If you were watching the end of the Indiana/Northwestern game on Wednesday night (and God help you if you’re not an alum of either school and were still watching), you may have been wondering who that 5’9″ tiny white guy on the floor was. You might also be wondering why that J.V. high schooler was wearing an Indiana jersey. Well, turns out Indiana coach Tom Crean told team manager Michael Santa that the kid would be suiting up for the Hoosiers’ game against Northwestern, and he made good on that promise.
“I never dreamed that would be possible, and when he told me that, I didn’t know what to think, to be honest,” Santa said. “He pulled me off to the side after practice and told me to get a jersey on, and get ready to suit up and keep playing hard like I had been in practice.”
“Our managers come out here and work and we hold them to a pretty high standard,” Crean said. “They come in here and they make it more competitive for our guys. I didn’t (put him on the team) as a reward. I didn’t do it as an end-of-the-season deal.”
Inside the Hall says watching a team manager suit up while Indiana lost to Northwestern for the first time ever at Assembly Hall was a sign of the ugliest times ever at IU. It’s hard to disagree, but I’ll add some positive spin to the story. For the second time in weeks, I find myself complimenting Tom Crean for his actions. He treats people fairly, disciplines evenly, and looks to reward hard workers. I’ve always wondered what my answer to the question “If you were recruited by every team in the country, for which coach would you choose to play?” and now I know it. My choice would be Tom Crean. I appreciate coaches like him who do things the right way, and who also know the game pretty darn well, too.Google+