Bad Boys.

I haven't done as much as I had hoped with this off week for the basketball team, although the Indianapolis Star managed to fill the void with its interview of Eric Gordon, who confirmed long-circulating rumors about drug use on last year's team. I gave an interview on this matter to Chadd Scott of Bustersports.com last night, and hopefully between all the throat-clearing and baby crying you will hear something coherent.

Of course, neither Gordon, nor Adam Ahlfeld, nor Jeff Rabjohns provided a ton of detail. I would be curious to know whether the problems related only to marijuana or whether they included hard stuff. Either way, if it was rampant enough to cause divisions between teammates, it was far too much, and yet another item is added to the bill of particulars against Kelvin Sampson. There is no college campus, and probably no basketball program, that is free of marijuana use (and that includes Knight's IU program), but again, there seems to have been a lack of focus by Sampson on anything outside of basketball. One of thing that I found refreshing about Sampson was that he wasn't a pretentious pseudo-renaissance man. For instance, Sampson would never appear in a credit coach claiming to be "a leader who happens to coach basketball." He was a pure gym rat who saw no dishonor in the title of basketball coach. But there is a flip side. This drug issue, and the phone calls, and the academic implosion of the program all show that he was doing a disservice to his players. Sampson was screwed as soon as the news broke in October 2007. But wouldn't Jamarcus Ellis, Deandre Thomas, Armon Bassett, etc. be better off if Sampson had cared a bit more about the other stuff?

Now, as if the football team was embarrassing enough on the field, redshirt freshman defensive back Cortez Smith was arrested for robbery. Unless this is a case of mistaken identity, it's safe to say that Smith's brief stay in Bloomington is over.

It would be nice to have something good to say about IU sports. I don't give much coverage to the women's basketball team, but they did recently finish the non-conference 7-2 and are ranked #23 in the RPI and #35 in the Sagarin. The women's team hasn't been to the NCAA Tournament since its surprising Big Ten Tournament championship in 2002 (still the only such championship by any IU team) and hasn't received an at-large bid since 1995. Given the lack of suspense regarding the men's postseason prospects, this is worth watching.


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