Indiana Basketball: Roster Dwindles, Tom Crean Looks To Rebuild

Matt GardSenior Analyst IMay 7, 2008

When the Indiana fans attended the Hoosiers’s March 5 Senior Night game against Minnesota at Assembly Hall, they saw the jerseys of three seniors on the north end of the court following the game.

At that point, most people knew that the departure of Eric Gordon was inevitable as well, but not many Hoosier supporters could’ve imagined the hits their team would take during the off-season.

Following Gordon’s departure, starters Armon Bassett and Jamarcus Ellis were suspended from the team by then interim coach Dan Dakich. Following an appeal by Bassett and Ellis, the two were dismissed from the team.

On May 1, Eli Holman showed up to an athletic office and excused himself from the team, while at the same time causing a disturbance that required the assistance of the IU Police Department. Since then, Holman has transferred to the University of Detroit Mercy where he will play for his former high school coach.

IU’s new head coach, Tom Crean, dismissed DeAndre Thomas from the team a day after Holman’s tantrum. Crean didn’t say why Thomas was let go, but it can be assumed by one of Crean’s recent statement it was either an issue of character or academics.

“Our staff is going to ensure that anyone who attends this university and wears the Indiana uniform will make this privilege among the highest priorities and not treat the opportunity as an entitlement,” he said not long after Thomas’s dismissal. “We fully expect our student-athletes to accept the responsibilities academically, athletically, and socially that come with representing one of the top programs in college basketball history.”

Only four players of IU’s 2007-2008 roster remain. Jordan Crawford had been rumored a transfer, but remains in Bloomington—as do Brett Finkelmeier, Brandon McGee, and Kyle Taber.

Signed letters of intent bind two other incoming freshman, recruited by Kelvin Sampson, to play for the Hoosiers. Guard Matt Roth and center Tom Pritchard will be playing for Crean next season.

Devin Ebanks and Terrell Holloway, former Sampson commits, had special provisions in their letters of intent that would let them explore other options. Holloway has recommitted to play at Xavier next season while Ebanks is still considering, though he is expected by scout.com to play at Rutgers next year.

Crean has nailed three big recruits in his short time in Bloomington. Verdell Jones of Champaign, Ill. is the Hoosiers most recent commitment. The No. 26 point guard in the nation signed his letter of intent on May 5, putting him alongside Alabama’s Nick Williams and Vincennes University transfer Devan Dumes as Crean’s first three commitments.

According to the News-Gazette, a Champaign, Ill. publication, Jones said that he plans to turn the worried attitudes of Indiana fans around.