A big win for Indiana in its exhibition opener Wednesday night still produced one big question.
Where's JUCO transfer Guy-Marc Michel?
The North Idaho CC transfer impressed plenty of on-lookers with his 14-point, 10-rebound, four-block performance in IU's intra-squad scrimmage last weekend. But as IU was busy racing past Franklin College 89-37 Wednesday night, Michel spent the evening on the bench in street clothes.
The reason? IU officials announced the NCAA is reviewing Michel's eligibility. The issue revolves around Michel's time with a French Club team before he enrolled at North Idaho CC. While Michel spent most of his time playing on an amateur team, he apparently saw limited action with another team that had a couple of professional players on it.
These kind of issues are nothing new for European players, many of whom have their status looked at more closely by the NCAA before they're cleared to play. But it's clearly a thorn in Indiana's side. There's little doubt that Michel is expected to play a big role along Indiana's frontline, providing a 7'0" presence that no one else on IU's current roster can match.
So Indiana will have to wait. Michel is able to practice with the team in the interim, and a ruling should come sooner rather than later. While Tom Crean would clearly like to have Michel available as possible, he also understands there's a process.
"We have great respect for the NCAA's process, particularly because we know they have a practice of reviewing each individual student-athlete's case on its own merit, with a focus on what's best for the student," Crean said. "We also appreciate the NCAA's increased understanding of the circumstances facing international student-athletes, which led to the recent rule changes that permit immediate eligibility for entering freshmen with the same competitive experiences as Guy.
"With these factors in mind, we are hopeful for a positive resolution to Guy's case within the coming weeks."
While Michel's absence from the floor Wednesday night was unexpected, that was one of the few surprises in an easy win for the Hoosiers. Christian Watford scored 25 points in 24 minutes, Maurice Creek added 16, and 10 different Hoosiers scored in a game that was a rout from the outset. Indiana forced its D-III opponent into 28 turnovers and owned a 42-20 edge on the glass in a game it dominated in every way imaginable.
"We watched quite a bit of film from their last several games preparing for this," said Franklin Coach Kerry Prather. "But, I think they're much better. I was impressed with their patience and their discipline. That's still with a crew that's not completely healthy. I think when they get everybody out and they get everybody at full speed, I think folks that are looking for a turning of the corner, that corner is about to be turned."
Hoosiers Roll Despite Michel Absence
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