Indiana men’s basketball coach Tom Crean had one more player than he had scholarships available for the 2013-2014 season.
Something had to give.
It turns out that something was Remy Abell’s future as a Hoosier. Despite calling his time in Bloomington the “best two years of his life,” he’ll have to continue his playing career elsewhere.
And he was just the team’s latest victim of a numbers crunch.
Matt Roth knew it was his time to move on when Crean told him he’d be more than happy to serve as a reference on Roth’s job applications.
Meanwhile Bawa Muniru was described by the Indianapolis Star as “a widely popular player amongst IU students and fans,” but he had to make way for the members of the highly touted recruiting class of 2011. (Crean was not shy about that being his decision. “As a staff, we think the best thing for Bawa is to go to a program where he can play,” he said at the time.)
That’s at least three players who have left since 2010, because there was no room at the inn.
Now, roster management is a tricky business. Guess wrong about when a player will turn pro, have a player flunk out or get in legal trouble, and you could end up in a lurch.
The unpredictable nature of it all has led the Big Ten to allow some leeway (an institution can oversign by one), but Crean’s power of prediction suggests his crystal ball is all too conveniently cloudy.
Rather than use the latitude the conference provides as a buffer against chance, Crean seems to be using it as a tool to stack his lineup by chasing less talented players out.
It suggests a ruthless math that treats college basketball players as numbers, and little else.