Tom Crean, fresh from a decade’s run at Marquette, took the Indiana job recently knowing full well that life would be tough for awhile. He could lose up to three scholarships and all of last year’s starters before he coaches his first game wearing blood red. In that game, he may only have six players return from last season’s Sampson-spoiled squad.
(Bloomington. I can’t believe I’m still in Bloomington.)
Make that five. Little-used freshman center Eli Holman came to Crean’s office for the individual meet’n'greet common to all new jobs and left after threatening a transfer, raising his voice, knocking over a plant, and requiring campus police to make sure he left the building in an orderly fashion. Frankly, one of the former occupants of that office would call that “Tuesday”.
Clearly, we wish Mr. Holman the best. College is a stressful time and can widen existing cracks to the shattering point. Good luck to him on rebuilding his foundations in Bloomington or elsewhere.
For Tom Crean, though, he has to feel he’s up the river and unable to turn back. His men are dropping around him left and right. No one is acting as expected. The terrain and the enemy become more dangerous as he approaches the conference schedule. He’s fully exposed and has nowhere to hide.
And when he finally reaches his destination of coaching real games for the University of Indiana and the surreal nature of the job finally overwhelms him, what will be the last grainy image he sees before blacking out during a Northwestern game in February?
Whatever you do, Tom, be damned sure to sit on your helmet.