Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Small Spark Has Bigger Implications Internally

I'm an Indiana University basketball fan. (I also happen to love Butler and DePauw Basketball, but I will stick to IU for this post) I have been since I grew up watching the motion offense and man-to-man defense that was taught by Coach Bob Knight. I loved it. I loved watching Coach Knight's teams play.

Zooooommm.Fast forward to this year.

The Hoosiers haven't had the season that a lot of people think they should be having (or should have had). This post is not about my feelings toward the team, or more specifically, the Hoosiers' coach: Tom Crean.

There is a lot of chatter on social media regarding the lack of the ability to get into the NCAA tournament this year, the very subpar record during the conference season, the weak non-conference schedule, the lack of advancing beyond the first game of the B1G Tournament, (That's Big Ten Tournament for you non-sports fans.) the offense, or lack of it, the inability to take care of the basketball, the youth of the team, the leaving of a player before the conference season began, and the list goes on and on.

I think it's safe to say that there are a lot of detractors out there. A lot of it comes from being in the state of Indiana where there the fans have a huge basketball IQ. It also has to do that Indiana is probably a top 5, and most definitely top 10, basketball school in the country and is always going to be under a lot of scrutiny by fans if there are not wins and banners being hung. (Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, UCLA, Kentucky, Louisville, UConn, Syracuse, Michigan State being my top 10, in no particular order.)

With all the notoriety that Indiana receives, there is a significant amount directed toward the coach. The firestorm on social media from fans is centered around firing Tom Crean. I have seen the momentum on firing gain towards the end of the season. It was at it utmost high following the loss to Illinois in the conference tournament "play-in" games, as I call them.

The perspective I want to look at today is the players.' As all this chatter surrounds the program, how would you like to practice, or play a game, with all of it going on around you? I can't imagine being a player and having all this negativity surround the coach that you're supposed to be playing for. I know the old adage about not reading the press clippings and all of that. I also think today's informational world makes it really difficult to block all of that out and just focus on playing basketball. I wish all the chatter about firing coaches would just wait until the season is over. I can't imagine the pressure that the players are under to start off with, but to have your leader criticized publicly by a throng of fans and media personalities makes for an uncomfortable environment. I think the negativity would make the situation worse because the players would be hearing two different stories. The good. The bad. The first one would be to listen to your coach, to do what he asks, and to sacrifice for the team. The other side is all the "arm-chair point guards" who think they know what should happen to the program and who should coach the Hoosiers. These people have no clue to the inside workings of the organization/school and because they have a "voice" on social media think they have the right to share their opinion. Do these people who speak on social media understand the harm that negative thinking can do to a team? Do they see the implications of negative thinking that inherently damage the togetherness of the team while in the middle of their season? You know, that same team that they want to do well? The one they support game in, game out?

I think that the correct time to address any coaching changes, unless there is a situation that warrants firing midseason, is after the season is over. Changing leadership mid-season doesn't do anything positive for the coaches, players, program, school, parents of the players, or in my thinking, the fans, either. New leadership needs to be addressed after the season has came to an end. Their needs to be an assessment done by those people who are close to the program. Not Arm-Chair Joes. One thing I have particularly not liked is during the college football season when there is a firing between the end of the season and bowl season. Honestly, I think that is the most ridiculous thing a program can do. Think of the leadership implications that are involved to the minds of young men. If you do, you'll be thinking an awful long time.

I'm thankful that growing up my parents didn't ever let me quit something in the middle of it. They made me push through, press on, and give my all until something was over. Then, when something was finished, they would let me stop doing it if I didn't want to continue doing it the next season. They wouldn't let me quit in the middle of the season. If you sign up to do something, you commit to the entire thing until that thing is over.
Edit - See quitting a college here -
So fans, please commit to the coach until the season is over. The implications of not doing this brings more harm upon your team than you think. That harm is internal and the worst kind of harm because you don't want a team to crumble from the inside because they you get selfish attitudes and everyone knows how selfish attitudes ruin teams.


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