Thursday, November 29, 2007

Dire Straits in Bloomington?

What is it with IU basketball these days?

As an IU alum and dedicated fan, watching the Hoosiers over the last ten years or so has been terribly frustrating. Through the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s, the Hoosiers were a national powerhouse year in and year out. Since that time, they’ve basically been reduced to a 20-10, easy second round out kind of squad.

Even during the well documented end of the Bobby Knight era at IU, you knew that the players on the court were going to play hard, because if they didn’t, they’d find themselves firmly attached to the bench. But when Mike Davis took over, that feeling changed a bit.

Talk to anyone and they’ll tell you how great a guy Mike Davis is. And while I don’t doubt that for one second, he was never ready to take over the reigns to the IU program. Despite a scrappy team that caught fire in the 2002 tournament and rode the momentum to the championship game, Coach Davis’s IU squads were for the most part, uninspired, careless and lazy. And to IU fans, those characteristics are beyond inexcusable.

With Mike Davis gone, and Kelvin Sampson taking over a new era of IU basketball has begun. But what will this era be remembered for?
Six games into his second season as head coach, Kelvin Sampson is undefeated at home, landed arguably the biggest recruit in IU history in Eric Gordon, and has a team this year that should compete for the Big Ten championship – some even say the Final Four.

Kelvin Sampson has also brought NCAA sanctions with him from his Oklahoma days, took part in additional recruiting violations since arriving in Bloomington, lost junior A.J. Ratliff for half the year due to sub-par academics, suspended his second best freshman, Jordan Crawford three games for violating team rules and lost prized recruit Bud Mackey to DRUG TRAFFICKING charges. What’s going on here? Are we becoming the next UNLV?

Is winning at all costs worth it? And where do Hoosier fans draw the line? Too many phone calls are ok, but we’d never actually pay recruits. Maybe we’ll ignore graduation rates for awhile, but drug trafficking is taking things too far.

Only time will tell what type of mark Coach Sampson will leave in Bloomington. I truly believe Hoosier Nation has given him a very short leash to work with and isn’t happy with a program that does things the wrong way. That said, I’m even more confident of our growing restlessness for that coveted sixth national championship banner.

Posted by: P

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