Dan Dakich believes Indiana should hire an “IU guy” as the next IU basketball coach.
He’s got plenty of company in that thinking among former players who have spoken privately and publicly.
A national college basketball commentator for ESPN and a former player and coach at IU, Dakich has been among the most vocal in his stance, expressing his thoughts nationally and locally.
Dakich talked with Peegs.com about his view and the reasons he believes the Indiana basketball coach should be an IU guy.
“I think IU should hire an IU guy, whether that’s Steve or Dane or Woody. I just do,” Dakich said, referring to Steve Alford, Dane Fife and Mike Woodson.
“I feel like, they fired coach Knight, and that’s fine. I was one of those who said he probably should have been fired a couple years earlier.
“But you’ve been getting away from it for 17 years. Indiana hasn’t been recruited very well over the last 17 years. I go back maybe 20, 25 years, when coach Knight wasn’t going to get off his ass to talk to Laef LaFrentz or Jacque Vaughn.
“Mike (Davis) wasn’t going to recruit. Kelvin (Sampson) … I know Tom (Crean) tried. I think you have to get back to everything moving in one direction. I think Tom did a great job. I think Tom didn’t deserve to get fired.
“I’m pretty adamant about it. I want to see an Indiana guy there who is going to recruit the state and give it the Indiana feel again.”
When you think of an ‘Indiana guy,’ what are the things that you think of as far as how an IU team should play the game of basketball?
“I think the game has changed so much from coach Knight when games were in the 50s and 60s. You’ve got to play like Tom played offensively, play fast but not the same breakneck we’re-going-to-turn-it-over-a-ton stuff.
“But you’re going to have to score. You’re going to have to average in the mid-70s or higher. You have to have a real dedication to playing defense.
“South Carolina can come out and play some ‘D’ but they can score in the 90s. You have to be able to score, and I think there has to be an emphasis on guarding, and that’s fundamentally guarding your man but that involves a lot of things now.
“In modern college basketball, it doesn’t need to be motion offense and man to man and all that. To me, that’s what Indiana always was, but the era is different. The styles are different.
“There’s more with the dribble. Hell, everybody dribbles. You adapt to that. Fine.
“But you have to be fundamentally sound handling the ball. You have to score at a good clip and you have to make sure you guard.”
Where do you think Indiana is right now in its process?
“I initially thought Indiana had their guy. You don’t fire a guy without having your guy. This isn’t a little hire. I’m thinking an AD has their guy. I’m not sure they have their guy.
“They’re doing a search firm. They’re doing background. I’m not sure they have their guy. I thought it was Steve. I thought it was a done deal. I’m not sure anymore.
“All of a sudden, search firm. That doesn’t mean they’re taking over the search, but I didn’t think you needed any of that. If you hire Steve, you have to figure out the whole Pierre Pierce. I told Paul Krebs at New Mexico that. You’ve got to figure that out. I’m sure there are things on other guys. I personally thought this was one of those deals where you have your guy in place.”