Eli Holman Channels Bob Knight

Posted by rtmsf on May 5th, 2008

We’re late on this story from Bloomington last week, but it’s so darned amusing that we decided that it needs its own post.  As you’re well aware, last Thursday was May Day, celebrated in the United States for the triumph of the labor class over management in the Haymarket Riots of 1886, but one of Tom Crean’s new charges might have taken the doctrinal calling of the working class a tad too seriously when he met with his coach that day. 

Happy May Day, Coach Crean!  (photo credit:  Harpers Weekly)

Eli Holman, a 6’9, 210-lb freshman center who hardly played at all under Kelvin Sampson (6 games), called a meeting with Crean to discuss his future and ostensibly inform the coach of his intentions to transfer out of the program.  From Tom Crean’s statement to the media (h/t Inside the Hall):

We met with Eli Holman this afternoon. He had a good meeting with our assistant coaches earlier in the day. I felt like he still was not sure whether or not he wanted to be here which surprised me because everything we have seen from him had been very positive in terms of staying at Indiana and moving forward. I have no idea what made him change his mind and arrive at this point. He indicated that he would like to leave Indiana, although I was hopeful that we could work through this situation to come to an arrangement we both were comfortable with and to take some time to make a decision.

And then things got weird.  Apparently Crean must have said something to inspire a Knight-like response from Holman, because this is what happened next:

IU Police Department officers were dispatched to Assembly Hall on Thursday afternoon after freshman basketball player Eli Holman threw a potted plant and created a disturbance in the men’s basketball office, IUPD Capt. Jerry Minger said, reading from a police report. At 3:40 p.m. Thursday, police were dispatched to Assembly Hall “as a precaution,” Crean said.  “We saw him as a danger to himself,” he said.  IU Director of Athletics Rick Greenspan arrived and helped calm Holman down, Minger said.  Holman was still agitated when police arrived, Minger said, adding no one told police they believed they were threatened by Holman. He was just “loud and angry,” Minger said.  Holman was not arrested, and no charges were filed.

Hmmm…  So if we take Crean at his word that things were cordial at the beginning of the conversation, what could cause such an explosive reaction in Holman?  Guys don’t just go around throwing potted plants unless they’re genuinely pissed, right?


Crean’s Brand of Ethnic Cleansing

Our best guess – Crean, facing a potential further loss of scholarships through the APR, tried to play games with Holman by suggesting that IU wouldn’t release him from his scholarship if he tried to transfer.  Holman, a man who has been grazed by a bullet growing up on the rough-and-tumble streets of Richmond, CA, and who was permanently suspended in high school for shoving an official during a game, responded in the only way he knew how – by throwing things. 

While Crean loses another body and possibly faces further scholarship restrictions thanks to the expected APR hit, many IU fans see this as a necessary cleansing of the program and therefore don’t seem to be holding it against him.  One thing is certain – with three scholarship returners and four incoming freshmen remaining for 08-09, this rebuilding process will supplant any challenge Crean has had to encounter before.  Where’s that next Dwyane Wade, anyway? 

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