BLOOMINGTON – Isiah Thomas to IU as its next basketball coach?
Are you kidding me??
Yes…I am. It's April Fool's Day.
While it's a laughable thought (I think?) that Indiana University would turn its basketball program over to a man that oversaw the implosion one professional basketball league and is in the midst of turning a legendary NBA franchise into a comedian's punch line, what's gone on as of late with the Hoosier program is no laughing matter.
Coaches are declining, players are departing, and some would say the program is in the midst of an unmitigated natural disaster. That's probably taking all of this a bit too far, but if there's an IU geology professor anywhere close, they might want to check for fault lines under Assembly Hall right about now.
The rest of us, meanwhile, better grab some hard hats because the Indiana basketball program is being rocked to its core.
Let's start off on the coaching front, where the public perception is that IU can't persuade anyone to take over its purported elite program. Washington State's Tony Bennett quickly declined IU Athletic Director Rick Greenspan's overtures this weekend, and Tennessee's Bruce Pearl did the same when IU put out "feelers" to judge his interest.
Indiana is supposedly the type of program where those types of coaches form a line outside of the AD's door, but right now IU seems to be little more than a pawn for each to use to further endear themselves to their present employers and fans.
Certainly there are still coaches who would be interested in coming to Bloomington, people like Brad Brownell, Steve Alford, Randy Wittman, Mike Montgomery and Scott Skiles, to name a few. But you have to wonder what's going on when a good portion of the applicants can be sorted into two piles – the untested and the unemployed.
Next, let's move on to what's going on with the players. A while ago it was pretty obvious that both D.J. White and Eric Gordon would be gone at the close of the '08 season, and their All-America seasons all but guaranteed their exits. A month ago a pair of recruits, Devin Ebanks and Terrell Holloway, began the process of getting their releases from their IU letters of intent, so they aren't expected in town come August.
The Coup de Grâce.to IU's roster came a day ago when Dan Dakich officially booted the only two returning starters for '09, Armon Bassett and Jamarcus Ellis. Like a couple of other players on the '08 roster those two have been loyal, quite honestly, to a fault to Kelvin Sampson since he was ousted in February, and they've been rewarded with a couple of one-way tickets out of town.
Barring an influx of talent during the April signing period and a change of heart from IU's next head coach in regards to Bassett and Ellis, Indiana is slated to have six scholarship players on its roster in 2008-09.
It's been a tough couple of months for IU basketball fans, who have been watching the program suffer some disheartening setbacks on the floor and some disturbing embarrassments off of it.
But there is one piece of good news.
With everything that has already happened, nothing else can go wrong.
Unless they hire Isiah Thomas.
DECKER: Nothing Else Can Go Wrong, Can It?
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