It had to be difficult for Tom Crean to part ways with the things that made Marquette basketball so special.
Such as the white jerseys with the navy blue/yellow/powder blue checkerboard pattern running down the side and trimming the arm holes and neck hole (navy blue swatch on each shoulder).
Or the yellow jerseys with the navy blue/yellow/powder blue checkerboard pattern running down each side and trimming the arm holes and the neck hole (navy blue swatch on each shoulder).
Or the navy blue jerseys with the navy blue/yellow/powder blue checkerboard pattern running down each side and trimming the arm holes and the neck hole (yellow swatch on each shoulder).
Or the powder blue jerseys (which were rarely worn) with the navy blue/yellow/powder blue checkerboard pattern running down each side and trimming the arm holes and the neck hole (navy blue swatch on each shoulder).
It was a unique look -- maybe a bit outdated -- or was it actually a bit nostalgic and/or old school?
Saying goodbye to that apparel, well ... it's like saying goodbye to four old friends.
It's difficult to gauge what sort of impact Crean will have in Blooming-TOM. For those of us who are married to a sweetie who was an undergrad at IU (and whose cash was removed from the wallet she left layin' 'round in the bathroom during that party she attended at the apartment which was shared by Dan Dakich, Uwe Blab and Bill Mueller) ... the same gal who earned her Masters in East Lansing and was involved w/ Spartan athletics at the same time that Tom Crean was a graduate assistant to Jud Heathcote, well ... there'll be stories.
Such as the time when Jud -- with his grad. asst. Tom Crean present -- noticed that Parrish Hickman was more inattentive than usual and asked the player who the Spartans' upcoming opponent was.
When the player spaced out and had no response, Jud offered a hint by squinting his eyes and forming his mouth into an exaggerated overbite to represent buck teeth.
Parrish Hickman answered in the form of a question.
Those are the great stories that we'll share with Tom Crean when we see him at the '08 Maui Invitational.
If we decide to go.
If we can generate enough interest.
And if Tom Crean can raise the level of relevance.
It'll be tough.
It's difficult (nay ... "impossible") to envision Tom Crean duplicating what Mike Davis did during his second yeat ('01-'02) when he took those exceptionally-mediocre Knight recruits (non-household names such as "Coverdale" and "Newton" and "Hornsby" and "Fife" and "Odle" and "Moye") along with one blue-chipper (Jared Jeffries) all the way to the national championship game (with wins over Duke and Oklahoma sandwiched around that amazing 15-of-19, three-ball shooting spree against Kent).
Now, it's up to Crean to sweep up the shards of glass and to hose the blood off the asphalt from a Davis-to-Sampson transition which fractured what could've been a national-championship contender in '07-'08 if only Robert Vaden hadn't followed Davis to UAB, Patrick Ewing, Jr. hadn't transferred to Daddy's alma mater and A.J. Ratliff hadn't left the team for "personal reasons."
When you combine that trio with freshman star Eric Gordon, budding-freshman talent Jordan Crawford, a beast in the low post in D.J. White, a perimeter sharpshooter in Armon Bassett and role players such as Jamarcus Ellis and the beefy DeAndre Thomas, it all adds up to a 9-player rotation which COULD have worked some magic (if those players had understood and accepted various roles).
But, since coll. b-ball is nuthin' more than an NBA farm system co-mingled with an elevated intramural format wherein the marginally-talented such as IU's Adam Ahlfeld can ride the pine for the Hoosiers as his big-shot doctor daddy did 30 years ago, IU's go-to guy for Coach Crean next season is likely to be sophomore Brett Finkelmeier.
And, if that's the leader for '08-'09, then why wasn't Dane Fife of the Indiana/Purdue-Fort Wayne Mastadons given more consideration ... in order to provide some hope with a catchy "Fife & Finkelstein" campaign?
"I.U. B-Ball Is Dane-gerous!"
(Sidebar: No offense to Adam Ahlfeld, but he wore #34 during his career of benchwarming -- and #34 belongs to the sweet-strokin' southpaw that we always remember as Brian Evans. Adam shoulda thought about that before he chose that jersey number. Alas, if only he'd had a sit-down with his big-shot daddy instead of Pa putting a gun to Mike Davis' head ... )
It's highly doubtful that Cream can breathe any life into this program which is about to drive off the same cliff which Purdue and Iowa have recently.
The first order of business, of course, is to square away in his mind that he's transitioning from the navy blue/yellow/powder blue checkerboard to cream n' crimson, peppermint-striped warmup pants ...