It is a good thing Indiana does not have a game scheduled until November. At the moment, the Hoosiers wouldn’t be able to put a full team on the floor.
Indiana’s roster is down to four players, one of whom is a walk-on, following the upheaval that saw coach Kelvin Sampson forced to resign in February because of NCAA rules violations concerning phone calls to recruits and Tom Crean hired away from Marquette in April to replace him.
Ten players have departed the program since Indiana lost to Arkansas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to finish 25-8.
The most recent moves came when forward DeAndre Thomas was dismissed from the team while guards Armon Bassett and Jamarcus Ellis had their appeals of earlier dismissals denied, and Eli Holman decided to transfer to Detroit. That decision followed a meeting with Crean that turned so testy that campus police were called after Holman reportedly broke a pot containing a plant in the Hoosiers’ basketball office.
Bassett failed to comply with school and team guidelines. The university did not give any reason for the departures of Thomas and Ellis.
“Our staff is going to ensure that anyone who attends this university and wears the Indiana uniform will make this privilege among their highest priorities and not treat the opportunity as an entitlement,” Crean said in a statement released by the university. “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.”
Just three scholarship players remain, forwards Kyle Taber and Brandon McGee and guard Jordan Crawford. Taber will be a senior next year and the others are sophomores. Crawford is the only one who played a significant role last season, averaging 9.9 points and 24.7 minutes a game.
Indiana has four incoming recruits. Crean said he will not sign more players out of desperation just to fill out the roster.
“We cannot rush any decisions with scholarships,” Crean told the Indianapolis Star. “There can be no knee-jerk reactions. There can be no, 'Let's reach on a guy.' There can be none of any of that.
“We've got to build it right. We're going to have young guys. We just have to move forward with it and stay with the plan with what kind of players we want to have.
“Is it easy? No. But it's the way we have to do things right now.”
Wolverines' Udoh Transfers
Indiana isn’t the only Big Ten program that has had personnel loses. Michigan learned this week that junior Epke Udoh, who led the conference last season with an average of 2.9 blocked shots a game, plans to transfer.
Udoh hopes to make a decision by the end of the month after feeling he did not fit into Wolverines coach John Beilein’s system, one that relies on the big men often playing on the perimeter.
“I just really don’t think Michigan was the right situation for me,” Udoh told the Ann Arbor News. “It’s the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make but I don’t want to look back and say, ‘I wish I could have done this or that.’ I did what I wanted to do. I’ve got goals and I want to be in position to reach them.”
Udoh also averaged 6.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 26.0 minutes a game last season. He was 13th in the nation in percentage of blocks with 12.3.
Georgetown has also lost a pair of players since the end of the season as reserve guard Jeremiah Rivers, son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, announced this week that he is transferring. That came after forward Warner Macklin said last month that he also leaving, reportedly transferring to Florida.
Both players have two years of eligibility remaining.
Rivers was noted more for his defense in his two seasons with the Hoyas and averaged just 2.5 points in 18.6 minutes a game last season.
“Jeremiah and his family made a decision and determined that this was best for him,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said in a statement. “We appreciate his hard work and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
Jarvis Looking for Work
Mike Jarvis has been out of coaching since being fired by St. John’s in December, 2003. However, he hopes to leave his current job as a commentator for ESPN and yahoosports.com for another shot on the bench.
Jarvis is one of the finalists for the job at Florida Atlantic. While the other four finalists’ identities haven’t been revealed, it seems doubtful they could match the 63-year-old Jarvis’ 364-201 record in 19 seasons at Boston University, George Washington and St. John’s.
Jarvis was fired at St. John’s after director of basketball operations Alex Evans was found to have been paying a player. That has been held against Jarvis, though he did get an interview for the Stanford coaching job that went to Duke assistant Johnny Dawkins last month.
A subsequent NCAA investigation found Jarvis not guilty of any wrongdoing, though it criticized him for failing to properly monitor the situation.
“There was an allegation made that was proven to be unfounded. If someone wants to use that to prevent them from getting an opportunity, they can do that,” Jarvis told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "I will coach again. I have one goal left, and that is to be one of two coaches that have won 100 games at four different schools. I have three, and now I want four.”
NCAA Announces Sanctions
The NCAA announced this week that 53 Division I program have been sanctioned after being found lacking in the latest round of academic progress rates.
The programs that found out just how serious the NCAA is about academic reform were East Carolina, Fresno State, Louisiana-Lafayette and New Mexico State. If they do not improve their scores in the next year, they will be banned from post-season play for at least the 2009-10 season.
Five programs that participated in last season’s NCAA Tournament were hit with scholarship reductions. Southern California lost two scholarships and Kansas State, Purdue, South Alabama and Tennessee were stripped of one each.
Other programs losing scholarships include: Alabama-Birmingham, Centenary, Central Connecticut State, College of Charleston, Colorado State, Florida International, Hampton, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois-Chicago, Jacksonville State, Lamar, Liberty, Louisiana Tech, Manhattan, Mercer, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina-Greensboro, North Texas, Quinnipiac, Sacramento State, St. Peter’s, San Francisco, San Jose State, Seton Hall, South Carolina, Southern Utah, Texas-El Paso and Wyoming.
John Perrotto is an author of Basketball Prospectus.
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