BOZICH | Crean talks Louisville, Kentucky, Bryant, Pearl Harbor - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Crean talks Louisville, Kentucky, Bryant, Pearl Harbor

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IU players (from left) Juwan Morgan, Thomas Bryant and Josh Newkirk joined Tom Crean at Huber's Wednesday night. IU players (from left) Juwan Morgan, Thomas Bryant and Josh Newkirk joined Tom Crean at Huber's Wednesday night.

STARLIGHT, Ind. (WDRB) – Tom Crean returned to Indiana from Los Angeles Tuesday night.

Attended a Dodgers’ game, sitting in the same row with the actor Judd Nelson. Said he was instructed by law enforcement that talking on a cell phone while driving in California was a no-no. Was reminded that the traffic can be beyond outrageous.

Helped his daughter, Megan, settle in for her summer internship.

Anything else?

Crean said he also watched video of Louisville’s 2013 NCAA championship game victory against Michigan.

Speaking to more than 600 people during an Indiana University Alumni Club gathering at Huber’s Winery Wednesday night, Crean said it was already time to start thinking about the Hoosiers’ game with Louisville, which is booked for Banker’s Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on New Year’s Eve.

“Every time we’ve played them in my history as a coach (usually at Marquette), we’ve learned a lot about our team,” Crean said. “But even at Indiana when we played them a couple of years ago, we learned a lot.

“The thing that separates them, it’s not just how relentless some of them are, it’s how relentless all of them are, especially their guards.

“And one of the things that will be such a battle-cry for us throughout the fall, the summer and fall, going into (this) season, is the relentless spirit that your backcourt has got to have. Not only your frontcourt, but your backcourt has got to have to be able to deal with that.

“When they bring that pressure, it’s at a high, high level.

“I was just watching Michigan-Louisville (Tuesday) from the national championship game. And they were down in the first half right? They go on the run late in the first half right, after Spike (Albrecht, then a Michigan guard) had cooled off, right?

“All of a sudden that fatigue that they had put in place inside the first half of that game, came back and really helped them in the second half. To me, that’s the whole difference. I think it’s great but the great fact is they’re such a good team.”

The December game will be the first of three that the Hoosiers and Cardinals will play. They’ll meet at the KFC Yum! Center during the 2017-18 season and then at Assembly Hall in Bloomington during the following season.

“I think it’s great,” Crean said.

“There’s very little wiggle room on our (non-conference) schedule with the Gavitt Cup (a matchup of Big Ten and Big East teams), with the Crossroads Classic (IU plays Butler next season), with the Big Ten-ACC Challenge, to put together a series. But this was one that made sense for both places. I think it will be excellent.

“It will be a great, great test for both of us going into our league play.

“Hopefully it will be one of those games that’s sold out early at Bankers’ Life. It’s a great date, right?”

Crean said there was no change in the status of the dissolved Indiana-Kentucky series, which ended in December 2011. But he said he was agreeable to playing the Wildcats again.

“I don’t think that door is closed,” Crean said. “That door is always going to remain open on our end.”

Crean drew extended laughs when he noted that for the second consecutive season Indiana will play November basketball in Hawaii. IU opens its season against Kansas at Pearl Harbor.

“We want to play better at Pearl Harbor than we played at Maui,” Crean said. Indiana lost two of three games in the Maui Invitational, finishing sixth before rallying to win the Big Ten regular season title by two games.

He also brought three players – center Thomas Bryant, forward Juwan Morgan and Pittsburgh transfer Josh Newkirk – to Huber’s. Those three have already reported to Cook Hall, nearly a week before IU veterans were asked to return.

Morgan is still mending from surgery on his left shoulder, which Crean said has popped out of place about 15 times over the last three years. Morgan returned to the gym less than a week after surgery, but he was not certain when he would be cleared for contact basketball.

Bryant said that he never seriously considered attending the NBA Draft combine in Chicago last month because he enjoys playing at Indiana and understands that he must improve his skills.

“He wants to have a long career,” Crean said. “Enjoy him while he’s here.”

IU athletic director Fred Glass said the dedication of the renovated Assembly Hall will likely be Oct. 14.

“Assembly Hall was already the best building in college basketball,” Crean said. “Now there won’t even be a close second.”

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