Most of you have probably read the story that was on EsPN.com yesterday that involves the Forehead, and Indiana Elite Coach, Mark Adams...but some of you might not have had the chance to read the details...here are some key aspects of the story:
Indiana Elite: One of the best AAU teams in the state of Indiana, if not the nation for producing D-1 talent.
Mark Adams: IU Alum and current AAU team, Indiana Elite, Coach & Founder of A-HOPE (organization that brings kids from Africa and tries to get them opportunities to play D-1 basketball). Being an IU alum, Adams has (understandably) surrounded himself with fellow Hoosier alums inside of the IE
teams and orgainization.
Drew Adams: Son of Mark and former assistant coach of AAU team, Indiana Elite. In spite of thin resume, he was hired by Tom Crean as Director of Basketball operations and Video production (April, 2010). Prior to EsPN’s article accusing Crean & the Adams family of unethical, if not, illegal behavior, he left IU for the same position at New Mexico (hired by Steve Alford).
Mike Barnett: Board of Directors Member/Coach for Indiana Elite and Lead Position for Adidas’ Grassroots. Grassroots sponsors events and teams and has both men‘s and women’s teams and events that it is involved with. Notably, Indiana Elite is an Adidas team (along with 5+ other teams nationwide). Grassroots also helps organize/sponsor a Spring AAU Super Regional Tournament in Bloomington on campus at IU.
Kory Barnett: Walk-on Senior Forward for Indiana University. Son of Mike Barnett.
Timeline of recent Indiana Elite Players committing to Crean:
Indiana Elite produced Bade, Byrd, Jackson and TJohn. Not all of the talent from IE goes to IU.
Here's my take on all of this:
I know Tom Crean can recruit...and really doesn't need to get deep into the muck, mire and dark underside of college basketball recruiting. But, whether he intended to or not, he's placed himself in a questionable position...and there's more than smoke here. He hired a guy to his staff that was under qualified...and the defense for this hire by many is that it's all about relationships and creating a pipeline for talent.
I don't see any violation of NCAA rules here by IU. But, to me, this is another example of how many IU fans will legitimize unethical activity in the name of winning (make that attempting to win). Many did so in the wake of Sampson's issues saying "they were just phone calls" (their story changed after the NCAA was through with their findings)...and now the talking point seems to be "recruiting is about friendships and relationships...that's all this is". As one of my pals put it it's about "Dirty, slimy, sleazy, disease-ridden relationships", but yeah, relationships none-the-less.
I never saw anything unusual with IU getting Zeller & Ferrell...those always made sense to me. But, some of the others didn't...and Perea, the crown jewel of the class of '12, and coincidentally, the guy in the center of this controversy, was the one that made the least sense to me. It made more sense after reading the article.
Let's keep in mind that Crean has had some solid talent that he's brought to his teams since he's been a head coach. But, top-20 talent is another level and is really difficult to hammer down. DWade was great out of high school, but scared some other schools off because of his academic concerns...so his stock wasn't among the elite. But now, on the legs of back-to-back-to-back awful seasons, Crean has found a way to win the hearts and minds of some of the state's most-talented players (following two years of being persona non grata in the Hoosier state). Plus, and more-notably, in this process, he's snagged two truly-elite players and a couple others that were wanted by everybody.
Whether Tom Crean is shrewd or slimy, you can decide for yourself...we already have our own opinion of the guy.