Criticism of Indiana head basketball coach Tom Crean of late has had more to do with off-the-court issues than the Hoosiers' recent results on the court.
Legal issues keep cropping up for Indiana players, the most recent coming earlier this week, when Emmitt Holt and Thomas Bryant were cited for underage possession of alcohol.
It's the latest in a string of incidents dating back to spring of 2014, when Hanner Mosquera-Perea was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Later in 2014, Yogi Ferrell and Stanford Robinson were cited for minor consumption and possession of false identification. Last fall, Holt, who had been drinking, was driving a car that struck and severely injured teammate Devin Davis. Holt was suspended four games, and Robinson and Troy Williams were also suspended four games for failing drug tests. Earlier this year, Perea and Davis were dismissed from the team after an incident involving marijuana.
With the punishments for the latest incident involving Holt and Bryant yet to be handed down, Crean addressed reporters at an event Thursday in Indianapolis, taking responsibility for his team's behavior but also lamenting the lack of leadership among his players.
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“We’ve got to get everybody to understand — it doesn’t matter who it is, it doesn’t matter this situation, the entire team — we’ve got to get a team of guys to understand (that) ultimately they are playing ‘for' Indiana and not ‘at’ Indiana," Crean said. A video of his comments was published by the Indianapolis Star. "There’s a lot that goes into the basketball responsibility, the academic responsibility, the social responsibility. And really where we sit right now, as much as anything else, is a leadership responsibility they’ve got to have with one another. I’d love to sugarcoat it for you — and I’m responsible for this, ultimately I’m responsible — but our internal team leadership has been less than poor for the last two years.
"When situations like this happen, much like any other time, it might be isolated to a couple people when it comes to what happens, but it’s a team-wide thing when it comes to understanding where you’re at. And we’ve struggled with that, we’ve struggled with that for the last couple years."
As these incidents continue to occur with great frequency, the external criticism of Crean increases as well.
Despite delivering 20-win campaigns in three of the past four seasons, Crean has yet to get the Hoosiers past the Sweet Sixteen in his seven seasons at the helm of Indiana, just three have which have featured NCAA tournament appearances.
Combine the off-the-court stuff with the on-the-court stuff, and Crean's supporters are increasingly difficult to count.