Eli Holman might be gone, but the circumstances surrounding his departure haven't been forgotten by IU Coach Tom Crean.
Crean was in Indianapolis Thursday to serve as the honorary starter for practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Rain washed out Indy 500 practice for a second straight day, but his public appearance provided an opportunity to talk about Holman's stormy exit from the IU program last week.
While not pointing any fingers directly, Crean suggested that there was more to Holman's departure than what was on the surface.
"I don't think there's any doubt that there was a certain amount of orchestrating going on," Crean said.
While Holman had said publicly he was unsure whether or not he would return to the team next fall, Crean said the 6-9, 210-pound freshman had relayed to him that he was happy with how things were in Bloomington. That's why his decision to exit the program last week caught Crean and many others by surprise.
Crean said Holman had suggested that the reason he wanted to leave was to be closer to his Richmond, Cal., home. But less than a week after his noisy departure, he made it known he intended to transfer to Detroit Mercy to play for former IU Assistant Coach Ray McCallum.
"We were led to believe it was a family decision and (he) wanted to get closer to home and that doesn't look like that's the way it's going to turn out," Crean said.
Holman alerted Crean to his intentions to leave IU last Thursday, although he didn't indicate that he intended to transfer to Detroit. The meeting reportedly ended with heated words and Holman breaking a potted plant in the men's basketball office, which prompted a call to university police.
Crean suggested today that his position last week was Holman should take some more time before deciding to depart the program, and that wasn't the answer Holman wanted to hear. After the incident, Crean made a public statement later that day that Holman wouldn't be back with the IU program.
"I've seen now, this was totally part of an orchestration," Crean said. "It just was. I don't have a lot of respect for that. I like Eli and I wish him well. I really do…but I don't have a lot of respect for the way that it turned out."
Holman Situation Not Sitting Well with Crean
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