 43 years.Another aid in Arnett’s draft stock, he said, was his time spent with the IU men’s basketball team last fall, which he credited for making him a better athlete.However, conditioning was not the only thing Arnett got from his time spent sporting candy-striped pants. Arnett said IU basketball coach Tom Crean went to bat for him come draft time.“He knew a lot of people, including the GM there at the Brewers, and he put in his good word for me,” Arnett said.Considering the hectic nature of the latest days of his life, Arnett said he’s only really had time to talk to Crean and IU baseball coach Tracy Smith personally.Still, despite the whirlwind of the proceedings, Arnett said it’s been good to him.“It’s been a remarkable experience,” he said, “and I’m really blessed to be able to encounter it.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Former IU pitcher Eric Arnett has agreed to contractual terms with the Milwaukee Brewers, the team that took him in the first round of the Major League Draft on June 9.Arnett, a right-hander who finished his junior season at IU last May, will receive a $1.2 million signing bonus, the amount recommended by Major League Baseball’s slotting system. “I came in being pretty signable, and all I wanted was fair market value, signing-wise,” said Arnett, who said he’s quite happy with the terms of the contract, which also ensures him a spot in Major League spring training next year. For now, Arnett will take a trip to Milwaukee to tour the stadium, meet with organization officials and be wined and dined by his new team – a common tradition for top draft choices. He will then board a plane the next day for Helena, Mon., to join the Helena Brewers, Milwaukee’s Rookie League affiliate. “I think they wanted me to keep me on a pretty low workload, this summer,” Arnett said by phone. He also said the team has mentioned the possibility of promoting him to their Class A affiliate, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, later this summer if he progresses well in rookie ball, but that they do not want to rush him. “I guess it all depends on how fast I develop and how well I do,” Arnett said, adding that he hopes to make it to the Majors “within the next couple of years.”Arnett finished his junior season at IU with a 12-2 record and a 2.50 ERA, both tops in the Big Ten. Those numbers, combined with strong command, caused Arnett’s name to shoot up mock draft boards, sometimes as high as No. 15. He slipped slightly from that projection to No. 26, still becoming the first Hoosier drafted in the first round in 43 years. Another aid in Arnett’s draft stock, according to the pitcher himself, was his time spent with the IU men’s basketball team last fall, which he credited for making him a better athlete. However, conditioning was not the only thing Arnett got from his time spent sporting candy-striped pants. Arnett said Tom Crean went to bat for him come draft time. “He knew a lot of people, including the GM there at the Brewers, and he put in his good word for me,” Arnett said. Considering the hectic nature of the latest days of his life, Arnett said he’s only really had time to talk to Crean and IU baseball coach Tracy Smith personally. Still, despite the whirlwind feel of the proceedings, Arnett said it’s been good to him.“It’s been a remarkable experience,” he said., “and I’m really blessed to be able to encounter it.”
Schutz actually only played two full seasons in Bloomington, after his freshman campaign was cut off after seven games by a shoulder injury
Phegley came to IU with high expectations as the 2006 Indiana Mr. Baseball.
Crawford is probably one of the highest-potential players in the draft. He’s got several tools – great speed, a strong arm and a solid bat.
Bashore had perhaps the best draft prospects of any Hoosier coming into this season, but a slow start in the non-conference schedule caused him to slip.
Arnett’s draft stock soared after a senior season that saw him notch a 12-2 record with a 2.50 ERA. His long 6-5 frame and athleticism tantalized scouts, vaulting him into the first round.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Three years ago, 19 freshmen came to Bloomington as members of IU baseball coach Tracy Smith’s first full recruiting class.There was great hope in that talented class, with the goal – stated or otherwise – of establishing IU as a respected program, in the conference and across the country.Now five of them move on, having done just that.Eric Arnett, Josh Phegley, Matt Bashore, Evan Crawford and Kipp Schutz wrote the ending to their illustrious time at IU on Tuesday and Wednesday as their names were called in the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft.Arnett, a tall, right-handed pitcher, led things off, going in the first round as expected, No. 26 overall to the Milwaukee Brewers.He was followed closely by catcher Phegley (No. 38, Chicago White Sox) and southpaw Bashore (No. 46, Minnesota Twins). Crawford went in the ninth round to the San Francisco Giants (No. 267 overall), and Schutz went to the Baltimore Orioles – the team that drafted him out of high school – with the 566 overall pick.