The Indianapolis Star’s Bob Kravitz wanted to “be roused out of my cynical stupor” at yesterday’s press conference introducing Kelvin Sampson as the new Indiana head coach, but no dice.
I honestly, truly, desperately wanted to come to this news conference — which inauspiciously started 20 minutes late — and be convinced that all my initial impressions of this puzzling and unexpected hire were wrong.
Can I be honest here?
I was underwhelmed. This wasn’t a pep rally to incite and unite the Hoosier Nation. This was a confessional. IU’s administration spent more time in a defensive posture than any of Mike Davis’ recent teams.
Even the smattering of students who showed up at Assembly Hall — hey, shouldn’t you clowns be in class? — had to be roused to action by athletic director Rick Greenspan, who awkwardly implored the crowd to “give (Sampson) a big cheer.”
For a week, Greenspan’s office had been contacting former IU players, Isiah Thomas included, asking if they’d come to Bloomington and show support for a new coach. Well, roughly 10 former players showed up, the most notable being Brian Evans and Greg Graham. There was no Thomas, no Kent Benson, none of the luminaries from the Hoosiers’ glory days.
Perhaps the most notable absence, though, was Robert Vaden, who continues to insist he will leave IU and follow Mike Davis wherever he goes. The rest of the team was there — a bored D.J. White looked like he’d rather be in geology class — but Vaden made the loudest statement by saying nothing.