They said it: Indiana coach Tom Crean and Victor Oladipo on NBA decision

Indiana basketball coach Tom Crean on Victor Oladipo’s development into a NBA lottery pick:
TOM CREAN: “Victor may not have been the point guard per se, but when he was on the court, he impacted the game for everyone and made every one of his teammates better. It was a lot more than just what happened on the basketball floor during the games. That’s why I truly support what he’s doing and there’s no question that he has the physical abilities, the mental capacity, maturity and focus, the emotional well-being and the spiritual background to be able to go and put himself in a position now where he takes this next step, which is a huge step, but where he takes this next step and is truly ready to embark on what I think will be an incredible career at the next level, the NBA level.”

Victor, talk about making the decision and how tough was it to make?
Oladipo:”I swayed back and forth, especially throughout the season. I felt like this is what was best for my family. Coming here, like I said, and graduating in three years and getting such a great education that I have here at Indiana University, I feel like I’ve prepared it. Coming in and working out with Coach Crean and his coaching staff, I feel like I’ve prepared for it so I feel like it’s the best thing.”

When did you realize that entering the NBA Draft was a real possibility?
Oladipo: “Probably after the season was over. I was hearing stuff (during the season) and realizing I had a good chance of getting to the NBA, but I was so focused on Indiana and wearing the Candy Stripes that I wasn’t worried about anything else. At the end of the year, then it seemed like the best decision was to go (to the NBA). As I said before, I will always be a Hoosiers. I love the people here. They are my family, they really are. They are role models for me and I will always come back and I hope you guys welcome me with open arms.”

What were the deciding factor for you to make the jump?:
Oladipo: ” A little bit of everything. Hearing where I am at (in the projections) and meeting with coach Crean, my family and people I really care about about, and then seeing where I am at as a human being and as a basketball player. Even then, I have a lot of room to grow in both of those areas. I am looking forward to it. I am opening another chapter in my life. God has opened it for me and I thank him from the bottom of my heart, because without him I definitely wouldn’t be here. Without him I definitely wouldn’t be at Indiana to begin with and be blessed to be around so many great people. God works in mysterious ways and he is working for me in my life and I am really thankful for that.”

UPDATED: Oladipo to take his game to NBA

Indiana junior guard Victor Oladipo said that while playing in the NBA has been a dream, he didn’t make his decision to take that step now until after after the Hoosiers had ended their season.
“I swayed back and forth, especially during the season,” said Oladipo. “I just felt like this was best for my family.
“Coming here and graduating in three years, I feel like I’m prepared for it. Coming in and working out with Coach (Tom) Crean and his coaching staff, I think I’ve prepared for it.”
Oladipo, who will graduate and turn 21 on May 4, will spend the next couple of weeks finishing his degree requirements in sport communication-broadcast and working out with his IU teammates. He hasn’t signed an agent, but that’s because he’s just started that process.
The latest projected NBA draft by DraftExpress has Oladipo going to the Detroit Pistons with the fifth pick.
Oladipo said it doesn’t matter to him which team drafts him.
“I’m just going to go in there and help impact winning, which is what I’ve been doing since I first started playing basketball. Wherever I end up I’m going to bring my work ethic and just help winning, help them be successful.”
DraftExpress also has 7-foot sophomore Cody Zeller going to the New Orleans Hornets with the No. 6 pick if he also chooses to turn pro early. The former Washington High standout is expected to announced his decision later this week, possibly on Wednesday.
Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel is projected as the No. 1 pick overall, going to the Charlotte Bobcats.

Other projected picks of interest: No. 7 Trey Burke, Michigan, to Sacramento; 17. Gorgui Dieng, Louisville, to Utah; 18., Archie Goodwin, Kentucky, to Atlanta; (2nd round) — 33. Russ Smith, Louisville, to Cleveland; 36. Adreian Payne, Michigan State, to Philadelphia; 38. Doug McDermott, Creighton, to Memphis; 41. Jackie Carmichael, Illinois State, to Philadelphia; 51. Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan, to Orlando; 56. Trevor Mbwake, Minnesota, to Los Angeles Lakers.