“We expected to come in, we had hopes of changing that program around and that’s what Coach Smith wanted us to do,” Phegley said by phone. “He had faith and trust in us to believe that we could do it.”The Hoosiers capped off a strong 2009 campaign that saw them finish third in the conference with a run to the Big Ten tournament title. That run was in no small part because of Bashore and Arnett, who started the first two of four tournament games.Both hurlers earned all-tournament honors for their respective performances, fulfilling the promise they had when they hit campus in 2006 and propelling the Hoosiers to their second-ever College World Series appearance.“We all came here to accomplish something, and it turned out, the time frame that we were there, we were able to do it,” Crawford said. “That’s pretty special.”The remaining members of that class – there were nine still on roster this season – were a tight-knit group that made their presence felt across the board this season.In the field, five of the original 19 notched a combined 177 starts, and the other four were four of the Hoosiers’ top six pitchers. Bashore said the group stayed close throughout their careers.“It’s just a good class to be a part of,” Bashore said the night he was drafted. “It was fun to put on a uniform and go out and play.”Half of them will move on now – perhaps more in the coming days or in next year’s draft – to chasing more personal ambitions, the ever-present goal climbing higher up the ladder and making their way to the big leagues.They can leave IU knowing their business in Bloomington is finally finished.“Back when we were freshmen, we all talked about how we were going to get a Big Ten championship,” Schutz said. “Everybody’s following their dreams now.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Guaranteed an automatic NCAA bid for its four-game sweep through last week’s Big Ten Tournament, the IU baseball team landed perhaps its best option Monday.The Hoosiers will be a four-seed in the NCAA Regional in Louisville, Ky., far and away their closest possible destination.No. 1-seed Louisville will be IU’s first opponent, with games beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, according to Louisville’s athletics Web site.On Monday at Yogi’s Grill and Bar, where the team massed with coaches, fans and various athletics department personnel to watch the selection show, catcher Josh Phegley said, “I think it’s our best opportunity to have any type of fan base at the games, being that close. The way we’re playing right now, I think it was one of the best selections we could have hoped for.”The first round of the NCAA tournament is separated into 16 four-team regionals and played in the same double-elimination format as the Big Ten Tournament.The Hoosiers’ 32-25 record virtually guaranteed them a fourth-seed draw, but their 10-1 record in their last 11 games also likely has opposing coaches worried. The way IU ran through the Big Ten Tournament, posting a 2.25 staff ERA and outscoring opposition 47-9, might turn some heads as well.But maintaining that level of production without getting too enamored with what they have already accomplished is something coach Tracy Smith knows will be key in preparing his players this week. “Really, you just hope you’re mature enough to realize why you get in this thing is you get in it to win the College World Series,” Smith said. “I hope that our mind-set is, sure, it’s nice to get into the NCAA tournament, it’s neat that we haven’t done it in quite awhile, but our job is not done, particularly with the talent level that we have.”That talent level is one that could carry the Hoosiers far.Phegley leads an offense that finished 2nd in the Big Ten behind regular-season champion Ohio State.Conference freshman of the year Alex Dickerson led the team in batting average (.379) and hits (88). In fact, the worst average among regular IU batters is a healthy .286.The Hoosiers’ pitching leaves little to be desired either, with top two starters Eric Arnett and Matt Bashore among the Big Ten’s best this season. Arnett is in the mix for several national awards after going 12-1 this year, while Bashore had the best ERA in Big Ten games of any pitcher.The bullpen had been shaky at times, but strong starts from freshmen left-handers Blake Monar and Matt Igel – coupled with solid relief work from the likes of Chris Squires, Matt Carr and Joey O’Gara – meant the highest run total IU allowed in any Big Ten tournament game was just three.It’s not all silver lining; the Hoosiers have faced Louisville twice in each of the past three years with a 1-5 record to show for the series.Smith said his team’s record against the Cardinals in the last three years shouldn’t be a large factor this weekend, because all their matchups came in midweek games when teams don’t usually roll out their best pitching.“Everybody’s going to have a good Friday guy,” Smith said, referring to his belief that every team in the NCAAs will have at least one legitimate ace. “After that, it’s your depth, and making plays. It’s going to be the consistent pitching and making plays.”In addition to the host Cardinals, Middle Tennessee State (No. 2 seed) and Vanderbilt (No. 3 seed) will compete in the weekend, which will send just one team to the super regional in two weeks’ time.“Truthfully, I love the draw,” Smith said. “You can take the whole travel thing out of it, at this point, because now you can just concentrate on baseball.