Another subpar season. A first-round exit in the NCAA Tournament. A fan base lobbying for a coaching change.
And yet, only weeks later, another McDonalds All-American secured by that very coach. A talented roster capable of winning the Big Ten next season. A whole new day.
Expectations are different in Bloomington. Those expectations come with a program that has won five national championships. But while many in the loud fan base spent their days clamoring for athletic director Fred Glass to make a change, Tom Crean chugged along. Like he has for his seven-year tenure at Indiana, Crean kept recruiting, kept selling, kept working toward a sixth banner.
The Hoosiers said in the postseason that the outside noise never had any significant impact on any of their thoughts or actions. At the time, it seemed like only talk. But perhaps they were being honest.
McDonalds All-American Thomas Bryant committed to the Hoosiers on Saturday, a sign that the outside noise doesn't have nearly the impact that some believe it does. Bryant, a 6-foot-10 center and a four-star prospect, changes everything for Crean and Indiana because he gives them a legitimate interior presence, something they lacked last season. With Bryant along with Juwan Morgan and O.G. Anunoby, Indiana is a likely preseason top 15 team if Yogi Ferrell and Troy Williams return to school.
All of this after a tumultuous season that saw more ups than downs and ended much sooner than Crean and Indiana had hoped. Amid all the criticism, all the uncertainty, all the off-court incidents, Crean proved once again that he is one of the very best recruiters in all of college basketball. Indiana needed a big man, and Crean delivered a really good one on Saturday.
For at least one day, there's hope in Bloomington. And a lot of it.