Sports From the Couch-Views From the Couch by jshowal2

By Jeff Showalter

It’s time to take a look back and then look ahead at what’s going on in this crazy little world of sports.

Bad news for Colts fans as Melvin Bullitt is gone for the year with a broken bone in the shoulder. I’m amazed Bullitt has lasted as long as he has considering the dude ways a buck ninety at most. I don’t care what the Colts say he ways. The Couch has stood beside Bullitt and there is no way he is over 2 bills. With Silva out, Bullitt out and Sanders out (like that was a shock), it looks like the Colts are going to be looking for a safety. You can only take “next man up” so far and Safety is too big a deal in the cover 2 defense. Tampa Bay is also looking so I would guess the Bucs list would be similar to the Colts since they play the same D.

Look Hoosier football fans, I wanted my alma mater to win as much as the rest of you but let us be honest for a minute. Bill Lynch isn’t going to win you a lot of football games with his coaching expertise. If the dude could coach, he wouldn’t be at Indiana. You can not have “co-defensive coordinators”. All that means is both guys suck and what you get is a defense that is SLOW, unprepared and incapable. Chappell threw for 480, but when you know your defense is jello, you have to have a QB that is perfect. Not many QB’s are perfect. IU does need to throw downfield more because good defensive teams are going to keep 8 back and bust the wide receivers up on these short routes.  IU has to stretch the defense. Of course after OSU hangs forty on the Cream and Crimson Saturday, it will begin to look more and more like another 4-8 season in B’Town.

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Bob Knight Gives Speech in Indy on Same Night as Tom Crean’s in Bloomington by kentsterling

by Kent Sterling

Former Indiana basketball coach Bob Knight gave a speech benefitting a charity last night in Indianapolis.  Tom Crean addressed Hoosier fans at the IU Auditorium last night.  Coincidence?

My guess is that it is.  As arrogant and bitter as Knight can be, I doubt he asked the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Central Indiana to make sure the event featuring his presence was held on the same night Crean spoke.

It’s unlikely that Crean decided it would help his attendance and hurt Knight’s if both presentations were held simultaneously.

The media coverage for the events gave a clear edge to the old man, who hasn’t deposited a check as an employee of Indiana University in over a decade.  TV news stations covered Knight in their newscasts last night and this morning.  The Indianapolis Star put Knight on the front page, and the top item on the online sports page.  Crean?  I’m still looking in the Star for any mention.  Would it have killed the Star’s IU beat writer Terry Hutchens to attend the Crean speech and get quotes from fans afterward if nothing else?

The reason for the edge to Knight is obvious.  Of the two, who is likely to say something newsworthy?  I’ve neverread an inflammatory quote from Crean.  I’ve never heard Knight speak when he didn’t say something brutally honest, angry, intolerant, and/or crazy.  He’s also incredibly entertaining.  Crean?  He has the discretion Knight continues to lack.

At the Knight events I attended as a student, there was always an air of drama.  No one knew who he would bludgeon, or what hopeless dumbass would ask him the wrong question and prompt the typical hilarious scorn of the beast.  Poking the bear in the red sweater was always a losing play.

I can’t imagine Crean attacking anyone.

Crean’s speech featured a lot of rah-rah stuff about how the Hoosiers are improving, and will be tougher.  Knight blasted the NCAA and Notre Dame.

Going to a Crean speech is like attending a Journey concert.  He is going to play the hits in a very predictable way.  Knight is like Judy Garland back in the 1960s.  Is going to show up at all, and if so will she be trashed?  If present and sober, she might be magical.  Knight is as thoroughly unpredictable as any performer since Garland.  People might not know who he’s going to blast, but it’s likely to be some agency or person who bloviates with regard only to hear himself speak.

Last night, Knight busted the NCAA and Notre Dame, according to Jeff Rabjohn’s account in the Star.  Knight chided the NCAA for allowing one-and-done kids to pass six hours in the first semester and never attend a class in the second semester, yet play a full season and win a national championship.  The NCAA tries to penalize schools who might engage in that kind of work without reward scenario for kids with the Academic Progress Rate scores and penalties attached for poor performance, but as long as the APR penalties attach to the schools and not the coach, what the hell does he care?