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Guaranteed an automatic NCAA bid for its four-game sweep through last week’s Big Ten Tournament, the IU baseball team landed perhaps its best option Monday.The Hoosiers will be a four-seed in the NCAA Regional in Louisville, far and away their closest possible destination.No. 1-seed Louisville will be IU’s first opponent, with games beginning at 3 p.m. Friday, according to Louisville’s Web site.“I think it’s our best opportunity to have any type of fanbase at the games, being that close,” catcher Josh Phegley said Monday at Yogi’s Grill and Bar, where the team massed with coaches, fans and various Athletics Department personnel to watch the selection show. “The way we’re playing right now, I think it was one of the best selections we could have hoped for.”The first round of the NCAA Tournament is separated into 16 four-team regionals and played in the same double-elimination format as the Big Ten Tournament.The Hoosiers’ 32-25 record virtually guaranteed them a fourth-seed draw, but their 10-1 record in their last 11 games also likely has opposing coaches worried. The way IU ran through the Big Ten Tournament, posting a 2.25 staff ERA and outscoring opposition 47-9 might turn some heads as well.But maintaining that level of production without getting too enamored with what they have already accomplished is something coach Tracy Smith said he knows will be key in preparing his players this week.“Really, you just hope you’re mature enough to realize why you get in this thing is you get in it to win the College World Series,” Smith said. “I hope that our mindset is, sure, it’s nice to get into the NCAA Tournament, it’s neat that we haven’t done it in quite awhile, but our job is not done, particularly with the talent level that we have.”That talent level is one that could carry the Hoosiers far.Phegley leads an offense that finished second in the Big Ten behind regular-season champions Ohio State.Conference freshman of the year Alex Dickerson led the team in batting average (.379) and home runs (14). In fact, the worst average among regular IU batters is a healthy .286.The Hoosiers’ pitching leaves little to be desired either, with top two starters Eric Arnett and Matt Bashore among the Big Ten’s best this season. Arnett is in the mix for several national awards after going 12-1 this year, while Bashore had the best ERA in Big Ten games of any pitcher.The bullpen had been shaky at times, but strong starts from freshman left-handers Blake Monar and Matt Igel – coupled with solid relief work from the likes of Chris Squires, Matt Carr and Joey O’Gara – meant the highest run total IU allowed in any Big Ten Tournament game was just three.It’s not all silver lining – the Hoosiers have faced Louisville twice in each of the past three years with a 1-5 record to show for the series.Smith said his team’s record against the Cardinals in the last three years shouldn’t be a large factor this weekend, since all their match-ups came in midweek games, when teams don’t usually role out their best pitching.“Everybody’s going to have a good Friday guy,” Smith said, referring to his belief that every team in the NCAAs will have at least one legitimate ace. “After that, it’s your depth, and making plays. It’s going to be the consistent pitching and making plays.”In addition to the host Cardinals, Middle Tennessee State (No. 2 seed) and Vanderbilt (No. 3 seed) will compete in the weekend, which will send just one team to the super regional in two weeks’ time.“Truthfully, I love the draw,” Smith said. “You can take the whole travel thing out of it, at this point, because now you can just concentrate on baseball.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The formula has been simple: good pitching combined with contagious hitting.It’s paid off in spades, and it has the IU baseball team one win away from its first Big Ten Championship since 1996.A 13-3 victory Friday night against No. 1-seeded Ohio State puts the Hoosiers in Saturday’s championship game, and means they would have to lose twice in the double-elimination Big Ten Tournament to lose out on the conference crown.Unlike the Hoosiers’ first two games in this year’s tournament, which saw IU jump out to commanding leads and ride strong pitching to an easy win, it was Ohio State who struck first, with runs in the first and second.IU pulled three back in the fourth to give starting pitcher Blake Monar the lead. But it was a seven-run, 11-batter fifth innings that killed off the Buckeyes’ hopes of cruising through to the title game in front of a partisan crowd at Huntington Park in Columbus, Ohio.It was never close again.Monar threw 6 2/3 innings of five-hit, three-run baseball, striking out four and walking five with a curveball that was inconsistent but devastating when it found the strike zone.The freshman lefty got plenty of defensive help as well, and the Hoosiers held down the Big Ten’s best offense to move within one victory of a College World Series berth.The game’s pivotal moments were oddly symmetrical.Given three runs and the lead after four, Monar loaded the bases with no one out and tightened Hoosier stomachs. But he induced a 5-2-3 double play and a fly out to right to end the inning without allowing a run.