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Inspirational Reads

I Creaned My Pants

April 3, 2008

Okay, so most of you didn't fall for my juvenile April Fool's Prank from the other day.

Hopefully, you'll appreciate my juvenile potty humor.

No? Well, tough.

Anyway, as I was laying down my little head upon the soft pillows of my bed late Monday night, I flipped over to ESPN because I wanted to catch the scores of the NIT semis. Fortunately, I was lying there when the NCAAM news came up. Much to my surprise, I saw the words "Indiana will name Marquette head coach Tom Crean to the same position."
I thought for a moment that I had misread. Or that I had fallen for some April Fool's Prank. Except that it was after midnight, and the collective brain trust at the World Wide Leader isn't half so clever as to concoct this clever ruse.
At the time, I was unsure how I felt about the hire. I felt it was good that a highly-respected coach had left a program he had returned to glory for Indiana, despite the daunting task in front of him. However, to be quite honest, I wasn't wowed by the hire. I felt it was probably a good move, but after that I didn't have much to say. So, I slept on it.

I woke up Wednesday, and I was fired up. I began to think about how Tom Crean had taken a Marquette team that had gone through a slump since the golden era of Al McGuire and built them into a perennially ranked team that was very seldom mentioned for being on the dreaded bubble in March. I thought about Dwyane Wade, Travis Diener and how he led his teams to two victories over Kentucky (sorry Ψ * Ψ) in the NCAA tournament. I thought about Dominic James and how Tom Crean recruited him out of Indiana. I thought about Jerel McNeal shooting light's out against Notre Dame in the Big East tournament. Everything I could think about Tom Crean was positive, aside from how, at times, he looks a little bit like Tom Arnold. But, fuckin' aye, if that's all you've got going against you, you're doing something right.

It seems, thanks to the guys at Inside the Hall (which is the best Indiana basketball blog going) who have provided several link dumps (and yes, I've read all of the included links) giving a national perspective on Indiana's hire, that everyone else around the country also thinks that this was a good hire by Indiana. I've heard nothing but positives, whether it's local ass clown David Glenn talking about it or I'm reading a story on Yahoo! sports (I try to avoid columns on the World Wide Leader's website). The only negatives I've heard are from Illinois fans, and they all are saying that Crean made a huge mistake by coming to Indiana. And by "all" I mean Deadspin's own Will Leitch and Foul Balls' Tom Fornelli. And, if you can get under Illinois fans' skin, then you're doing something right.

I think I was surprised more than anything on Tuesday night, which is why I wasn't jumping around making an ass of myself when I read the news. However, Wednesday morning, I was basically doing just that because I was so fired up. I think Crean is going to last a long time at Indiana, he's going to right the ship, he's going to rebuild a program with a proud tradition, and he's going to get in players who aren't going to have character issues like the current crop of players seem to excel at having. I only wish that Indiana had been smart enough two years ago to offer Crean the job; apparently, from what I read, they talked to Crean about the position but ultimately ended up going with Sampson. At least this time they seem to have gotten it right.
As excited as I am, I can only imagine that Marquette fans are feeling the exact opposite. This was a total surprise to me; I can imagine that this was a total blindside to them. At the outset, I figured Tom Crean was the darkest of the dark horse candidates, because he was paid top money by Marquette and had a long contract in place. Indiana's athletic department is notoriously parsimonious, and they've got quite a few football coaches they're still paying for doing their typical underwhelming jobs at Indiana. To go out and hire Crean away from Marquette, and pay him top dollar was totally unexpected. I'm glad to see that Indiana, the president and the trustees are willing to do what it will take to get their basketball program fixed and back on track.

Again, though, I feel bad for Marquette fans. They lost a helluva coach on Tuesday, and I can understand if they're angry, disappointed and sad. I had the same emotions going through me when it was revealed that Sampson had spit in the face of the Indiana tradition and program. I don't have this worry with Crean. Yes, right now, with the NCAA infractions meeting looming, DJ White's graduation, Eric Gordon's bolting for the NBA, and Bassett and Ellis kicked off the team, this could only be considered a lateral move--at best--for Crean. It's not like Marquette is a program that's not steeped in tradition and a solid, venerable basketball program. However, the difference is that I think Crean can take the grimy mess that is Indiana's program and polish it back up to where it is, truly, one of the five best programs in the country (UCLA, North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas, Duke...pick a top five out of those).

When the luster returns to the program in a couple of seasons (hell, Crean might be able to string together 20 wins with a group of walk-ons and bench players this next season), we as fans will get back to seeing more of this in Bloomington...except with a nice crimson tie and another red banner.


Chemgeek said...

yeah, but he looks like Tom Arnold.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

That and the fact that there was an angry old Irish guy named Tom Crean who was an Antarctic explorer and *sniff*sniff* I smell a Throwdown!