IU COACHING CANDIDATE: Scott Drew

Indiana's potential NCAA problems would be child's play for Baylor Coach Scott Drew, who has brought the Big 12 program back from the ashes during his five seasons. So what makes him a viable candidate for the IU vacancy? What makes him a long shot? HoosierNation.com has the answers...

Problems? What problems?

That's the attitude fifth-year Baylor Coach and Butler grad Scott Drew would have in regards to Indiana's upcoming appearance in front of the NCAA Infractions Committee. While the Hoosiers might not get any sort of postseason ban for the violations committed during Kelvin Sampson's two-year tenure, they're sure to be facing some sort of probation and scholarship reductions.

But Indiana's issues are little more than a speed bump compared to the challenge Drew accepted when he left Valparaiso 4 1/2 years ago to replace Dave Bliss at Baylor. Bliss was fired in the aftermath of the murder of Baylor player Brian Dennehy by his teammate, Carlton Dotson, in 2003. The subsequent investigation revealed an attempted cover-up of wide spread rules violations by the one-time IU assistant coach and his coaching staff, along with his plans of a smear campaign against the slain Dennehy.

The fall-out was monumental. Dotson was eventually sentenced to 35 years in prison, Bliss resigned and was eventually saddled with a 10-year "show cause" order by the NCAA (meaning any school that wanted to hire him would have to get it okayed by the NCAA first), and Baylor was dealt some of the most significant penalties ever handed down by the governing body when it issued its ruling in 2005.

The Bears were put on five years probation and barred from playing any non-conference games in 2005. Those penalties came on the heels of Baylor's self-imposed punishment, which included scholarship reductions, reduced contact between coaches and recruits, and a postseason ban in 2003-04.

The NCAA ruling also came after Drew's first two seasons in Waco, where he'd assembled a make-shift team and gone a surprisingly respectable 17-40. But they were clearly struggling for air in the rugged Big 12, and further NCAA penalties weren't what the doctor ordered.

But through it all, Drew has survived and is now beginning to thrive. After going 4-13 in the abbreviated 2005-06 campaign, the Bears went 15-16 last season. This season has been even better, as Baylor is 20-9 overall, 8-7 in the Big 12, and are likely to make the school's first NCAA appearance since 1988.

He's done it with surprisingly-effective recruiting, which has included three top-20 classes in the last four years. At both Valparaiso and Baylor he used his overseas contacts to add an international flavor to his squads, but he's also proven capable of out-dueling others for top-flight national recruits. Since taking over the Bears' program he's signed six top-100 recruits: Kevin Rogers (ranked No. 60 in 2005 class), Henry Dagut (No. 80 in 2005), Demond Carter (No. 63 in 2006), Josh Lomers (No. 100 in 2006), Lacedarius Dunn (No. 24 in 2007) and Anthony Jones (No. 62 in 2008).

Before going to Baylor, Drew spent 10 years at Valparaiso, including one season as its head coach. The son of long-time Crusaders' Coach Homer Drew, Scott spent nine years on his father's staff before taking over in 2002. Valparaiso went 20-11, won the Mid-Continent Conference regular season championship, and earned a spot in the NIT during Drew's season at the helm.

What Makes Him a Viable Candidate: The job he's done at Baylor is nothing short of remarkable. Drew was able to make the jump from the Mid-Con to the Big 12 school 4 ½ years ago because the job was radioactive and no one else wanted to try to clean up the monumental mess, but he's managed to bring them back from the ashes and has them positioned to earn a trip to the NCAA tourney for the first time in 20 years. Considering what Drew has managed to build from nothing, it's an intriguing thought to see what he could do at a school such as Indiana which has the sort of recruiting base, tradition and fan support that makes it one of the most prestigious jobs in the country. Drew is well aware of the possibilities at IU thanks to his Indiana ties. Having grown up in Valparaiso, Drew graduated from Butler in 1993 and coached under his father for 10 years before going to Baylor.

What Makes Him a Longshot: > If there's a knock on Drew it's been that he's been labeled as a negative recruiter by many in the coaching profession. While that's not against NCAA rules, it's frowned upon by most in the coaching profession, and any hint of even unethical behavior is going to be a red flag in IU's coaching search. Among the alleged targets of Drew's approach have been Kansas (for supposed low graduation rates, a claim that wasn't entirely accurate), Memphis (for its off-the-court problems) and even Texas Tech and former Coach Bob Knight (for not being able to sign a McDonald's All-America at the Big 12 school). Knight isn't one to forgive quickly for that sort of slight, so it's probably a safe assumption that Scott Drew isn't a favorite for the long-time IU and recently-retired Texas Tech coach. One would think that in the back of IU decision-makers' minds they do have visions of somebody making amends with Knight, and Drew probably wouldn't do much to promote that possibility. That might not be a reason to eliminate a potential candidate, but it's a point to ponder during the process.

HoosierNation.com's Take: Indiana doesn't figure to be the only school interested in Drew this off-season. LSU is looking for a coach after it dismissed John Brady last month, and Drew has been mentioned as a possibility there. Drew's father, Homer, is friends with long-time LSU coach Dale Brown, and the younger Drew has already made in-roads in the state of Louisiana in recruiting. Two of his highest-ranked recruits at Baylor – Lacedarius Dunn and Demond Carter – are both from Louisiana. Other coaching jobs figure to open up once the season comes to an end as well, and Drew figures to get some interest from those schools. With that in mind, Indiana might need to move quickly if this is the direction that it wants to go. Whether they're willing to move quickly and potentially out-bid another major conference school for Drew is questionable. The negative recruiting stories, meanwhile, hurt Drew's chances as well.

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