IU chooses Crean
By Michael Marot
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. ó Indiana is turning to Tom Crean to bring respectability back to Hoosiers. A couple dozen wins each year would help, too.
After a tumultuous season and turbulent coaching search, the Hoosiers hired Crean on Tuesday as what they hope will be a long-term replacement for Kelvin Sampson. Sampson resigned in February amid a phone-call scandal that included five major allegations from the NCAA.
Crean is expected to be introduced at a news conference today.
iI think heís a great choice,î university trustee Philip Eskew said after confirming the hiring. iHe has a Big Ten background, a Midwest background, heís recruited in the state of Indiana and he has an impeccable record, so I think Indiana is on the road to recovery.î
For most Indiana fans, the changes canít come soon enough.
Sampsonís resignation Feb. 22 led to the promotion of interim coach Dan Dakich, a threatened players boycott and the ultimate indignity of losing four of the last seven games, including a first-round NCAA game to Arkansas. The Hoosiers finished the season 25-8.
Losses were only part of the problem.
Six players skipped Dakichís first practice and never played with the same zeal after Sampsonís departure. Dakich gave guard Jamarcus Ellis a one-game suspension for disciplinary reasons and on Tuesday dismissed Ellis and Armon Bassett, another starting guard, after they missed a scheduled appointment last week and then failed to run extra laps as their punishment the next day.
The biggest question is what kind of team Crean will inherit.
Starting forwards D.J. White and Lance Stemler both finished their senior seasons, and itís uncertain whether Bassett and Ellis, two of the starting guards, are gone for good.
On Monday, freshman guard Eric Gordon is expected to announce if he will declare early for the NBA. Most figure, heís leaving, which would leave Indiana without all five of its regular starters from last season.