AL HAMNIK: Time for a coaching change in Purdue, IU men's basketball

2014-03-18T18:45:00Z 2014-03-21T14:46:12Z AL HAMNIK: Time for a coaching change in Purdue, IU men's basketballAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
March 18, 2014 6:45 pm  • 

I ask Indiana and Purdue basketball fans to be straight up with me. Is it time for a coaching change?

You can't be happy with the direction both programs are headed. This is the home of Hoosier Hysteria, where basketball is king. You wouldn't know it by what's going on in Bloomington and West Lafayette.

IU's Tom Crean, whom Wikipedia reports has an annual salary of $3.16 million, has put together a 101-97 record and is 40-68 against the Big Ten in six seasons.

Not all Indiana fans were in favor of Crean's hiring from Marquette, where the frenetic coach spent much of the game screaming at his players and yelling at officials.

His act continued at IU with few results to brag about.

One hot rumor has former IU star Mike Woodson being fired as coach of the gosh-awful New York Knicks, and ending up in Bloomington. I doubt it. Great guy but not a very good coach.

IU fans would love having one of their own as head coach, however.

Indiana finished 17-15 overall, 7-11 in conference play, and lost seven of its last 10 games. Crean blamed his team, his athletes, for a lack of toughness and competitive spirit night after night.

As their coach, their teacher, whose fault is that?

He currently has one blue-chip recruit, sophomore guard Yogi Ferrell from the Indianapolis area, and I'm hearing he might jump to the NBA.

IU football is terrible but its basketball program at one time was among the nation's best. No more. The young stars are choosing to shine elsewhere.

Perhaps they know this is the fourth time in six seasons under Crean that IU will miss the NCAA tourney.

Matt Painter had a miserable 15-17 season (5-13 in conference) that saw the Boilermakers lose their final seven games, 12 of the last 14, and share the conference basement with Northwestern -- only the second time that's happened in the past 48 seasons.

Though the entire state was shut out in terms of NCAA tourney bids, you expect better from Purdue and IU.

Painter's annual salary is a reported $2.3 million but he just isn't landing the big-name recruits anymore.

He once thrived with E'Twaun Moore, Robbie Hummel and JaJuan Johnson in the lineup but has been firing blanks since they left.

Region fans are still furious with him for not being more aggressive in recruiting Glenn Robinson III, whose father re-wrote much of the Purdue record book.

Purdue's loss, Michigan's gain.

It only gets worse as Painter is losing sophomore point guard Ronnie Johnson (10.8 ppg.), who intends to transfer. He was one of three double-digit scorers on the team, and one of them is graduating.

There is speculation 7-footer AJ Hammons, who has Gary roots, may leave early for the NBA.

Freshman Jay Simpson already has left the program due to a potentially fatal heart defect.

None of that is Matt Painter's fault, but he's in a recruiting slump and will have a difficult time filling some very big holes.

Sometimes, change is good. New faces, new philosophies, new attitudes, are sorely needed.

The IU and Purdue administrations should consider that, seriously.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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