|TOM CREAN Trustee confirms hiring|
Indiana University will hire Marquette's Tom Crean as its basketball coach and is expected to introduce him at a news conference today.
University trustee Philip Eskew confirmed the hiring. Eskew said Crean signed a letter of intent with the university and was meeting with his team last night.
The hiring comes near the end of a tumultuous six-week period in which former Hooisers coach Kelvin Sampson resigned amid an NCAA scandal, interim coach Dan Dakich replaced him and then lost four of seven games.
Earlier in the day, it was announced that guards Armon Bassett and Jamarcus Ellis were dismissed from the team. The players missed an appointment, then didn't show up to run laps as punishment, a spokesman said.
Each player was suspended during the season for violating team rules. Bassett missed three games and Ellis sat out the regular-season finale.
Also, Bob Menke, who played on Indiana's 1940 NCAA title team and later was elected to the state legislature, died Sunday in Huntingburg, Ind., after suffering from dementia. He was 88.
Sean Sutton resignsOklahoma State coach Sean Sutton resigned under pressure following a 17-16 season. Athletic director Mike Holder met with Sutton Monday to discuss the state of the program. The move comes almost two weeks after Sutton completed his second season. Sutton served as an assistant under his father, Eddie Sutton, before taking the top job. His status has been a subject of speculation for much of the second half of the season, beginning when the Cowboys lost six in a row. "I think Sean was probably a victim of expectations," Holder said. "It's hard enough to follow a legend. But when that legend is your father, that's probably tough to the third power. Perhaps, in a different set of circumstances, he would have enjoyed more success." . . . Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl issued a statement saying the only job he's interested in talking about is the Vols' . . . South Carolina introduced Darrin Horn, who had been head man at Western Kentucky, as its coach, and he vowed the Gamecocks would win Southeastern Conference championships . . . Kent State assistant Geno Ford is expected to take over that program, replacing Jim Christian, who resigned . . . Arizona's Lute Olson said at a news conference he had his players' interests in mind when he took a personal leave of absence last season. "The reason that I took the leave was that I didn't feel that I could be fair to the kids," Olson, 73, said. "And despite what maybe some of you think, the main thing that I have, in my 50 or 51 years [in coaching], has been the concern of the kids." Beyond that, a combative Olson declined to discuss the reasons behind his leave.
Thomas a leaderQuentin Thomas was an overwhelmed freshman who watched from the bench as North Carolina won the national title in 2005. Stuck behind soon-to-be NBA point guard Raymond Felton, Thomas played just one minute in the final.
In the two years that followed, Thomas battled foot injuries while younger players such as Bobby Frasor and Ty Lawson passed him on the depth chart in what was becoming a career full of frustration.
Yet things have changed dramatically in the past month. The senior kept the fast-moving offense running after Lawson and Frasor were out with injuries. He also has been a part of more wins than any player in program history and is the only one left from the '05 title run, experience that could prove invaluable at this weekend's Final Four.
"There's no comparison," Thomas said of his confidence from 2005 to now. "I've been through everything. To be a part of a national championship team was just like, 'Wow.' But now, to be able to go back and go through the heartaches and pains and all the good times and have already been to a national championship, that's a great feeling. And my confidence is sky high right now."
While it would have been hard to believe weeks ago, Thomas's play has been one of the biggest reasons why the Tar Heels (36-2) have won 15 straight games to earn a matchup with Kansas. The other semifinal is Memphis vs. UCLA.
Lawson has returned to the starting lineup, but Thomas has continued to produce off the bench. It allowed coach Roy Williams to spell Lawson against Louisville's fullcourt pressure in the regional final.