The Notre Dame shots were earned by not joining the Big Ten, which Knight strongly advocates.  He said there are some dumb “Catholic boys up there”, who don’t understand how their recruiting would change if they affiliated.

Crean spoke about the Hoosiers being more fit and tougher.

That Knight wins that battle for the media spotlight isn’t hard to understand.  Crean joins a list of speakers a mile long who don’t rival Knight for creating drama and tension.  The list of men more interesting and entertaining for sports fans to listen to for 90 minutes is very short.

Indiana Basketball Recruit Austin Etherington on Why He Chose Indiana by kentsterling

by Kent Sterling

It doesn’t take long after meeting Hamilton Heights senior Austin Etherington to figure out this 6’6″ kid from Cicero, Indiana, is honest and smart.  It takes about as long watching him play basketball to see that he is very competitive and loves the game.

There is something very likable about this kid from the small town part of Hamilton County.  Austin tells the truth, looks a man in the eye when he speaks, and is pretty damn smart.

After I stopped videotaping our talk, I lectured him on using the media to build his brand.  So many athletes have no idea what an opportunity there is for them to craft an image in the minds of the public – many of whom are hiring managers.  I told him, “Every microphone and camera is a portal to thousands of ears, and to sit in a corner avoiding that opportunity is wasteful and lazy.”  He looked at me through the entire speech, and in the end I thought, you just wasted five minutes telling that kid something he already knew.

Not that he tried to spin things to make himself look like a saint, genius, or role model.  He just answered questions and revealed part of who he is, which is exactly the right way to build an image.  It must reflect reality, or the image seems forced and phony.  Etherington is not phony.  He knows it, and was polite enough to listen to stuff he already knows.

Indiana basketball fans are going to love this kid.  He loves challenges, knows and attacks adversity, and believes brotherhood is important in building a team.  Tom Crean has been criticized a little bit for offering Etherington as early as he did, which is nonsense.  After watching him play several times and talking to him, I think anyone who didn’t offer is crazy.  He’s 6’6″, can jump, defends hard enough to frustrate Rivals #2 ranked player L’Bryan Nash into punching him in the back of the head during a tournament last summer, and can flat shoot it.  And more than just being the sum of his parts, he’s a basketball player.

There are a lot of kids who play basketball, but not that many basketball players.  I’m not sure this makes any sense to anyone but me, but Etherington moves and plays inside the game.

This is a kid who’s home burned to the ground a year ago, is proud to be an example to younger teammates and his two younger brothers, and has a burning desire for Hamilton Heights to win their first sectional in nearly a decade.

Here’s what Etherington has to say about choosing Indiana:

Here’s a video with some highlights from Etherington and his team at the Adidas tournament played at North Central High School in July, 2010:

Tom Crean Lecture—What Do We Expect? by The Truth
September 23, 2010, 4:29 pm
Filed under: Indiana Basketball, Indiana University, Kyle Miller | Tags:

By Kyle Miller

September 23 has been marked on my calendar for quite awhile now, but my wait is over and the time has come for Coach Crean to deliever his second pre-season lecture.  The lecture takes place tonight at Indiana University’s Auditorium starting at 7:30 p.m..

Last year Coach Crean marched to the podium in a red fleece that displayed five NCAA National Championships on the back.  The concentrated message revolved around the fact that IU basketball was not back to where it needs to be, but we we’re stepping in the right direction.

Now just a year later, the buzz of Indiana basketball is back.  Indiana is on several top recruits final lists, and some have already decided to wear the cream n’ crimson candy strips like Austin Etherington, Ron Patterson, and Peter Jurkin.  So what do we expect to hear from Coach tonight?

The answer to that question is I don’t know.  No one does.  We know one thing is for sure, some incompetent student will ask Coach Crean about recruits, which of course he can’t answer, but outside of that I am in a labyrinth maze on what Crean will talk about tonight.

We know he will be enthusiatic and excite the audience with his overall presence and deamonor.  We know he will speak on what each player has worked on this offseason and how the team’s chemistry is developing.  I hope we hear of the team’s preseason goals, and I hope one includes participation in a postseason tournament.

Last year the audience attendance was a bit of a dissappointment as we filled about three-fourths of the lower section.  This year, the IDS has promoted the lecture longer and more emphatically with a giant section on the back of the newspaper for about two weeks now.  I expect a much better tournout this year, hopefully stretching to the upper level.