Sorry Baylor fans, I didn’t see Brittany Griner’s name pop up on any mock drafts.

Louisville’s Pitino elected to Naismith basketball hall of fame

Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino is one of another dozen Class of 2013 members who will be inducted into the The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in early September.

Pitino, who has taken Louisville to back-to-back Final Fours, will have a shot at winning his second national championship tonight when the Cardinals face Michigan in Atlanta. Pitino led Kentucky to the 1996 championship and has taken three different schools to the Final Four.

Joining Pitino are nine-time NBA All-Star Gary Payton, four-time NCAA Final Four coach Jerry Tarkanian, five-time WNBA All-Star Dawn Staley, five-time NCAA Final Four coach Guy Lewis, four-time NBA All-Star Bernard King and three-time National Coach of the Year Sylvia Hatchell.

They join the five directly elected members who were announced during the NBA All-Star Weekend in February by committees focused on preserving all areas from the game of basketball. These direct-elects include Roger Brown voted in from the American Basketball Association (ABA) Committee, Dr. E.B. Henderson from the Early African American Pioneers Committee, Oscar Schmidt from the International Committee, Richard Guerin from the Veterans Committee and Russ Granik from the Contributor Direct Election Committee.

To be elected, finalists required 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The addition of the direct elect committees were incorporated into the election process to maintain a strong focus on keeping history on the forefront of the voting procedures and to preserve a balance between two eras of basketball.

“The Class of 2013 is one of the most distinguished groups that the Hall of Fame has ever inducted at one time,” said Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Board. “These individuals span decades of the game and have impacted the sport on every level.”

The Class of 2013 will be enshrined during festivities in Springfield, Mass. on Sunday, September 8. Ticket packages to the 2013 Enshrinement Ceremony and all Enshrinement Events are on sale now and available by calling the Hall of Fame at (413) 231-5540.


SYLVIA HATCHELL [Coach] – Hatchell recently became just the third Division I women’s coach to win 900 career games and the only coach in history to win national championships at three different levels (AIAW, NAIA and NCAA). Since taking over at the University of North Carolina in 1986, she has led the Tar Heels to three NCAA Final Fours, eight ACC championships and the 1994 National Championship. She is a three-time National Coach of the Year (1994, 2006 and 2008) and three-time ACC Coach of the Year. She has led her teams to seven 30-win seasons and twenty-eight 20-win seasons. In International competition, she was an assistant coach for the 1988 Olympic Gold Medal team and a part of four World University Games.

DAWN STALEY [Player] – As one of the most decorated players in women’s basketball history, Staley was a three-time Olympic Gold Medalist (1996, 2000 and 2004), five-time WNBA All-Star and two-time National College Player of the Year (1991-92). She was named the USA Basketball Female Player of the Year in 1994 and went on to begin her professional career as a two-time ABL All-Star (1997 and 1998). As a collegiate player, Staley was a three-time Kodak All-America selection (1990-92) at the University of Virginia and she still holds the NCAA career record for steals (454). She led the Cavaliers to three NCAA Final Four appearances and was named NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player in 1991. She is the only player in women’s college basketball history to record 2,000 points, 700 assists and 400 steals. She is now the head coach at the University of South Carolina.

From the North American Committee:

BERNARD KING [Player] – King is a four-time NBA All-Star, two-time NBA First-Team selection, NBA All-Rookie Team selection and was the NBA Comeback Player of the Year in 1981. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, he was a First Team All-America at the University of Tennessee before an NBA career that included stints with the New Jersey Nets, Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks and Washington Bullets. He averaged over 22 points per game during his 15-year career including a 34.8 points per game average in the 1984 NBA Playoffs.