“The turning point in the game was that bases-loaded double play,” IU coach Tracy Smith said after the game.In the bottom half, Ohio State starter Dean Wolosianski allowed four straight singles, scoring a run and loading the bases with no outs. A couple of singles, a hit batter and Tyler Rogers’ bases-clearing triple made sure Ohio State would not escape unscathed.It was then that the Hoosiers made their move, blowing past Ohio State and sailing into the Big Ten title game.Monar struggled through his first two innings before settling down through frames three and four. He got into the fifth-inning trouble, but he got out of it as well, and never really lost control of the game.This is the second time the Hoosiers have hit double digits in three games in this tournament, and Friday’s 13-run performance brings their tournament total to 34.Monar’s performance was equally crucial, as it meant the Hoosiers got to rest their bullpen for a third straight game. Matt Igel and Joey O’Gara combined to close out the last 2 1/3 innings, bringing the bullpen’s total workload to just 6 1/3 innings through three tournament games.IU came out swinging – literally – trying an aggressive approach early at the plate that wore down Wolosnianski as the game wore on. Once the Ohio State starter began missing his spots, IU hitters made him pay with base hits to all fields.“They’re going what they need to do,” Smith said of his hitters. “Everybody thinks I’m joking, but all we’re doing is making a lineup and then getting out of their way and letting them play.”Smith said he wasn’t sure who the Hoosiers would start in Saturday’s championship game. Instead, he said he and his coaches would defer that decision until knowing which team – Minnesota or Ohio State – they would face.But Smith added that, in the position the Hoosiers will be in Saturday night, “everybody’s available at some point.” That includes staff stars Eric Arnett and Matt Bashore.Smith emphasized his team’s focus cannot waver Saturday, even after earning some breathing room in the fact that the Hoosiers would have to be beaten twice not to win the conference crown.“We’ve won nothing yet, so you just keep playing and play the game the way it’s supposed to be played,” Smith said. “The mindset shouldn’t change.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>An IU baseball team that two years ago had collectively never seen Big Ten Tournament action is making things look pretty easy so far in this one. After opening the tournament with a 9-1 win over Purdue, the Hoosiers lit up the scoreboard a second time with a 12-3 win against Minnesota, one of just two teams seeded higher than them. Every starter in IU’s lineup had a hit, and six had multi-hit games, but left-hander Matt Bashore’s performance on the mound meant most of it was just a plus. Following Eric Arnett’s stellar outing Wednesday, Bashore made his case for staff ace, pitching seven innings and striking out nine while carrying a no-hitter into the fifth inning. The southpaw’s work Thursday was his latest impressive conference outing – Bashore went 5-1 with a 2.36 ERA in seven Big Ten starts coming into Thursday. “He was in total control of the game from the first pitch to the last pitch that he was in there,” IU coach Tracy Smith said of his starter’s performance Thursday. Offensively, the Hoosiers spread things out. Brian Lambert finished 3-for-6, Jake Dunning 3-for-5 and Tyler Rogers 3-for-4, and six different Hoosiers registered RBI. Smith’s club got things going early, plating two runs in the first when Josh Phegley singled home Lambert and moved Jerrud Sabourin to third. Kipp Schutz singled Sabourin in before Minnesota starter Chauncy Handran worked out of the inning. He could not avoid twice the trouble an inning later, when the Hoosiers plated four runs on five hits – a single sandwiched between two pairs of doubles – to put the game beyond reach rather quickly. Bashore cruised, and IU tacked on runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth before the Tipp City, Ohio, native gave way to the bullpen. Minnesota scored three in that inning but couldn’t close the game further, and IU added a run in the ninth and strolled through to the third game of the winner’s bracket in the Big Ten Tournament. Entering last year’s tournament, no Hoosier player or coach had been to a Big Ten Tournament since Smith took over in 2005. That year, the Hoosiers lost their first game but won the next three, advancing to the weekend before being eliminated. Thursday’s win guarantees a return trip to those weekend games, and IU is just one win away from playing for the Big Ten title. The team will face the winner of Thursday’s nightcap between Ohio State and Illinois. Blake Monar, IU’s left-handed breaking ball specialist and third regular weekend starter, will take the hill tomorrow. He was 4-3 with a 4.82 ERA in 12 starts this year. Smith said the Hoosiers will need a strong outing from Monar if they want to keep winning and, almost as importantly, preserving a bullpen that’s only had to work four innings over the first two games of the tournament. “The key to all this is going to be how deep you are on the hill,” Smith said of the tournament. “There’s a lot of baseball left to play in this thing, and it’s key for us to get a quality start out of Monar.