I mean that in two ways, both the "huh?" way and as a sincere question. Has there been some incident that escaped my attention and the attention of the local media?
DeCourcy wrote a column untitled "Winning is always a group effort." No controversy there, and the substance is what you would expect: team=good, excess individualism=bad. DeCourcy then says this:
Indiana has wrestled with this issue. Before meeting Georgia Tech, the Hoosiers collapsed against Xavier, losing, 80-65, in a game in which signs of discomfort with the publicity and attention gained by freshman star Eric Gordon began to leak from the Big Red machine.
"I'm sure if you put Kelvin (Sampson) under some truth serum, he'd say they're not playing well together," [Georgia Tech coach Paul] Hewitt says. "Once they figure out they all can have their individual glory when the team does well, Indiana will be one of the best teams in the country."
Actually, no truth serum is required. Sampson said as much, nearly verbatim, after the Xavier game. That a team isn't playing well together isn't necessary a sign of dissension, but could be related to having a bunch of first year Hoosiers in significant roles. So, what "signs" were there? Was there some sort of altercation, some post game quote, something else? Later, DeCourcy continues:
What makes the minor dysfunction at Indiana curious is how rarely Gordon is shooting, relative to his 26.6-point scoring average. Star big man D.J. White doesn't have a problem. He wants to win something that counts before he leaves Indiana, preferably after this, his redshirt junior season, and he understands that a teammate with Gordon's immense talent makes achievement plausible.
It apparently just comes down to Gordon getting his pictures in magazines and his highlights on ESPN. That hasn't worked for everybody. Eventually, it must because Gordon is going to produce the kind of numbers that generate headlines and, almost invariably, benefit his teammates.Sampson says coaches can preach sacrifice and commitment to the team throughout the year, with signs and slogans tacked to locker room walls. But, he says, "When they hear that stuff in September, you're spitting into the wind. The best time is after a loss, when you can plant those seeds. And then, after a win, you can talk about the team because now they've all had a little success."
There are two direct quotes in that article, one from GT coach Hewitt, another fairly generic comment from Sampson. DeCourcy doesn't support this notion of dissension and Indiana with a direct quote, an anonymous quote, a "people close to the program" citation, or anything. He paints a picture of turmoil in IU's program without providing any way for us to consider the validity of his conclusion. The Sporting News allows comments at the end of its articles. When called on this article by an IU fan, DeCourcy gets cute:
This piece is not about Eric Gordon not being a team player. It's not declared. It's not implied. I would even suggest it's impossible to infer that. It's about how a few of his teammates (as stated in the article, not fellow star D.J. White) reacted to his early success. I'm not skewing anything. Please, read the article again and explain how you can come to the conclusion you did.
Maybe not. But the article did suggest that there is dissension at IU. I get the sense that DeCoursy thinks he is doing someone a favor by not naming names. But now all of IU's players are tarred with the "bad teammate" brush. And on what evidence? If there is actual disharmony in the locker room, then prove it, Mike. What were these amorphous "signs of discomfort," and more importantly, how do you know about those signs? Do you have a source? Did you see something on television? Or, faced with a deadline, did you decide to traffic in unsourced innuendo? The more I read the Sporting News, the more I think that the magazine will print nearly anything. What a terrible article. Sampson ought to think twice about giving any more interviews to this guy.