GUY V. LEWIS [Coach] – Lewis led his University of Houston program to five NCAA Final Four appearances (1967, 1968, 1982, 1983 and 1984) and nearly 600 wins during his 30 years as head coach. He won National Coach of the Year honors in 1968 and 1983. A graduate of the school in 1947 he began as an assistant coach in 1953 until he took over four years later. His tenure included 14 NCAA tournament appearances, 10 Sweet Sixteen appearances and registered three 30-win seasons. During his career, he coached 29 future NBA players including Elvin Hayes, Clyde Drexler, and Hakeem Olajuwon, all current Hall of Famers.
GARY PAYTON [Player] – Known as “The Glove” for his defensive prowess, Payton was a nine-time NBA All-Star and nine-time NBA All-Defensive First Team selection. He was an All-NBA First Team selection in both 1998 and 2000 and was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 1996. The two-time Olympic Gold Medalist (1996 and 2000) ended his NBA career ranking fourth all-time in steals (2,445) and eighth in assists (8,966). He won an NBA championship with the Miami Heat in 2006. Prior to the NBA, Payton was the Sports Illustrated National Player of the Year in 1990 while at Oregon State and holds the school’s all-time marks for points, assists and steals.

RICK PITINO [Coach] – Pitino is the only coach in men’s history to lead three different schools to NCAA Final Four appearances as he did with Providence College, University of Kentucky and University of Louisville. He led Kentucky to the 1996 National Championship and then reached the title game again with the Wildcats the following year. He has won over 600 games in his collegiate career, reached the Final Four seven different times (1987, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2005, 2011 and 2013), led his teams to 21 postseason appearances and won nine conference tournament championships. He earned Coach of the Year honors from different sources three different years. Pitino also held two stints as an NBA head coach with the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics, leading the Knicks to two playoff appearances.

JERRY TARKANIAN [Coach] – Known as one of the most passionate coaches in the game of basketball, Tarkanian recorded 990 wins during his career with an 81% winning percentage that included leading the University of Nevada-Las Vegas to four NCAA Final Four appearances (1977, 1987, 1990 and 1991) and the 1990 NCAA Championship. During his career, he led three different schools to NCAA Tournament appearances (UNLV, Fresno State and Long Beach State), including 21 post season appearances, 14 NCAA tournaments, 13 Sweet Sixteen appearances, seven Elite Eights, 17 conference championships and four 30-plus win seasons. Tarkanian is a four-time National Coach of the Year (1977 Kodak; 1983 UPI; 1984, 1990 Basketball Times). At the junior college level, he still owns the highest winning percentage of all-time at .891. He has coached 44 future NBA prospects including 12 First Round draft picks. Off the court, he was the recipient of the Roy Campanella Humanitarian Award and the Dream a Dream Foundation Inspiration Award – the only basketball coach to receive the award.

From the ABA Committee:
ROGER BROWN [Player] – Brown, nicknamed “The Rajah” was one of the greatest one-on-one players in the history of the American Basketball Association (ABA) averaging 17.4 points per game in eight ABA seasons. He was a four-time ABA All-Star (1968,1970, 1971 and 1972), All-ABA first team (1971) and a member of three ABA championship teams with the Indiana Pacers (1970, 1972 and 1973). He holds two ABA records – most consecutive field goals made (21) and scored an ABA Finals single-game high of 53 points. Brown starred for the University of Dayton, and was drafted by the Indiana Pacers in 1967. During his eight year (1967 -1975) ABA career, he spent time with the Indiana Pacers, Memphis Sounds and the Utah Stars. He is one of five players to have his jersey retired by the Pacers. After his professional career, Brown served as a Republican on the Indianapolis City Council for four years. He was diagnosed with cancer in 1996 and before passing away in 1997, he took part in several fundraisers across the city of Indianapolis.

