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What Tom Crean’s firing means for Indiana’s 2017 recruiting class

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The dominoes have begun to fall as Tom Crean’s recruits face the reality of Indiana’s unknowns.

Clifton Moore

While a coach’s firing gets the fans talking, what seldom gets talked about is the abrupt end of the relationships that a recruit has with a departing coach. In Tom Crean’s case, he had spent years getting to know the ins and outs of every player’s game he recruited, their families, and what they wanted not only out of their college experience, but their life, too.

Tom Crean not only was looked at as a coach, but as a mentor, and it’s easy to see why his firing would change a recruit’s perception of the entire school, as his best relationship tying him there is now gone. After Indiana decided to move on last week, there were bound to be repercussions on the recruiting front. Here’s what we know so far:

  • Clifton Moore, the 3-star out of Hatboro-Horsham HS (PA), became the first domino to fall from Indiana’s 2017 class, as he asked for his release from his National Letter of Intent on Monday night. In an interview with Peegs’ Jeff Rabjohns, Moore said “I originally came for Tom Crean and Chuck Martin. I really like the bond that we formed and how they said they were going to use me, and I just felt like when they left, that was a big part of my reason to go there.” Moore has skyrocketed up the rankings from obscurity and has the look of a hidden gem that Crean has become known for finding, so this one stings a bit.
  • The writing was on the wall with Jordan Tucker. Just a week earlier, he had gone out of his way to say Indiana was at the top of his list, but was waiting to see how the rest of the season shook out. Turns out the 4-star SF was smart to do so, as he is no longer considering Indiana.

  • Justin Smith and Al Durham, the other two Indiana commits for the class of 2017, have not publicly commented on Tom Crean’s dismissal. However, of note is that they also signed a NLI and would have to be let out of their scholarship by IU if they were to want to go play somewhere else.

UPDATE: Al Durham has asked for his release as well.

  • While Crean’s departure cannot help Indiana’s involvement in the recruitment of Mark Smith, the slow pace at which Smith is playing his rising stock is the best news Indiana fans could hope for. Whenever IU announces its next head coach, a call to Mark Smith will undoubtedly be one of the first matters of business to handle for Brad Stevens Tom Crean’s successor.

  • Zach Gunn, the all-time leading scorer for Hamilton Southeastern HS in Indianapolis, committed to Ball State shortly after Crean’s firing. While he never had an offer from Indiana, the 3-star was in constant communication with Crean, and Crean’s dismissal was the final straw for Gunn.