Put the “we don’t have the talent to compete!” argument to bed. Once and for all.
As this team started its backslide in Las Vegas, the chorus started growing. That this team was incapable of competing with actual D-1 competition. That these players weren’t anywhere near Big Ten caliber. That in many cases, their existence on the IU roster was a grand accident, an unfortunate byproduct of Heroic Tom Crean having to take on sub-par basketball players.
That some of the players needed to be in the MAC.
It has been upon this bedrock that many in the IU fan base have built their pillars of excuses for the coaching staff. And once and for all, I would like to extend my invitation to those folks to knock off the BS.
I’m tired of these players getting pilloried by the “true IU fans” that are willing to sell out those wearing jerseys for those wearing suits. This supposedly “untalented” team has somehow played competitive basketball games in three of the toughest arenas in the country over the last month.
We’ve heard focused, deliberate questions and comments about forcing people like Elston, Sheehey, and others to transfer, because of a supposed lack of talent. It’s complete nonsense on the part of the fans.
It’s made even more remarkable due to these same fans being the ones that make excuses for the coaches because of a “lack of experience” on the team. So a lack of experience is a problem, yet forcing experienced players out to make room for inexperienced freshmen is the answer?
Even in the wake of the game tonight, the knee-jerk reaction of the majority of the fan base was to blame Jeremiah Rivers for missing free throws. The same Rivers that has hit 83% of his FTs this year. The same one whose defense in the Illinois game made a two-game winning streak a possibility. And even with the missed free throws, all that did was put IU into a winnable overtime scenario.
There’s no question that players need to get better at various areas of their game. That’s part of being a college basketball player, and it’s the hope of any fan that their team’s players will improve and progress.
Our players are no different. They are all talented players. They were when they got here, and they have continued to be. They all need to progress and get better, and that is as much the coaching staff’s job as it is theirs. If the players could make themselves better on their own, we wouldn’t need coaches.
It’s great to see IU in close contests in the Big Ten. To me, our performance in these games has simply reinforced what I already knew — that this is a talented team which has underachieved due to certain factors. What those factors are is certainly a debate.
But once and for all, let’s stop with this asinine argumentation that somehow Tom Crean’s coaching is being lost on players that aren’t Big Ten caliber. It’s simply not true.