We’re in peak offseason content mode here at the quarantine blogging factory.
Hey, we’re in Week 5 of a reignited Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James debate, so anything flies right now.
Crimson Quarry dot com filed a public records request for all of the emails sent to IU’s men’s basketball program’s email address during a six-day span in mid-March. The goal was to provide an inside look at what communication was coming into the program when the season ended so suddenly, especially after there were concerns that an opposing head coach – cough, one whose school lost to IU in football 38-31 last fall, cough – had shared the floor with IU at the Big Ten tournament while visibly showing signs that he had contracted some sort of illness.
Well, we recently got the response to our public records request and while there was nothing mind-blowing regarding the logistics of the men’s basketball season ending so suddenly, we did get enough Other Stuff to warrant a blog post.
Funny, delusional and otherwise oblivious stuff.
(Quick side note: I don’t understand the admittedly few but passionate critics of Fred Glass and I think his already-strong reputation will get even better with age. I’ve read numerous emails that athletic administrators have sent to their staffs and athletes when sports seasons were canceled, and Glass’ note to the IU athletics community felt as personal, empathetic and genuine as any, rather than the corporate, bland PR-feel that some had.)
Anyways, back to business. Here are the things that people sent to the IU basketball email account as the sports world, and world as we knew it, was being shut down due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
High school basketball players – they’re just like us!
Every industry has its own technical jargon and catch phrases that are overused until they’ve been repeated into oblivion, losing all meaning and credibility. If you’ve recently uttered the phrases “circle back,” “10,000-foot view” or “you don’t know what you don’t know” over a Zoom call, congrats, you’ve just been charged with a misdemeanor in corporate speak.
If you haven’t done so, then listen in on one of your relatives or roommates’ conference calls this week and you’re bound to hear one of those phrases said at least once, as the nine other pairs of eyes on their screen slowly glaze over.
Well, it turns out the only group of people that’s more guilty of using buzzwords, cliches and hyperbole than corporate business professionals are high school basketball players.
A few examples from some cold-call style emails that the IU men’s basketball program received from high schools recruits:
- “In addition, I’m always trying to play smart basketball and I’m willing to work hard every day as much as possible. Winning is my motivation every time I’m stepping on the court and off the court. I am sure that with hard work and dedication I will be able to help the team to achieve our goals and especially to win.”
- “I have always been striving to be the best I can go as far as possible. I know that nothing is ever handed to you, and I have been taught to fight for everything. Opportunity is something you have to earn rather than to just expect it to be given to you without any effort.”
- “I work extremely hard in the off season to accomplish my goals. I go above and beyond on and off the court and the classroom to try and bring a positive light to our program and my school.”
- “I am as curious as I am motivated.”
- “Academics are also very important to me, and I take pride in striving to achieve the best I can in every class, while also challenging myself.”
- “I am told I am kind hearted and wear my heart on my sleeve because I volunteer all the time to help older adults in our community with yard work or gardening ... I value family and respect, also, last but definitely not least, I have mad faith in God and am very humble when I say that!”
There’s some major IU Freshman Connection Roommate Finder Facebook page energy there. “I’m here first and foremost to get a great education but I’m also trying to have a good time and go out at least twice every weekend. I plan on rushing a top-tier fraternity but my grades and community service are my priority. I’m a self-starter but I also thrive in groups. I’m told I’m the life of the party but I also make friends with everyone. Message me if you think we’d be a good fit as roommates!”
Look, I was like the 35th-fastest runner on my cross country team as a senior in high school so I was never even remotely close to playing sports in college, and I can’t even imagine being a rising, or graduating, senior right now and experiencing how [gestures wildly from quarantining in my parents’ basement] has affected your ability to be seen by college coaches.
But at the end of the day, it’s going to be raw athletic talent and statistical production that get you noticed by college coaches, not your research and implementation of Buzzfeed’s “27 motivational quotes and phrases that you HAVE to use in your college essays.”
One high school prospect wrote to IU, claiming he shot 67 percent from the field, 82 percent from the line and 63 percent from deep.
“Although my 3 point isn’t where I want it to be,” wrote the genetically engineered, second-coming of Steph Curry.
Let’s cautiously poke at this next email with a 10-foot pole
The IU men’s basketball email address, along with a few members of the coaching staff, received a 27-email thread that was forwarded by the original sender of all 27 emails. As part of the thread, every current or former Democratic candidate for the 2020 election, along with various government offices, had been sent emails during a period starting February 27 through March 13, asking for them to stop talking about the coronavirus “hoax” and “fraud.”
His words, not mine.
On the day the NCAA tournament was eventually canceled, the sender of the emails tried to save the NCAA tournament, addressing top officials including U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Dr. Anthony Fauci, pleading they “let the coaches and players decide. They were not part of this. They worked their asses off to get there, and some will never have another opportunity.”
That email was then forwarded to the potential Democratic Presidential candidates and then that email was forwarded to the IU men’s basketball program.
I think the old CQ regime’s “High Hopes”/Mayor Pete Dance bit just came full circle.
Please give this emailer a dictionary
There were a handful of emails from people expressing interest in joining the IU program in some capacity, but not the way you’re “supposed” to. No formal resume or experience listed, no high school stats and video highlights attached.
One emailer asked IU’s coaching staff to “please take the time to read this as I spent time writing it” – if only that’s the way the world worked, big guy!
“Many people had doubts in your coaching ability and at times weren’t so sure in your ability,” the emailer wrote, surely winning the attention of Archie Miller and his staff with such high praise. Half a page later, he got to the point: he wanted a spot on IU’s bench as either a player or manager.
The best part: “God bless, and I would be appalled to receive a response from you.!”
appalled (/əˈpôld/), adjective: greatly dismayed or horrified.
Whatever you do, Archie, please don’t email him back! He’ll be appalled!
The autograph hounds
Think about the v̶e̶r̶y̶ ̶n̶o̶r̶m̶a̶l̶,̶ ̶r̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶a̶l̶ behavior you’d have to exhibit to, in the middle of a pandemic, email IU coach Archie Miller, whose first trip to the NCAA tournament at IU was within grasp but then canceled out of the blue due to said pandemic, and ask for his autograph.
On Monday, March 16 – which normally would’ve been filled with college basketball fans ferociously filling out as many brackets as possible and college coaches cramming as much film study on their first- and potential second-round opponents – Zach from Arizona emailed the IU men’s basketball program.
“I know your busy (sic) but if you get a chance could you please send me a signed photo of yourself or a signed business card to the address below,” he wrote, as he was definitely not trying to scam Archie Miller by acquiring a copy of his signature. Nope, no sir.
“I think you are doing a great job as the basketball coach for Indiana in my opinion,” he wrote, “I think Indiana is the best team in the best team (sic) in the Big 10.”
Ah yes, Archie Miller is definitely going to email you back with a rationale behind his rotation
On March 13, the day after the NCAA tournament was canceled, an emailer wrote to the IU basketball program email address asking about sophomore Damezi Anderson’s minutes.
“Just wondering about Damezi . was he injured or in the dog house? He didnt get to play much this season.. A fan of his...,” wrote the emailer.
Archie Miller then replied and went on to describe, in detail, to this random fan, the inner workings of IU’s internal scouting reports, game plans and future recruiting boards, detailing how and why Anderson had seen his playing time decrease. Probably.
We think we found out what IU basketball has been missing these last 20 years
Someone emailed the IU men’s basketball program on what would have been Selection Sunday with the subject line “I’m a basketball guru.” That’s when you knew this was going to be a good email.
“I’m a die heart IU fan (sic),” he wrote. “I retired playing basketball when I was 35 years old.”
If you haven’t, at a minimum, played at least one season of semi-professional basketball in Serbia, you’re not allowed un-ironically to say you “retired” from playing basketball.
It gets better.
“I probably was good enough to play in the NBA,” he lied. “Bobby Knight offer (sic) my team to practice as Assembly hall I guess he liked one of my teammates. I played point guard like you.”
Here’s the rest:
Just in case you missed it, “I used to be one of the best scoring point guards in the world I dribble like Isiah Thomas and shot like Steph Curry and played defense and could shut down other players on the other team.”
The best scoring point guard ever, huh? I didn’t know Oscar Robertson was a delusional IU fan.
He went on to cite his experience playing in the HPER, which, if we’re playing that game, I’ll share the time I played against an IU walk-on at the HPER and held him scoreless. He was maybe the third-best player on the court. But competing against an IU player in the HPER doesn’t give me or our emailer some advanced level of basketball knowledge or experience, and neither does having BTN.
Mr. Basketball Genuis, sir, everyone in damn New York City has BTN thanks to the addition of Rutger.
So if you’ve ever thought that you could play for IU, on scholarship or as a walk-on, or that you could’ve provide valuable basketball insights to Archie Miller and his staff as a team manager or assistant coach, or thought that your presence on this earth makes you deserving of an otherwise busy and pre-occupied, kind-of-famous person to sign a personal autograph for you ... well, unfortunately, you’re not alone.