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October 25, 2012
By Troy Derengowski of Richmond High School


Troy Derengowski, Richmond’s Sports Page

Today was Big Ten Basketball Media Day in Chicago.  Much of the attention was on Indiana, the pre-season #1 team in the country.  Before we get to Tom Crean’s comments, let’s talk a little bit about Big Ten Media Day.

If you think you are missing anything by not being in Chicago, think again.  What goes on is somewhat comical.  There are legit media people at media day like The Big Ten Network, ESPN and CBS Sports etc.  But these days there so are many media one must wonder where did these people get their credentials?  They aren’t hard to spot.  They are generally the young reporters looking to make a name for themselves.  Most of them are students, many reporting for obscure web sites and most are generally a bunch of geeks.  I can tell you this most of them have never played basketball.  In fact I doubt they ever played any sport.  Most were probably managers and thought this would be a neat profession to be in.   So it is hard to take them seriously.  They ask some of the dumbest questions and wonder why the coaches look at them like they are from mars.   One of the worst questions ever asked came at the expense of former IU coach Bob Knight several years ago from a young TV reporter.  The reporter was right behind me and I knew it was coming.  It had to do with the Big Ten Media Guide which was missing the Illinois logo.  The reporter asked Coach Knight the first question of the press conference. 

REPORTER:  Coach Knight.  Why is the Illinois logo missing off the Big Ten media guide?

BOB KNIGHT:  How in the #@&%$ would I know that?   What in the #%#@& kind of question is that?  Why don’t you ask someone who gives a %#@&%?   I can’t believe you would ask me that kind of question.   This is @&%$#&.  Next question!!!!

All I did was look away and cringe.   Now just imagine this type of question asked at least 20 times per press conference and you have media day!

Now , to Indiana and Coach Crean.   On being #1 in the country:

“As far as our team right now, there is no question that our whole mindset is, our goal to get to where we want to be as a team, to get the identity that we have to have is to make sure that we feel like we're just a little better every day.
It sounds cliche, but it's the truth.  The thing I can always look at and back it up with is we wouldn't be in the position we are in right now without having that mindset from before.  The bottom line is if your team is improving, led by your best players, then everybody else has to fall in line.  There is no doubt that the attention the team has gotten has been good, and in the sense of that they have worked very hard to get back in the conversation, it makes for good conversation”.

As for standing up to the pressure of being #1:

“Our team has had to deal with a lot of other hype that wasn't necessarily positive.  I think it's easy to look at the couple of years we started and say, well, Indiana was down and Indiana wasn't doing this or that and that's all true.  The target of being an Indiana Hoosier has never changed, and Indiana is synonymous throughout the country for being a lot of thing in basketball, and it was always a big deal when you were playing Indiana or Indiana was coming to town and that hasn't changed.
Will it grow some?  Maybe.  But I think the bottom line is a year ago when there really weren't those outside voices talking in a totally positive light about where the team was at, that didn't phase them, they continued to work.  They might respond here and there but it didn't phase them.
The work ethic I see from this team is the same thing.  There is no question that they're receiving a lot of attention and we're trying to keep our business as usual approach as much as we can inside the balls of the building, and you keep the regularity that you have to have and deal with it as it comes.  The bottom line is when those guys hit the practice floor or the weight room or when they go into the film room starting more this weekend, they're working toward where they want to work, none of that matters.
What matters is, are they challenging each other?  Are they competing?  Are they absorbing the competition and are they hungry to get better?  I don't see any sign of that not being the case”.

Coach Crean says basketball in the Midwest will be great:

“I think there is more attention paid to it maybe a little bit nationally, but anytime ?? Indiana, Louisville, Kentucky those are always going to be names that are big everywhere when it comes to college basketball.
The fact that all three are getting the attention that they're getting now I think brings a little more attention to it, but for somebody like me and others that live in the midwest maybe a little more appreciation.  I know it feels good for us to be back in that conversation, to be back, mentioned in the same breath of other great teams.  Not only having a great program, which Indiana has been for decades, but back to having a chance to be successful.
Again, we didn't mention Cincinnati, we didn't mention Marquette, Xavier, Butler, Notre Dame, the midwest is absolutely loaded, and there is a lot of excitement for fans, whether they are at the games, reading it, watching it on television and it makes it that much more competitive for all the coaches and the players going against one another”.

Believe me, this is going to be one heck of a Big Ten Basketball season!!

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