We were trolling through some of the Indiana blogs yesterday to see how things were going in red-state flyover land the heartland, and although there was some palpable anger still directed at Kelvin Sampson for the shenanigans he pulled in Bloomington during his tenure, it seemed as if most of their fans were ready to move on with the new Tom Crean regime and their headline (only?) returning player, sophomore guard Jordan Crawford (9/3 last year). Funny, plans. On May 28, The Hoosier Scoop wrote about Crawford (paraphrasing Crean):
Crean said that there is no change in Jordan Crawford’s status. Crawford, who will be the only returning player who came to IU on scholarship, is back in Detroit right now and will not attend summer school. “He doesn’t need to, and I think it’s good for him to get home,” Crean said. “It’s important to remember that those guys have been through a whole lot.”
Crawford Didn’t Want to Carry the IU Torch (photo credit: Bloomington Herald-Times)
Apparently Crawford liked home a little better than Bloomington. Today he became the sixth Indiana player to leave the program in the wake of the Kelvin Sanctions fiasco – joining Eric Gordon (NBA), Armon Bassett, DeAndre Thomas, Jamarcus Ellis, AJ Ratliff and Eli Holman as players going elsewhere next year. As far as we can tell, this leaves only little-used (11 mpg) senior forward Kyle Taber as the only scholarship player returning next season.
Witness the pain emanating from the most excellent IU blog, Inside the Hall:
Now, please excuse me. I’m going to go ignore the fact that any of this ever happened. If you close your eyes so hard you see stars, breathe deeply, and hit yourself in the head with a ball peen hammer forty or fifty times, it’s like our team is still really good. And there are pretty colors everywhere! I highly recommend it.
Ouch. This complete demolition of a program with the status of Indiana represents a nearly unprecedented situation in college basketball history. Sure, Tulane and Baylor blew up their programs based on scandals (point-shaving, and well, murder), but the closest thing we can remember that compares to what Tom Crean will face next year is Rick Pitino’s first year (1989-90) at Kentucky in the wake of several major recruiting violations. Pitino had several scholarship players returning including two all-SEC honorees, however, and four of the younger players ended up with their names in the rafters. Still, it took five years for the Wildcats to get back to the F4. We have trouble seeing Kyle Taber leading any sort of renaissance at IU – it could take many more than five years before this sinking ship at Indiana is righted again.