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate found the IU men’s basketball program well below the national average, ranked 325 out of 341 Division I schools. The Hoosiers received an APR score of 866, almost 70 points below the national average of 933 and also under the NCAA’s minimum limit of 925.According to the report released Wednesday, the basketball program received a pair of penalties – a reduction of scholarships to 11 (served this season) and a public notice. Should the program’s performance in the APR continue to slip, further penalties could result.In a press release, IU Athletics Director Fred Glass addressed the notice and threw full support behind coach Tom Crean’s efforts to raise the academic profile of his beleaguered program.“We take this public notice very seriously,” Glass said in the release. “The poor academic performance for which we’re being cited all occurred under two coaches who are no longer at IU. We are confident that under coach Tom Crean’s leadership and commitment to academics, responsibility, and character, we will soon be able to put our previous academic issues fully in the past.”The release also cited Crean’s APR successes at Marquette, where the Golden Eagles achieved an APR score of 970 in the same report, which reflected Crean’s last year in Milwaukee.The APR score is tabulated by analyzing a program’s retention of players as well as said players’ academic performance, so this score is based on each of the last four IU basketball seasons.Graduating players garners APR points, but players leaving the program early or not in good academic standing, or both, can negatively affect that score.The scholarship penalty, which essentially reduces the number of scholarships the program can hand out from 13 to 11, was served this year, as IU expected to have a low score based on the academic trouble and multiple departures surrounding the end of Kelvin Sampson’s tenure.No other IU program finished lower than 925. Public institutions as a whole averaged one point less than that limit.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Well, folks, it’s time to say goodbye.It’s been a pleasure writing to you these last 12 months, and looking back at the ground we’ve covered, it occurs to me I ought to say thank you for not punching me silly at Kilroys for some of the lunacy I’ve put in this space.Seriously, a heartfelt thanks to all out there who not only read this column but pick up the paper each day. It’s a tough, tough time in our business, and it’s you who keep us going every day.With my last column, I’d like to lend my last opinion to what’s in store for the next year of IU men’s basketball. Without further ado and avoiding as many personal pronouns as I can, here we go with a last prediction:IU coach Tom Crean, done recruiting the 2009 class, sets about polishing what finally resembles a Big Ten team for the first time since mid-February 2008. Hoosier Hysteria 2009 takes place in front of a sold-out crowd, thirsty for the season to start, like grabbing for more peanuts just as you’ve eaten a rotten one to drive away the bad taste.The non-conference season, while easier than last year’s bloodletting, still gives the young Hoosiers trouble. They look better on the court in Puerto Rico than they did in Maui, but the win-loss record is relatively the same.A tight win over Maryland at home buoys the program into the conference season, despite a second-straight loss to Kentucky.IU enters Big Ten play with a record close to .500 But it’s in conference where the Hoosiers will find their legs. Crean’s consistent efforts to pinpoint his best lineups in the preseason have kept everyone relatively fresh, so shifting into an extra gear in the Big Ten proves easy.The Hoosiers, young as they are, still stand head-and-shoulders above several conference foes – perennial underdog Northwestern and a flailing Iowa team. IU is also on par with several others, including young-but-tough Wisconsin and Penn State.Home court advantage almost put the Hoosiers near the top of their standings last year when young men with names like Nick Williams, Devan Dumes, Matt Roth, Tom Pritchard and Verdell Jones had to lead.Now, with support from the likes of Jeremiah Rivers, Christian Watford, Bobby Capobianco, Derek Elston and Maurice Creek, the Hoosiers are finally a basketball team again and will find their identity in the Big Ten season.A still-small Jordan Hulls begins to discover his basketball legs, freeing up Jones to play away from the point guard position, while a mixture of Elston, Watford, Dumes and Creek start to put points on the board at impressive clips in Crean’s open offense.It’s not all roses – defensive necessities don’t come easy for the Hoosiers, who struggle at times to keep good players in front of them and give up easy fouls.The road still hinders a team too young to be accustomed to the hostilities of Big Ten arenas far away from 17th Street.Home court, where the Hoosiers lose just three times, is good. But their road output is modest at just two wins, giving them an 8-10 conference record and putting them one game above .500 for the season.An NIT berth awaits, and IU, now possessing a roster filled with hearty-but-tired legs, finds its way through two rounds before crashing out to, of all teams, the same Maryland Terrapins the Hoosiers dispatched just months earlier.Specific, aren’t I?See you in the funny pages.