College Basketball - Hoosiers Stuck in the Mud
When Indiana hired then Oklahoma Head Coach Kelvin Sampson, words like “violations” and “cell phones” lingered. It was somewhat surprising that Indiana would hire a guy with lingering issues but he seemed like a guy who could win games.
Sampson scored one of the biggest steals in the last recruiting season when local star switched his verbal to the Hoosiers once Sampson was hired. That fact, coupled with D.J. White’s emergence as one of the best players in the Big Ten season has lead to a 23-4 record. Now, D.J. White and other IU players are disgruntled by the naming of Dan Dakich as interim head coach and Indiana’s tournament involvement is murky.
While their loyalty to their old coach is noble, it’s misplaced. Ralph Sampson is a chronic cheater, so much so that he cheats when he probably does not even need to. He’s an addict and it’s a bad habit.
IU has paid $750,000 to Sampson to resign but they look dumb for doing it, as they probably could have simply fired him.
What Indiana needs to do is hire someone who understands what Hoosier basketball is all about. I grew up along the Indiana/Ohio border and if you ever balled against a kid with a sweet jump shot, he’s probably an Indiana boy. Bottom line: Indiana should always be good and should never have to bend the rules, let alone cheat.
Two years ago Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr. were the big name guys out of Indianapolis, while last year it was Gordon. They’ve got other young hoopsters on the rise and very much not committed to Indiana. After a season that has provided a quality on-the-court product for the Hoosiers, it’s a shame for the program that the momentum has crashed hard.
They will need to close out strong and find someone who understands the program. The top candidate would have to be current Ohio State Head Coach Thad Matta, who hails from Indiana. That scenario is unlikely, especially considering they could have lingering sanctions—a situation Matta had to deal with in Columbus as well.
A great way to avoid further sanctions is imposing harsh penalties on this year’s oh-so-fun team. This would include missing out on the NCAA Tournament, which is a shame for Indiana and all of college basketball. D.J. White, Eric Gordon and the gang have the potential to run the table. Next year they won’t have as good of a team, but again, to bring in a quality coach they want a clean slate would be best.