Guest Columnist

Some thoughts from Josh (as posted in the comments of the previous post):

The success of IU, Purdue, Butler is greatly impacted by the number of core kids from the state. When I say core, I mean key contributors. In 1994, under pressure to win, coach Knight moved away from his recruiting philosophy of having a core of Indiana kids and went after and landed three McDonald’s All-Americans, with little or no Indiana ties, Neil Reed, Charlie Miller, and Andre Patterson. I was a freshmen with those guys and spent four years with them as an IU manager. The move didn’t work.

IU has never really returned to Coach Knight’s successful recruiting philosophy, (I’d like to see the 2002 roster, but wasn’t the core Indiana/Midwest?) and has continued to look elsewhere for talent, going after the big names and not landing them and settling for decent talent from other states. Davis did it, Sampson was doing it. During these coaching changes, we’ve also seen three different styles or systems of basketball.

In the meantime, Purdue went through an orchestrated coaching change that passed the system and recruiting philosophy from Keady to Painter. There were some rough years for Purdue, but now they seem to have the ship righted and have a core of Indiana kids.

While IU was ignoring Indiana talent, Butler was reaping the benefits. The establishment of a system and the available Indiana players that fit the system well has seen them through some great years of basketball and three head coaches.

I tried to do some archiving and look at the rosters from all 3 of these schools for the last 20 years but I couldn’t‘ dig anything up on the internet beyond the last few. I would love to look at that information and see what story it tells. I believe there is a formula for success there, and that Indiana has moved away from it.

Indiana doesn’t need a big name magician of a basketball coach. I’m not sure if one would want to come here anyway. It just needs someone who has a developed system of success (Butler, Wisconsin, even the Colts operate by this philosophy) and knows how to assemble a core of Indiana/Midwest kids that fit the system. Even when IU was winning this year, it wasn’t as enjoyable to watch as Butler and Purdue were (and currently are, since they are both still playing.)

Let me know if you are able to dig up any of this information and what story it tells.

DZ comments: It’s surprising how long that info takes to find online. A trip to the library would probably yield faster results. I’ve found that a lot of info before 1999 gets sketchy in most sports. On the surface, your theory sounds probable. I think most of IUs problems have been caused by the pro-Knight faction that insisted on burying Mike Davis. For some reason, he was frozen out by the HS coaches in Indiana that had been loyal to Knight. The knock on him wasn’t that he didn’t try to recruit in state, but that he couldn’t LAND any of the recruits in state. As for the ’02 roster, the key players were Jeffries (Bloomington), Coverdale (Noblesville), Fife (Michigan). I believe they were the only real midwestern guys on the roster. A couple were from Georgia, and Newton was from NC. The bottom line is if three guys (Sean May, Greg Oden, Mike Conley) had gone to Indiana, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. It’s going to take a guy who can land the top Hoosier stars without cheating.

If you come up with any more research let us know; I count your opinion highly on Hoosier bball.

The real question is should we be rooting for the Boilers today? I’m having a hard time with it. It would help the Big 10, but… I’ll just content myself to root for the Bulldogs tomorrow.

I’ll let you all guess what Demond’s answer to this question is. I doubt it would be printable.

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