Saturday, March 22, 2008

Guest Columnist

Some thoughts from Josh (as posted in the comments of the previous post):

The success of IU, Purdue, Butler is greatly impacted by the number of core kids from the state. When I say core, I mean key contributors. In 1994, under pressure to win, coach Knight moved away from his recruiting philosophy of having a core of Indiana kids and went after and landed three McDonald's All-Americans, with little or no Indiana ties, Neil Reed, Charlie Miller, and Andre Patterson. I was a freshmen with those guys and spent four years with them as an IU manager. The move didn't work.

IU has never really returned to Coach Knight's successful recruiting philosophy, (I'd like to see the 2002 roster, but wasn't the core Indiana/Midwest?) and has continued to look elsewhere for talent, going after the big names and not landing them and settling for decent talent from other states. Davis did it, Sampson was doing it. During these coaching changes, we've also seen three different styles or systems of basketball.

In the meantime, Purdue went through an orchestrated coaching change that passed the system and recruiting philosophy from Keady to Painter. There were some rough years for Purdue, but now they seem to have the ship righted and have a core of Indiana kids.

While IU was ignoring Indiana talent, Butler was reaping the benefits. The establishment of a system and the available Indiana players that fit the system well has seen them through some great years of basketball and three head coaches.

I tried to do some archiving and look at the rosters from all 3 of these schools for the last 20 years but I couldn't' dig anything up on the internet beyond the last few. I would love to look at that information and see what story it tells. I believe there is a formula for success there, and that Indiana has moved away from it.

Indiana doesn't need a big name magician of a basketball coach. I'm not sure if one would want to come here anyway. It just needs someone who has a developed system of success (Butler, Wisconsin, even the Colts operate by this philosophy) and knows how to assemble a core of Indiana/Midwest kids that fit the system. Even when IU was winning this year, it wasn't as enjoyable to watch as Butler and Purdue were (and currently are, since they are both still playing.)

Let me know if you are able to dig up any of this information and what story it tells.

DZ comments: It's surprising how long that info takes to find online. A trip to the library would probably yield faster results. I've found that a lot of info before 1999 gets sketchy in most sports. On the surface, your theory sounds probable. I think most of IUs problems have been caused by the pro-Knight faction that insisted on burying Mike Davis. For some reason, he was frozen out by the HS coaches in Indiana that had been loyal to Knight. The knock on him wasn't that he didn't try to recruit in state, but that he couldn't LAND any of the recruits in state. As for the '02 roster, the key players were Jeffries (Bloomington), Coverdale (Noblesville), Fife (Michigan). I believe they were the only real midwestern guys on the roster. A couple were from Georgia, and Newton was from NC. The bottom line is if three guys (Sean May, Greg Oden, Mike Conley) had gone to Indiana, we wouldn't be having this conversation. It's going to take a guy who can land the top Hoosier stars without cheating.

If you come up with any more research let us know; I count your opinion highly on Hoosier bball.

The real question is should we be rooting for the Boilers today? I'm having a hard time with it. It would help the Big 10, but... I'll just content myself to root for the Bulldogs tomorrow.

I'll let you all guess what Demond's answer to this question is. I doubt it would be printable.


Anonymous said...

Not that there's any chance of it happening, but with Bob Knight's "retirement" and Kelvin Sampson being forced out for being an idiot, what would you say if IU went down on their hands and knees and begged Knight back?

Joshua said...

IU is in this mess in part because Knight refused to put a plan in place to groom a successor and pass on the system of success to someone else, like he ended up doing at Texas Tech. Maybe it was his plan all along to pass it on to his son Pat. But based on my experience, that's not such a good plan.

Joshua said...

Thanks for chewing on my thoughts guys and thanks for the site. I have spring break in a week, so maybe I'll head down to the library and see what I can dig up. Keep up the great work!

Joshua said...

Sorry, I'm geeking out here...DZ you commented about Sean May, Greg Oden and Mike Coneley. Those guys were all one and done. As I've been thinking about the system I'd love to see put into place at IU, I've been debating the value of the one and done. I'd be interested in looking at that statistical story also. For example, is it worth conference mediocrity and no NCAA appearance for Ohio St. to get one run to the NCAA title game? Compare that to competing for a conference title every year and being a lock to at least make the sweet 16, maybe more, maybe less. I don't know.

Adam said...

In today's NCAA, you have to have future NBA players to compete for a title, and that means one and dones. Look at every title game since 2000:

Florida vs. Ohio State - Joakim Noah, Al Horford, and Corey Brewer; Greg Oden and Mike Conley

Florida vs. UCLA - Jordan Farmar

UNC vs. Illinois - Sean May and Deron Williams

UConn vs. Georgia Tech - Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon

Syracuse vs. Kansas - Carmelo Anthony

Maryland vs. Indiana - Jared Jeffries

Duke vs. Arizona - Mike Dunleavy, Shane Battier, Jason Gardner

Michigan State vs. Florida - No one of note.

Whoever the next coach at IU is has possibly the easiest recruiting job in the world. He could never leave the state of Indiana and compete for a title every year. That's what IU needs to get back to. Finding players that are playing for Indiana. Not a coach.

Deshawn Zombie said...

May was a 3 year player. He only didn't go to IU because Knight wanted to kill the program. He won a national title. It was worth it.

Josh Brown said...

Very few of those guys listed were one and dones. Only Oden, Conley, and Melo were one year only players. The rest of those guys left early, but only those three were freshman. Look at the programs in the last few years that have been top 5 teams. Teams like Florida and UNC won games and titles because guys stayed and didn't leave after one year.

About Knight grooming a successor, very few coaches do that. Also Knight was fired what, 8 years ago? Even the programs that do put a successor in place don't plan it eight years in advance. Knight recently said in an ESPN Q&A if he had to change one thing about his coaching, it would be his recruiting later in his coaching, so maybe he realized what he got away from.

The big problem with IU is that guys like Oden, Conley, Zeller, Hummel, Chris Thomas and Jason Gardner (back in the day), Graves, and a few other good high school players are either leaving the state or going to other Indiana schools. I can't blame Oden and Conley for going to OSU with no one knowing from game to game if Davis was going to be the coach, but there is good talent in Indiana and the Midwest that is not even being recruited.

Sampson wasn't going to change this either. If you look at how his teams were built in his past programs, and even with the guys he brought into IU, they were and have been JUCO players. Sampson always has counted heavily on JUCO transfers so he wasn't big on the local talent unless your name was Eric Gordon. I do agree that IU needs to not let the local talent get away so much.

Lastly, no true IU fan can root for Purdue, so please don't even suggest that. In all honestly, they will scare the crap out of me for the next three years though.

Deshawn Zombie said...

Our family is divided. Demond and our youngest sister went to IU. Our other sister and brother-in-law Dontrell went to Purdue. Demond hates the Boilers with the fire of a 1000 suns. I merely hate them with the fire of like, say one sun, so on occasion I can root for them.