Last night was rough. I was very angry at that result. I personally pride myself in being able to emotionally distance myself from sports pretty easily. Things annoy me, results make me happy, but usually within an hour or so, it's out of sight out of mind. Last night, I sat staring at the TV actually physically shaking from just sheer anger at what had just transpired. Partially because that should happen to no team ever, but also because of the over arching implications. Tom Crean may not be the guy for the job.
I've always been a big defender of Tom Crean. I personally still think he's a great person for the job. Are there better options out there? Probably. But there are very few guys out there who are better ambassadors for this university. The guy goes above and beyond what is necessary for his role and you have to appreciate that. That being said, this year has not at all come with the results that you would expect from this roster.
Partially it is an incomplete roster. This group of 13 guys are not well rounded enough to put together a complete squad. Certainly a lot of that is on Crean, but much of it is also on sheer circumstance. In the world of recruiting you take what you can get and sometimes that means you're left with high power athletes that can't shoot at a college level as freshmen and sophomores. Next year, Indiana will be void of a pure big man if Vonleh leaves. Again, Crean's fault but not really. He missed on his big target and the guy that was supposed to be the leader in the clubhouse to start transferred because he was homesick. What you going to do? However, there are still things under Crean's control that haven't been going the best.
After last night, I have that same feeling that I did after the Colts lost the Super Bowl to the Saints in '09. I'm one of those guys that has been adamant that Peyton Manning is the best quarterback in the league and arguably top 3 ever. I feel very strongly about that and still do. However after that Saints Super Bowl, I was at a loss for words. The results weren't measuring up to the talent. If someone wanted to tell me, "no way, Brady is easily better." I couldn't really argue. They could be right. I don't think they are, but I had my numbers with a lack of results to lean on.
That's how I'm feeling right now about Tom Crean. I think he's the man for the job. I believe he's more than competent enough to take Indiana to where they want to go. I see it in a lot of the little stuff game in and game out. I see it in the frustration when the players are obviously not executing to how they're being coached. I see it in his successes out of timeouts. I see it in the moments of defensive and offensive brilliance that we get glimpses of in minutes. I lose it in the crazy rotations and long runs of ineffectiveness. I still very much have faith in Crean as a coach.
BUT, if you want to say no way, you're crazy. He's in over his head. I'm not sure I have the evidence to argue with you. I can say watch at this moment in this game and you'll see it. But like Peyton Manning, I can't really defend the results. They just aren't coming about like they should. Peyton's team flaming out in the playoffs weren't entirely his fault. In fact there were times where he played brilliantly and still lost. I'm not saying Crean is the best ever, but there are certainly times where he's doing all the right things and losing.
He's good, he's capable, he's not getting the results expected of him. To me, that's Tom Crean and Peyton Manning in a nutshell. I'd ask for patience with youth and just wait he'll show you, but I can't really push back if you tell me no. I get it. I see where a lot of people are coming from. I guess I'm just at a point where I have to look at Crean and hope that he gets his vindication.
Maybe I'm in the minority, it certainly feels like it. At this point, I don't blame you.