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>When Nick Williams and Broderick Lewis (according to media reports) joined Malik Story on the last train out of Bloomington on Wednesday, much of the speculation about the immediate future of IU’s roster dissolved into the chilly spring mist.Among the chief worries of IU fans throughout this season of waiting was concern over whether Tom Crean would have enough scholarship space to fit his six-man recruiting class for next year.Now you have your answer, whether you like it or not.Debate raged all season about who might stay or go, and why. Not a single scholarship Hoosier’s name wasn’t at least floated on some chat room wall or comment section.The assumption was that Crean would have to “force” someone out, that this team composed of spring signings and undersized walk-ons would cling to the program like sailors grasping the last remnants of a sunken ship until pried loose against their will.But the truth is that, in all likelihood, each of these young men left by his own judgment, free of influence one way or another from Crean or his staff.Consider the start of Crean’s statement in the release regarding Williams’ departure: “After the season, Nick expressed displeasure with his role this year and also shared concern with members of our coaching staff about his future role in the program,” Crean said.Listen. Players transfer. It’s nothing really underhanded or wrong; guys just realize that what was once a good fit for them now runs a little bit too tight.It’s one of the most common occurrences in college sports, sometimes more so than winning itself.Maybe they see the writing on the wall. Maybe strong competition has them worried that court time might decrease. Maybe campus is just too far from home.But players transfer from every program, everywhere.Consider this: Because of or nder Kelvin Sampson’s reign, Cem Dinc, Ben Allen, Joey Shaw, Xavier Keeling and Robert Vaden all left IU, and each for his own reason.IU even has a transfer on roster.What Nick Williams’ motivation was, I do not know.My guess is he read the tea leaves, saw some talented players coming in at his preferred position and felt his best interests lay somewhere else.In truth, with Verdell Jones likely to see more time at the two/three and Maurice Creek and Christian Watford both touted wing players, Williams’ decision to move on was probably smart, career-wise.But looking for the meaning behind the meaning won’t get you anywhere.Williams is not the first IU basketball player to leave the program, nor will he be the last. This, like so much else the Hoosiers have done this year, is about returning to the normal chaos that is college basketball today.If this is the biggest offseason news out of Assembly Hall, it will be a therapeutically quiet spring and summer for Hoosier nation.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Today is Tom Crean’s 370th day on the job as IU men’s basketball coach, which isn’t all that long – unless you consider the tenures of his immediate predecessors.Speaking by phone Thursday, the first-year coach reflected on his first full season in Bloomington, one that was perhaps more important for what it wasn’t – full of controversy – than what it was.Crean headed to Detroit this past weekend to take in a spectacle he himself has once seen through a head coach’s studious eyes. His position as Indiana’s most well-compensated and well-known state employee wagons in high hopes that he’ll peer through that glass again.It wasn’t that long ago – just 10 years – that Crean himself sat beside Tom Izzo as an assistant at Michigan State.Now he’s got a job that some might even consider more prestigious than that of his former employer, albeit one wracked with a lack of predictability at the moment.But never before, perhaps in the history of college basketball, has a program’s worst statistical season been so well-received.“They really helped us intensify the process and accelerate the process of trying to get this program back where it needed to be by the support that they showed,” Crean said of IU fans this year, who lined up almost lockstep behind the struggling program.Fan support or no, this season was likely one of the most trying of Tom Crean’s career and easily his statistical worst as a coach.To his credit, however, Crean rarely cast his glance beyond the losingest season in his program’s history to the riches that lay beyond – a top 10 2009 class, an immediately enhanced recruiting profile – heck, more than eight eligible scholarship players.Yes, as every Big Ten Network announcer said repeatedly this year, help is on the way in the form of that six-man recruiting class Crean expects to be fully assembled in Bloomington by the second summer session.It’s his hope, Crean said, that stirring in this year’s class with the young but seasoned roster already in Bloomington will create the kind of competition IU coaches insisted was lacking this season. Right now, he said, nothing is guaranteed.