BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – IU Athletics Director Rick Greenspan knows Mike Davis might not be the only person to leave the Hoosier basketball program at season's end.
After Davis' resignation announcement last week, sophomores D.J. White and Robert Vaden hinted strongly they'd like to follow Davis wherever he winds up next fall. Fellow sophomore A.J. Ratliff latter suggested to various media outlets that he might do the same.
That sort of exodus isn't what Greenspan wants by any means, but he's also well aware of the fact it's a possibility.
"I'm not naïve enough to think that there might not be some attrition," Greenspan said. "But what we have to do, and I think it was addressed in the press conference, we have to grow, build and unite the Indiana University basketball program, its fan base, former players and alumni.
"The program eventually needs to be built on teamwork and is bigger than any one individual."
Greenspan is also quick to point out that talk of transfers is commonplace any time there is a coaching change. When Indiana fired Bob Knight 5 ½ years ago, practically the entire Hoosier team was on the record saying they had played their last basketball game in Bloomington.
Time healed some of those wounds, as did IU's decision to name then-assistant coach Mike Davis as the interim head coach for the 2000-01 season. Other than the departure of walk-on Tom Geyer, the Hoosiers' roster returned in tact.
Greenspan is hoping that time – coupled with a quality choice as Davis' replacement – will help convince the disgruntled players their future should still be in Bloomington as a member of IU's basketball team.
"Whenever you have changes in coaches, that will be an instant reaction from student-athletes," Greenspan said. "Hopefully, as we move through this process, we can allay some of their fears and concerns about the quality of person following Mike, and the relationship that they'll be able to build."
The Hoosiers' athletic director also views the loyalty the players have for Davis as a positive reflection on the soon-to-depart head coach. That's a big reason why IU was able to sign the highly-regarded recruits in the first place.
"I think that is a little bit of a two-edged sword," Greenspan said. "The relationship that a coach develops with a player throughout the recruiting process…at this level needs to be strong. They need to create a bond.
"These are highly-recruited student-athletes with many, many options, and frequently a number of factors come into where they make their college choice. The great name of Indiana, Indiana University and the history of the program are some of the strongest. But there is also the relationship that develops between the coach and the player, so the affinity that they have for Mike is a very, very positive sign."
Ultimately, Greenspan hopes to bring in a coach that not only reestablishes IU as one of the dominant programs in college basketball, but also someone who can set forth a vision that convinces the current players to return in the fall.
"They're young people," Greenspan said. "Sometimes people forget that these are generally young people, ages 17 to the early 20s, and that they have been placed under a lot of scrutiny which happens at this level. They are not exempt from the rumors, internet and radical thinking that takes place at high-level programs from those on the outside.
"They need to do what's best for them. The question is, what is best for them, and my hope and expectation is that we do not have attrition because these are really good young men."
Greenspan Addresses Issue Of Attrition
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