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“I think he wants to stay"

As Indiana begins play in the NIT tonight, questions about Tom Crean’s future have bubbled right back to the surface. What does Crean want? And what is Indiana likely to do?

As Indiana begins play in the NIT tonight, questions about Tom Crean’s future have bubbled right back to the surface.

Indiana passed on hosting the game, saying on Monday that it informed ESPN and the NIT of that decision two weeks ago. (A source involved with the NIT confirms to that organizers were told “a while back” that Assembly Hall would not be available this week for NIT games.)

Regardless of the explanation, that background drama has put the lack of clarity about Crean’s future right back on the front burner.

There are other schools that have interest in Crean, and understandably so, given his accomplishments at Indiana.

So here on March 14, Indiana is playing a road NIT with coach who is interesting to other schools.

The Hoosiers face Georgia Tech, coached by Josh Pastner, a coach who was at Memphis and previously in a situation similar to Crean’s current situation at IU.

To get a broader view of the Indiana situation, spoke with national college writer and TV/radio host Gary Parrish of CBS, who has spent time at IU in preseason and practice settings, over the past few years.

“I think he wants to stay because I think he has a really hard time walking away from the Indiana job. It’s the Indiana job. I think there’s some pride involved, and I think he believes he’s done a good job,” Parrish said.

“If you walk away from the Indiana job, you never get the Indiana job again. I don’t think there’s any part of him that wants to do that. I do know people close to him are saying he should consider it.

“This has gotten undeniably ugly. I’m aware of it as well. Even when you just see that person, regardless of who that person was, yelling at him at the Big Ten Tournament — what other coaches are dealing with that?

“It reminds me a lot of when Josh Pastner’s time ended. Memphis was not going to fire Josh Pastner. I don’t know, but I don’t have any information that IU wants to fire Tom Crean. I assume Indiana would allow him to leave for another job, but are they going to pull the trigger on him?

“Memphis wasn’t going to pull the trigger on Josh, but they were trilled he got the Georgia Tech job. … Memphis needed to move on, and Josh should have moved on. I once described them as a married couple that was only still married because they couldn’t figure out how to get divorced.

“I do think Tom would be better off with a fresh start, a fresh lease on life, around people who would appreciate him for what we can do rather than yell about what he’s not doing. That’s easy for me to say, ‘I’d walk away for N.C. State or Missouri or LSU.’ It’s easy to say.

“You fire him and that’s fine, but you’re spending a lot of money to do it and are you sure you can get somebody better? You always assume your next guy is better.

“Kentucky thought it could do better than Tubby Smith. They didn’t at first (with Billy Gillispie). They did, eventually, but it took some time. N.C. State thought it could do better than Herb Sendek. It didn’t. … You fire a guy, you’re never sure if you’re going to do better.

“If you keep him, he goes into next year undeniably on the hot seat. There’s no easy answer here.

“This is not easy for Tom, and it’s not easy for Indiana.” Top Stories