BOZICH | Time for Indiana basketball players to make headlines o - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Time for Indiana basketball players to make headlines on, not off, the court

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Emmitt Holt won’t take the primary hit for his serial knucklehead behavior, even though he has been dismissed from the Indiana University basketball program.

Tom Crean, the basketball coach, and Fred Glass, the IU athletic director, will.

They’ll have to answer more questions about player misdeeds, sell and enforce their plans for eliminating repeat offenders and deal with an Indiana fan base that has grown firmly annoyed with these kinds of headlines.

What will happen to Holt?

The same thing that happened to Hanner Mosquera-Perea, Devin Davis, Stanford Robinson and others who have left IU over the last two years, either because they wanted to depart or were told to pack their gear:

Holt’s voice mail will be stuffed with calls from understanding coaches with scholarship offers. Coaches eager to overlook his immature decisions because Holt has the size, strength and athleticism to help a program win.

You don’t need a telescope to find basketball or football programs 110 percent enthusiastic to plug another school’s misfits into their lineups. They’re everywhere.

Coaches will line up to prove that Holt won’t do to them what he and others have done to Crean and his staff.

Increase their unpopularity ratings. Decrease their margin for recruiting errors. Feed the storyline that the program lacks discipline.

Put the program in position where it needs to win big this year to change the narrative from off-the-court nonsense to renewed basketball glory.

Fair? Sure. Unfair? Sure. That’s a discussion for another day. It’s just the way it is.

This is also the way it is: It’s time for the Indiana players to reserve their biggest headlines for what they do on, not off, the court.

Win big is what Indiana appeared positioned to do before Crean was forced to dismiss Mosquera-Perea, Davis and Holt the last four months.

When IU president Michael McRobbie became inspired to say, “Enough,” last week you knew the tolerance for silliness was over in Bloomington.

Message delivered. I’m sure the paying customers have left McRobbie and Glass aware of their views.

Lindy’s pre-season college yearbook has already prepared a cover shot with Indiana ranked fourth in the nation for the 2015-16 season.

Even with Holt available as a back-up center and power forward, that seemed heavy on optimism. Without Holt, it seems like a reason to re-shoot that Lindy’s cover.

But there will be plenty of time to discuss the upcoming season. This isn’t one of those times.  This is the time to wonder about how much damage the posse of partiers have done to Crean.

I’d say considerable. Holt is merely the latest guy responsible for that. He was asked to leave IU Monday, 10 days after he and freshman center Thomas Bryant were cited by Excise Police for underage possession of alcohol.

Drinking by college students is hardly a firing squad offense. As has been reported by several people, including Glass, 245 citations were written for underage alcohol during Welcome Week at IU.

Bryant stays. First offense. Holt leaves. Second offense – at a time when it was the last thing the basketball program needed.

Holt, Mosquera-Perea and Davis have made it look as if Crean is weak on discipline and personal responsibility, even though that is far from true.

The coach lectures his guys about doing the right thing from the moment they arrive on campus. Glass has been in the Indiana locker room, reinforcing the message. I doubt Crean enjoys anything stronger than a triple shot of cappuccino.

If Crean erred here, it was impulse recruiting. Indiana signed Holt in August 2014 after a recruiting version of speed dating. It seemed as if Holt’s recruitment happened in minutes and not the usual months.

Apparently, both sides didn’t know enough about the other. Crean that Holt wouldn’t follow the rules. Holt that he needed to act more like Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller.

It was only last Halloween when Holt was driving the car involved in the accident that nearly killed Davis on 17th Street, the road that runs on the south side of Assembly Hall. Holt was cited for underage drinking, even though his blood alcohol content level was well below the legal limit for above-age drinkers.

You’d think the memory of seeing his teammate lying unconscious on the pavement with a traumatic brain injury would control Holt’s decision-making. Holt said that it would when he talked about the incident last fall. Holt also saw two other teammates booted from the program in May.

You would be wrong.

Now Emmitt Holt is an ex-Indiana basketball player – sorting through offers to fix his career at another program. Glass, Crean and the IU assistant coaches are left to clean up another mess.

Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.

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