“By no stretch of the imagination is the roster set right now,” Crean said. “People have to improve, they have to get better. We’re still going through an evaluation process. The spring is a really, really important time right now to develop our team.”Malik Story’s decision to transfer, announced last week, changes that evaluation slightly, officially giving Crean room in his program to fulfill all 13 scholarship commitments for next season – the Hoosiers oversigned by one in their 2009 class.Even so, Crean reiterated that when it comes to recruiting, “you never want to close the door on the ability to add to your program.”But after spending 18 months in a state of broad, constant flux, IU basketball can finally take a collective breath and enjoy an off-season where Story’s transfer will likely be the biggest news out of Assembly Hall.Crean said he doesn’t expect academics to be a problem for either his current roster or the incoming recruits, and reports from all corners suggest those new faces are excited to get to Bloomington.And while Crean admitted that some current Hoosiers might be worried about the influx of talent about to hit the program, those returners who are excited are the ones Crean knows he can build his fledgling program around.“I think the guys that are really competitors, and that really want to win, they’re excited, because they want to see the program take steps,” Crean said. “I think people that might be a little more insecure in their game, they would be apprehensive, or maybe not looking forward to that.”Wherever he is Monday night, Crean will watch Izzo play for a national championship just spitting distance from Michigan State’s campus in East Lansing.It’s too much to expect emulation from the IU coach next year when the season culminates in Indianapolis’ new headline arena, Lucas Oil Stadium.But 12 months ago, IU basketball was spinning into the maelstrom. Now, it’s sailing toward the rising sun.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>INDIANAPOLIS – Amid the thick atmosphere begotten of torn athletic tape, discarded iPods and sweat-soaked socks, the Hoosiers’ Conseco Fieldhouse locker room had a distinct feel.It’s the same feel that every locker room, save one, takes on each season. It’s the feeling – really, more the knowledge – that it’s over.This ending probably won’t trouble any but the most steadfast of Hoosier fans, not after a 6-25 season with just one Big Ten win.For weeks now – really since Christian Watford’s commitment sent the 2009 recruiting class into the rankings stratosphere – every conversation about IU basketball has inevitably come around to next year.Yes, winning is all that matters in this game. But not many teams get to win. And not many teams have stories like this one.It really has been a remarkable season – not good or bad, just remarkable. Last year was likely the single most unpredictable year in IU basketball history – but this one gave it a run.Circumstance pulled together the most unlikely of stories – a baseball player, a former walk-on with two bad knees, a Gambian, even a manager – to build the least successful but perhaps most memorable team in IU history.Steven Gambles would know.The junior transferred to IU from Lambuth University, a school next to impossible to find without a Google search and a compass.On game night, he took the floor for a Big Ten Tournament game in his hometown wearing one of the most illustrious uniforms in college basketball history.“The road I’ve been through, as far as just school and basketball, I never thought it would come this way,” Gambles said March 12. “I’ve been fortunate. It’s been a blessing.”If you lived to be 100 years old, you might never see another season like this one.The more this team lost, the louder Assembly Hall got – more crowded, too. And if they took the losing hard, the Hoosiers’ demeanor rarely showed it.Players credited their coaches, and coaches credited their players. Maybe both knew anything else wasn’t an option. Maybe there was so much inexperience, they just didn’t have much frame of reference.If there was acknowledgement of Thursday’s consequence, it was quiet. Gambles said the locker room got “emotional” after the game, but no one appeared too downtrodden. Focus had already turned to the next task.There was some disappointment for Kyle Taber, the fifth-year walk-on-turned-scholarship-player who has had as many coaches and knee surgeries as IU had wins this season.The senior forward walked off to applause from Conseco’s remaining IU fans, an unlikely ending to one of the most unlikely careers in IU history.“I didn’t know what it would be,” Taber said of his tenure at IU. “It changed almost every year, it seemed like.”No one in that locker room knew yet what the immediate future would hold. A program one year ago defined by uncertainty had it again – but in a far more ordinary way.There won’t be a coaching search, and no roster needs to be built from scratch.The future can be about next season, not about tomorrow. Normalcy, if such a thing exists, can return to IU basketball.And then, at some point between now and October, the Hoosiers can start planning some payback.“I think every game next year is gonna be a revenge game,” Nick Williams said, smiling like a man who couldn’t wait to see what the future holds. “It’s going to be a fun season.”