Friday, October 31, 2008

Wertheim SI article about IU basketball.

Jon Wertheim, the primary tennis writer for Sports Illustrated but also a Bloomington native who sometimes delves into basketball, wrote a lengthy article about IU basketball for this week's edition of SI. It's definitely worth a read. Also, Inside the Hall landed a quick interview with Wertheim that details the story behind the story. You should read the whole thing, but some of the highlights:
  • Wertheim provides more detail on the hiring process that we have seen before. (certainly more than local reporters have provided). Adam Herbert, the former IU president, who reportedly spearheaded the decision to hire Sampson, did not respond to Wertheim's inquiries. Mr. Herbert, Indiana taxpayers and IU students paid you a lot of money. Man up and publicly discuss your role in one of the most sordid episodes in IU's athletic history.
  • Wertheim is, to my knowledge, the first to actually discuss the issue with Sampson (by discuss, I mean something beyond reading a pre-prepared statement).
  • More detail on the in-season suspensions and the dismissal of Armon Bassett and Jamarcus Ellis from the team.
Some disagreements.
  • The usual (paraphrase) "Mike Davis was a good man who wasn't accepted by IU fans because he isn't a Midwesterner or a former Hoosier. " Bunk. Mike Davis wasn't accepted because he was a bad coach, a coach whose one great tournament run bore no resemblance to any other part of his career, an excuse-making crybaby, and a poor recruiter. Wertheim's own words contradict this claim. Kelvin Sampson, who is neither a Midwesterner nor a former IU player, was instantly accepted and was well-liked by most until he committed NCAA violations at IU. While ultimately vindicated, the likes of Ted Kitchel's comments were few and far between.
  • Again, whiole I'm glad Sampson is gone, I don't think there was anything wrong with hiring Jeff Meyer, an experienced Division I head coach with time as an assistant at Missouri and Purdue. Wertheim describes the hiring of Roshown McLeod by Crean as a "sign of the times." It's important to draw a distinction between hiring an unqualified assistant coach because of his connections and hiring a qualified assistant coach for his connections.
Again, despite my minor quibbles, this is an excellent article and well worth your time.


Anonymous said...

Actually, the H-T was the paper that made a public records request that led to Greenspan's e-mails being released. Those e-mails revealed that Greenspan had received many messages that said he should not be blamed for hiring Sampson because it had been forced on him; in his replies to those letters, Greenspan did not disagree with that premise.

John M said...

Well, the H-T persists in hiding its content behind a premium wall, so its reporters' works is pretty much unknown outside of Bloomington. My main criticism is of the Star.