From the Early African American Pioneers Committee:
Dr. E.B. HENDERSON [Contributor] – Known as the “Grandfather of Black Basketball,” Henderson was a true pioneer of the game. He first learned basketball in 1904 at Harvard University, while attending a summer physical training class for gym teachers. Upon his return to Washington, D.C., he introduced the game of basketball to his black students. That was the first time African Americans had played organized basketball on a wide scale. Henderson later formed the first African American athletic conference, the Interscholastic Athletic Association (I.S.A.A). Through the I.S.A.A, he was able to organize competitions between intercity African American youth along the Mid-Atlantic coast specifically in New York and Washington, D.C. In 1909, he led the Twelfth Street Colored Y.M.C.A to the 1909-10 Black National Title and the team finished undefeated. The following year, he coached the 12th Streeter squad to another undefeated season and won the 1910-11 Colored Basketball World’s Championship title. He also co-edited the Spalding Official Handbook for the I.S.A.A., which was published from 1910 to 1913.

From the International Committee:
OSCAR SCHMIDT [Player] – Schmidt is one of the greatest players to come out of his native country of Brazil. He was named one of FIBA’s 50 Greatest Players in 1991, and was inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2010. He played in five Summer Olympics with the Brazilian national team and was the top scorer in three of them. In the 1988 Seoul Olympics, he averaged 42.3 points per game. Schmidt is a three-time gold medalist in the South American Championship (1977, 1983, 1985), two-time silver medalist in the South American Club Championships (1979,1981), won the Intercontinental Cup Silver medal (1977) and World Championship bronze medal in 1978. Schmidt won both the South American Club Championship and the World Club Championship with Sirio of the Brazilian Basketball League in 1979. Drafted in the sixth round by the New Jersey Nets in 1984, Schmidt declined the opportunity to play in the NBA in order to maintain his “amateur” status in Europe. He also spent time playing in the Italian League where he won the Italian Basketball Cup with Caserta in 1988, and was seven-time Italian League top scorer (1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1992). Returning to his native Brazil in 1995 to finish his career, Schmidt was the league’s top scorer eight times from 1996-2003. He retired on May 26, 2003.

From the Veterans Committee:
RICHARD GUERIN [Player] – Guerin is widely known as one of best all-around players ever in the NBA, scoring over 14,676 points during his 13-year stint. The six-time NBA All-Star was a member of the New York Knicks from 1956-1963 and was the first Knick to score 2,000 points in a single season (1961-62). He averaged 20.1 points per game with the team and recorded 4,278 rebounds and 4,211 assists in his career. He finished as a player/coach for the St. Louis/Atlanta Hawks, compiling an NBA coaching record of 327-291 with the Hawks organization and was named NBA Coach of the Year in 1968. Rewriting the basketball record books as a collegiate player at Iona College, Guerin scored 1,375 points, including a career average of 19.6 points per game and graduated the leading scorer in Iona basketball history. The New York Knicks drafted him in the second round in 1956.

From the Contributor Direct Election Committee:
RUSS GRANIK [Contributor] – One of the most influential contributors to the game of basketball. Granik spent 30 years in the NBA league office starting as a staff attorney in 1976 and finishing his NBA career as the Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer. He was involved in every major negotiation in the NBA from 1980 to 2005 including television contracts, collective bargaining and league expansion. Overseeing the expansion of the game into the international realm as a key figure in working out the details of professionals (NBA players) competing in the 1992 Olympic Games and subsequent international competitions. He was the NBA’s chief negotiator on four collective bargaining agreements and has served as NBA Executive Vice President (1984-90), Vice President of USA Basketball (1989-96) and President of USA Basketball (1996-2000). He was also the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Chairman of the Board (2003-2007). In 2005, he received USA Basketball’s Edward S. Steitz Award.

