Thursday night marked the first time that Indiana head coachTom Crean has spoken publicly since players Emmitt Holt and Thomas Bryant were cited for illegal possession of alcohol, and it’s safe to say that he’s none too thrilled with the leadership in his team’s locker room. Indiana’s had multiple issues come up in the last 18 months, with the program having to deal with negative publicity as a result.
While taking responsibility for his team’s actions, Crean also made it known at Indiana’s “On The Road” series meeting in Indianapolis that he’s working hard to change things while also looking for leaders to emerge within his team according to the Indianapolis Star. Crean’s addressing of the off-court issues comes in a week that has seen school president Michael McRobbie and former Hoosier Cody Zeller both offer their thoughts on the situation as well.
One thing that Crean, McRobbie and Zeller have all touched on is the responsibility that comes with being a part of the Indiana program.
“You know what I wish I had done when Hanner (Mosquera-Perea) first got in trouble?” Crean said. “And I love Hanner to death. I love Hanner Perea. I’d go back and remove him from the team.
“The responsibility of their behavior falls on me.”
Much of his speech echoed comments made to the media just minutes before, when he said his players must learn “they are playing for Indiana, and not at Indiana. Even some of our Indiana kids have got to understand that.”
Crean challenged the lack of leadership, accountability and responsibility he sees in his locker room, especially among his team’s most experienced players.
Given the talent both returning to Bloomington and joining the ranks (most notably Bryant, one of the top players in the Class of 2014), this should be a productive season on the court for Indiana. But for this group to reach its full potential, leaders both on and off the court need to emerge.
Among the returnees are senior point guard Yogi Ferrell and junior forward Troy Williams, two experienced players who one would assume to be leaders for this group. Whether it’s them or someone else on the roster, Crean needs those players to step up and hold the group accountable. Hearing a message from the coach is one thing, but for some hearing it from your peers can have a greater impact.