This upcoming season certainly has a lot of questions that won’t be answered until the Hoosiers hit the hardwood.   Crean can’t answer how many triples Jordan Hulls or Maurice Creek are going to drain, or how many rebounds Capobianco is going to pull down, but one thing we know of Coach Crean is that by 7:30 he will have us all feeling assured Indiana is on it’s way back.

IU to Kick Off Exhibitions with Franklin College by kentsterling

by Kent Sterling

Indiana teams should absolutely play each other, and the exhibition announced today against Franklin College is a step in the right direction toward making that happen.

Tom Crean and Fred Glass should be commended for working to include schools like Franklin in its exhibition schedule, and join a self-congratulatory Hoosier handshake with Purdue’s Morgan Burke, Butler’s Barry Collier, and Notre Dame’s Jack Swarbrick in creating an Indiana school event like the Crossroads Classic for 2011 and beyond.

Indiana will also play Evansville this year, and Purude will play Indianapolis in an exhibition, Valpo, Indiana State, and IPFW.  That’s the way the in-state school should do business.  Keep the money in state, and give kids from Indiana a chance to play at Assembly Hall and Mackey Arena.

Indiana Basketball Keeps Coming Back by kentsterling

by Kent Sterling

Rolling a boulder up a hill everyday with the only reward being another trip up the hill the following day with an additional six-inch head start is tough sledding, but it’s Tom Crean’s job.

Those little half-foot gains don’t seem like much at first, especially when you started at the bottom of a very tall hill, as Crean did two years ago.  The once proud Indiana University basketball program began its erosion a couple of years prior to Bob Knight’s self-immolation, but was virtually destroyed by the inattentiveness Mike Davis displayed followed by Kelvin Sampson’s grotesque amorality.

Crean took the job because IU is IU and very few schools are in a very exclusive pantheon of basketball programs, although he was stunned enough by the state of total disrepair that he requested and received a two-year extension before he was completely unpacked.

The Bob Knight roast last night to raise money for St. Joseph’s High School in Chicago brought to mind the former glory of Indiana University, but also Knight’s arrogance and pettiness.  To guess that what has happened over the course of the past 12 years at Assembly Hall would happen would have been inconceivable.  The trip from arrogance to incompetence to corruption to a complete rebuild was impossible to predict.

But those chunks of ground are beginning to add up, and if the Hoosiers haven’t quite turned the corner, they’re close enough to it for Crean to hit his turn signal.

His timing couldn’t be better as the high schools in the state of Indiana is so chock full of basketball talent right now that it makes the 2006 and 2007 classes look average.  IU is doggedly recruiting a dozen of those kids, and if they can get a couple more commitments, all of a sudden the skies will brighten in Monroe County.

Park Tudor HS Yogi Ferrell

Yogi Ferrell, Cody Zeller, Jeremy Hollowell, D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Hanner Perea, Collin Hartman, and former Louisville commitment Michael Chandler all are looking very seriously at Indiana.  Add three or four of those kids to current commits Austin Etherington and Peter Jurkin and players already wearing Indiana jerseys, and you have a team that is going to be competitive on a national level.

Cook Hall is a beautiful facility for basketball recruits, but athletic director Fred Glass has taken a much quieter but much bigger step in the right direction with the unveiling of the Indiana University Excellence Academy.  While the Excellence Academy right now little more than a very fancy plan, it could be a game-changer for IU.

There are parents who confidently look coaches in the eye at the schools recruiting their kids and hold their hands out for all the goodies that accompany one-and-done talent.  Others are sincerely interested in sending their sons to a place where they can be nurtured, educated, and graduated not only with meaningful degrees, but with a maturity and self-awareness that will allow them to both be successful and enjoy it.

Inch by inch, the rock is moving up the hill.  The culture is being built.  The players are doing the work.  The mature version of the product of that work won’t be on display for a couple of years, but it’s getting closer and closer.

Tom Cream Releases Video of Recent Workouts Via Twitter by The Truth

By Kyle Miller

Coach Crean released a video today via twitter on recent workouts.  Some of these stadium step workouts look absolutely brutal: