When Mike Woodson was first hired as Indiana’s head men’s basketball coach back in 2021, the move was widely panned.
National columnists, randos on Twitter and multiple blog sites in this very network said it was a bad move by the program. Most pointed to his age and the fact that it was his first college coaching job.
Woodson turned 65 last March. He’s led the Hoosiers to the NCAA tournament in each of his first two seasons, produced a First Team All-American, sent a recruit off to the NBA and just landed one of the highest rated commitments in program history.
And yet, two years later, he’s still being asked about his age.
He couldn’t give less of a damn about it.
“Well, only you guys was worrying about the age,” Woodson said in a press conference Friday. “That was never a factor when I came in the door. I’ve been coaching a long time, and I’m healthy enough to coach. Mentally I’m sharp enough to coach.”
There’s a growing laundry list of old takes that Indiana’s fanbase brings up with their authors.
- Did Indiana pay $10 million to get worse?
- He’s no Juwan Howard.
- How will Mike Woodson be able to recruit???
Well, I’d say landing literally half of Indiana’s top ten highest rated recruits in program history in just two years proves he’s capable of recruiting. Well, that and landing multiple five-stars this year alone.
How would his time in the NBA translate? Well...
“You have to recruit some in the pros, gentlemen, when you’re going after free agency, and some of the same things I’m doing now, I had to do at the pro level,” Woodson said.
I mean, literally. You have to pitch free agent to join your organization in the NBA, something Woodson did through years as an NBA coach as an assistant or running the show himself.
But what about outside factors? Parents? Other programs? NIL???
“You’re dealing with parents in the pros,” Woodson added. “You’re dealing with their handlers in the pros and their agents. It’s the same shit that I’m going through now that I did in the NBA, but you guys wouldn’t know that because you weren’t there.”
From day one at Indiana, Mike Woodson has wanted to pitch his program to the nation’s best recruits. He was advised against this by his staff, who told him he’d have to wait his turn and work his way up. His response?
“Bullshit,” Woodson said to the Indianapolis Star. “Why not? All they can do is tell you no.”
He had more to add about recruiting during Friday’s press conference.
“We’ve had some pretty good success being able to recruit and talk to some of the top players,” Woodson said. “We haven’t gotten them all, and you’re not. You’re going to win some, you’re going to lose some. But hell, if you never get an opportunity to talk to the best players, it’s not going to work as far as I’m concerned.”
So, no. Age really isn’t a question for Indiana and Mike Woodson. If it is for you, he and the program really don’t care. They have bigger things to do.
Age does have one plus for Woodson: he’s set to become a grandfather in the coming weeks.
“As far as being a granddaddy, I’m happy as hell. That’s two weeks away, and I’m looking forward to that.”