FORT WAYNE – Tom Creans close friend Tom Izzo is contemplating leaving his post as Michigan States basketball coach to take charge of the NBAs Cleveland Cavaliers.
Crean, meanwhile, is focused on taking the next steps in Indianas reclamation project.
My friendship with Tom is separate from Indiana, Michigan State or basketball. Hes the best friend that I have, so I want whats best for him. At the same time, I dont even remotely think about not being at Indiana for any situation, Crean said after being awarded a Red Coat during Sundays Mad Anthonys ceremonies.
Crean served as an assistant under Izzo for four years at Michigan State.
I want to be at Indiana. Thats why we chose to come here, Crean said. We gave up a phenomenal job with a team that would have had Final Four qualities in it (at Marquette). Were excited about it.
You dont come to Indiana to leave Indiana. You come to Indiana to build it and build on and into the great tradition that is there.
The Hoosiers went 10-21 in Creans second season, an improvement of four victories. Crean said IU is having a good offseason.
What were really looking forward to is that well be a little bit more matured, well be a little bit stronger. The bottom line is its going to be very, very competitive if we can stay injury-free, as much as possible, Crean said. Thats something we have to have. We cant put people on the floor that arent playing at a high level defensively. We cant put people on the floor that dont make the defense honor them with their ability to make plays. We cant put people on the floor that arent rebounding with an energy and enthusiasm level that isnt really high.
They have to make it a competitive summer; we have to make it a competitive fall. And then we have to get into the season and see where it takes us.
Crean said Maurice Creek is showing progress as he recovers from knee surgery. The freshman led the Hoosiers in scoring, averaging 16.4 points per game. But he only played 12 games. His season ended Dec. 28 when he fractured his left knee against Bryant.
Hes getting healthier. Hes not back on the court yet, Crean said. You want to hear about him playing and feeling good about what hes doing. Im not sure thats going to happen until August. Hes not in a position yet to play, but he does work. Hes rehabbing really well and I think hes healing very well.