Over the past few weeks we have heard a wide variety of rumors surrounding the job status of Indiana’s head basketball coach. Now, Tom Crean is fired.
It’s important to try and keep everything in mind.
I’m not here to try and change your mind on whether Coach Crean should have been fired, rather I just think it’s important to look at the logistics of the situation at hand.
With Tom Crean leaving Indiana, the Hoosiers are going to be really really bad next year.
I’m not talking Migos “Bad and Boujee” or Michael Jackson “Bad.”
Quite simply, Indiana is just going to be too depleted to compete next year without Tom Crean.
With Crean let go, you’re risking massive player turnover. With potential NBA talent yet to make decisions, potential recruits yet to arrive to campus, and potential transfers waiting on a decision, proceeding without Tom Crean leaves this program desperate for talent.
With all of this said, even if the program kept Tom Crean, there would still be questions in regards to whether players are staying or leaving. One can have those questions, but it has to be assumed that a brand new coaching regime has less of a likelihood to retain these players than Crean would.
That is because the upcoming decisions that are yet to be made are based upon relationships.
Players that might go pro had to consider their relationship with Crean. Why would anyone stick around to build a new relationship with a different coach?
Recruits have to obviously consider their relationships with Crean as well. I hate to state the obvious, but when making a commitment, coaching tends to have an effect on where a player is interested.
We have already seen some of the after affects of Washington’s firing of Lorenzo Romar. According to Percy Allen of The Seattle Times, three Washington starters and three incoming recruits are thinking about transferring.
Expected to be a mass exodus at @UW_MBB. Three starters and three incoming recruits say they're thinking about transferring. Wow.— Percy Allen (@percyallen) March 15, 2017
Of course, any recruit that has signed a letter of intent, has to be granted a release by the university before finding another school. With that said, I don’t think any program would want to deal with a disgruntled recruit that is forced to attend a university.
Tom Crean might not be the best coach for this program moving forward, but now that he being replaced, whoever has the job after him is going to need a great deal of leeway and patience. The prospective roster of a Crean-less program could look desolate for quite awhile.
Players that might go pro
Thomas Bryant: According to CBS Sports, Bryant is considered the 25th best draft prospect in the upcoming class. Bryant had the opportunity to make the jump last year, but declined to do so in order to continue developing in college. Now, after a season where Bryant scored 12.6 points and grabbed 6.6 rebounds per game, the Hoosiers might be without their starting center.
O.G. Anunoby: Of course O.G. is a unique case, as nobody really knows his recovery status since suffering an injury against Penn State. Prior to the injury, Anunoby was a top-15 prospect on almost all draft sites.
James Blackmon Jr.: Last year, Blackmon tested the waters by heading to the NBA Combine. After attempting to make a run at the pros last year, one would have reason to believe he might attempt to do so again.
Players that might transfer
James Blackmon Jr.: It’s a known fact that James Blackmon Jr. is trying to graduate by the end of the year. It’s known, because he said so on Tom Crean’s radio show earlier on in the year. If Blackmon sticks to that plan, he would be free to leave as a grad transfer. This would mean he wouldn’t have to sit out a year of eligibility.
Anyone else: Genuinely anyone else on this team can transfer if they wanted to. Even Tim Priller can.
Players that might graduate
Colin Hartman: Yeah, this is an intersting category. It’s interesting, but we don’t know if Hartman will transfer or take a medical redshirt. What we do know is that Hartman is recently engaged and that means he probably has some facet of a life plan in place moving forward.
Recruits to consider
Justin Smith, Clifton Moore, and Aljami Durham: All three recruits have signed their letter of intent to Indiana, but that doesn’t mean the end of the process. According to 247Sports, the three are ranked 72nd, 143rd, and 239th nationally.
Jordan Tucker: According to 247Sports, Tucker is the 54th best prospect in the country. Tucker is currently uncommitted, but according to Rivals, Indiana is at the top of his list at the moment. Tucker would be a huge get, but a coaching change could complicate that.
With all these factors considered, you have to look at what might be left of this Hoosier roster. This is all hypothetical, but if the aforementioned decisions fall into place as they might without Crean, the roster doesn’t look that great.
Potential Starting Lineup:
Freddie McSwain Jr.
Any Freshman that remain committed
This conversation deals with a great deal of unknowns. Maybe I’m completly wrong with my assertions, and players could be more inclined to stay under a new coach. I’m not in anyone’s head. I just know from previous history, when schools make coaching changes, players have a tendency to depart.
A coaching change can help this program in the long-run or it can not. That question may take a while to answer if it ever does get answered. All I do know, is that Indiana Basketball might not look as “iconic” as usual next season under a different coach.
Although, “senior leader Tim Priller” does sound nice.