Should Coach Tom Crean Recruit More Players in Indiana?
There is a famous saying in the state of Indiana.
"In 49 states it's just basketball...This is Indiana."
This, of course, is the premise to how Indiana has become one of the premier states where the nation's top prospects grow up and develop.
Many of the top players in basketball (NCAA and NBA) history have come from the Hoosier State including Larry Bird, Scott Skiles, Oscar Robertson, John Wooden, and Shawn Kemp.
And from the 2003-2010 Indiana high school senior classes, there have been a total of 22 players ranked in the Rivals.com top 100 in their respective years, including one No. 1 overall (Greg Oden), two No. 2 overalls (Josh McRoberts and Eric Gordon), and eight others in the top 50.
In that same span of time, the Indiana Hoosiers have brought in just four of those 22 players.
Which brings us to the focus of this article.
This question has been circling around in Hoosier message boards and forums, and is an important subject to many:
Is it bad that Tom Crean, or any of the coaches we have had in the last eight years, has not landed many top prospects from the Hoosier state?
There are many different reasons for the lack of success, and none is more right than others.
One reason is the coaching carousel of the last 10 years, with five different people fulfilling the role of Head Coach during that time. It's difficult to recruit players when you aren't around the program for a long period of time, and it's very hard to catch up once you are behind in recruiting.
In Coach Crean's case, he and his staff had to recruit a completely new team. Due to becoming the head coach in April 2008—late in the cycle—and recruiting violations, it was tough to get in touch with high school players.
Even now, Crean and his staff are still playing catch-up, meeting with kids in the 2010 and 2011 classes after other coaches have already spoken with them.
Another reason is that today's youth doesn't have the same appreciation for the Hoosier tradition as past generations.
For many of the top prospects today, even those from Indiana, the dream is to get to the NBA or to play professionally, and college is just a four year-or-less ride along the way.
Because of this, players will go to a school to play for a certain coach or a certain playing style, and not truly because they have always loved said school, or because they really like the education they will get.
Even though IU has so much tradition and history in the state, recruits want to play at a school that will give them the best chance of going to the NBA.
One final reason is that there are so many good players from all over the country, that it is not even a must to recruit Indiana players.
Right now, nine of the 15 players on the Hoosier roster are from outside of the state, and those include young prospects such as Christian Watford, Maurice Creek, and Verdell Jones.
Also, plenty of the Hoosier greats are from outside Indiana, including D.J. White, Kirk Haston, A.J. Guyton, Quinn Buckner, and Isiah Thomas.
A lot of the old-timers harken back to the times when Indiana was the team to beat.
That day will come. But for now, we must give coach Crean time to work his magic and put a quality team on the court.
What are your thoughts on the subject?
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