The Indiana basketball program has been in the news for all the wrong reasons as we head toward the start of the college basketball season. On early Saturday morning, sophomore Devin Davis was hospitalized in serious condition after being struck by a vehicle driven by freshman Emmitt Holt. Holt, 18, was cited because he had been drinking alcohol, and the team ended up canceling the Saturday team showcase event because of the accident.
In addition, Tom Crean announced the suspensions of two other players, Troy Williams and Stanford Robinson, for the two exhibition games and first two games of the season, and reports indicate it was for failed drug tests.
Gregg Doyel, who just moved to the Indianapolis Star, is immediately finding his cause by calling for Crean’s job in light of the player behavior of a significant portion of the roster.
You can say Tom Crean is under-performing, failing as Indiana’s coach, and I’d agree.
But I’m not talking about basketball.
A cynic might question the four game suspensions for a few reasons. If part of the issue is that players aren’t being held accountable for past incidents, then the timing is curious. First, the exhibition games are included, and Indiana’s first two regular season games are against Mississippi Valley State and Texas Southern (coached by former Hoosiers coach Mike Davis). The third game, when all the suspended players would be eligible to return? Larry Brown’s SMU team on November 20th.
Second, the failed drug tests apparently occurred much earlier in the summer, but suspensions are being announced now.
“We also had a couple of other bad choices made this summer. We’re not a program that waits for this or that,” Crean said on his radio show. “They made those bad choices. The rules say they sit a certain amount, well I say they sit more. Stanford Robinson and Troy Williams, they’re also going to sit for four games.”
Those rules would require 3 games (or 10% of the season), but how noble is it to dump this now (to likely avoid it coming out when the suspensions weren’t already announced)? It includes two exhibition games in the “well, I say they sit more,” rather than three regular season games including a key one against SMU.
Indiana went 17-15 last year, and has missed the tournament in four of Crean’s six seasons in Bloomington. Doyel’s outcry for his job likely won’t result in action yet, but the heat is on, and if the Hoosiers don’t turn it around on the court and off, he will be gone at season’s end.