He said it: Evansville IceMen coach Rich Kromm

Evansville IceMen coach Rich Kromm reflected on what went wrong this season and what the future looks like:

Talk about what you learned from this past season, what went wrong and what needs to be fixed before next season?
RICH KROMM: I think the big thing was the lockout. It was unusual. In a normal year, you obviously want to understand what you are going to get from your affiliates as far as the amount of players and what kind of players you are going to get from them.
I think the important thing, no matter what, is to make sure you have a strong core of your own guys who can carry the load when you need them to do that regardless of what happens with your affiliates.
For us, we should have had that, but the injuries that we had, particularly Matt Gens, Phil Plante when they got them really hurt our back end. Those (injuries) left us thin in the back for most of the season because we didn’t have a lot of players being assigned to us from either affiliate at that position.
The only one we had was (Anton) Blomqvist, and he was hurt quite a bit of the time as well.
I think that’s going to be very important. And obviously, staying healthy is important.
It’s been an unusual year with lengthy injuries to key players.

Is it possible to have more stability with affiliate agreements so there isn’t as much player turnover as you had this season? That had to make it tough to develop any cohesiveness.
RICH KROMM: It can go that way or you can get really lucky and get a benefit having those affiliated guys for maybe an extended period of time.
We didn’t have as much interaction with Springfield as we did with Peoria. Peoria had a lot of forwards that we’d get two for a week and then they’d go and they’d send us another couple. So it was a lot of turnover from St. Louis through Peoria.

So with the NHL labor situation settled, do you anticipate next season being a little smoother in terms of hanging on to players you get from Triple A teams?
RICH KROMM: I think you would probably have more consistency with that than we did this year. Unless there are a lot of injuries that last a long time then you are going to get depleted.
Like Cincinnati, they had most of their guys all year long and it got to the point for them at the end of the year when they had to submit their playoff roster they had to leave some very good players off the roster because they had so much depth going into the playoffs.
They had a fairly consistent group of guys there all year.
The biggest factor for us in terms of winning games and competing was the injuries to our core guys who were hurt for as long as they were.

How many players do you expect back next season from this year’s team?
RICH KROMM: Probably a handful. I have to sit down and really evaluate and discuss a few things with (owner) Ron Geary. I was really happy with the way some young guys stepped up at the end.
(Daniel) Tetrault really became a stronger leader on and off the ice. He’s been called up to Peoria to play there now, but he’s a guy that really stepped up. Jason Dale had a great year all year from a competitive standpoint. He really stepped up his role.
Jake Obermeyer stepped up as storong leader
At the end of the day we were playing pretty good hockey.
Some of the young players we brought in really helped us. They only played a handful of games but some of those guys were pretty impressive, like (Chris) Forfar and (Peter) Sakaris.

You released Todd Robinson so he could return to the CHL for the playoffs. Is he gone for good?
RICH KROMM: We maintain his rights. We suspended him when he left because you have to do that to maintain a player’s rights in the league. We have his rights if he decides he wants to play. We’ll talk about it.
Worst case, we still have his rights if he wants to play in the league. His wife has just got a pretty good job in Muskeegon (Mich.)and he may want to stay closer to there.

Elliott released by Bombers, confident of another shot

Joey Elliott’s stint as quarterback with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers ended last week when the Canadian Football League team released him.

Bombers head coach Tim Burke apparently decided to go in a new direction after Elliott tossed more than twice as many interceptions than touchdown passes last season. He passed for 2,190 yards and five touchdowns but was intercepted a dozen times.

“They said they were headed in a different direction, which I can understand from a business standpoint,” Elliott told the Blue Bomber Report last week. “I’m really excited and looking forward to my future and seeing what happens next.”

A former Harrison High standout who started his senior season at Purdue, Elliott was named the CFL offensive player of the week twice last season and had his best games as a professional when he passed for 403 yards against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, completing 33 of 43 passes.

In parts of three seasons, Elliott played in 33 games — starting nine — and completed 58 percent of his passes for 2,623 yards for seven touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

He signed with the team in July 2010 after being released by the Philadelphia Eagles after a free agent tryout.

Elliott said his agent is talking to other teams, including other CFL franchises, about a roster spot.

“It’s professional sports. No one likes to be released or to release anyone. I want to be a coach some day and I’m sure this will be the hard part,” said Elliott. “I’m glad they cut me before camp so I can try to find a job. I think I can be a starter in this league.”