Bassett, Ellis, Thomas, Holman all leaving Hoosier program
New Indiana coach Tom Crean is down to three returning scholarship players and eight players in all for next season after the university announced the departures of four Hoosiers on Friday.
Sophomore Armon Bassett and junior Jamarcus Ellis, who had appealed their suspensions by former interim coach Dan Dakich, were dismissed from the program. Junior forward DeAndre Thomas will also not return and neither will freshman Eli Holman, who has elected to transfer after a meeting Thursday that required a call to campus police when Holman became agitated.
The Hoosiers finished 25-7 (14-4 in the Big Ten) and lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament to Arkansas under Dakich. He replaced Kelvin Sampson after Sampson resigned in late February, a week after receiving a notice of allegations from the NCAA.Sampson reportedly will join the staff of Milwaukee Bucks coach Scott Skiles for next season.
That leaves the Hoosiers with three returning players: rising sophomores Jordan Crawford, Brandon McGee and rising senior Kyle Taber. The Hoosiers will add five newcomers -- freshmen Nick Williams (a one-time Marquette signee), Tom Pritchard, Matt Roth and JC transfer Devon Dumes -- as well as recruited walk-on Daniel Moore of Carmel, Ind.
Bassett and Ellis appealed their suspensions and, after Crean spent time with the pair, there was still not enough support to reinstate them. Thomas was deemed not a good fit.
"Before you build a team, you need to develop a family," Crean said in a statement Friday. "We will go through the learning process, feel some growing pains and experience some bumps in the road along the way. We need the Hoosier Nation to rally around this program as we go through these stages."
Meanwhile, Holman's outburst Thursday upon telling Crean that he was leaving is considered closed. According to an Indiana source, Holman became agitated once Crean told Holman of the process for transferring. The source said Holman was yelling and stormed out of Crean's office. He picked up a plant on a nearby desk and tossed it.
Because he was yelling and angered, campus police were called. Statements were taken but no charges were filed. The incident will be sent to the Dean of Students and could hamper Holman's attempts to transfer.
"Last night and this morning I had the opportunity to apologize to Coach Crean and today I would like to extend that to everyone involved in the program for allowing my frustrations to get the best of me," Holman said in a statement issued by the university Friday. "I appreciate everything Indiana University and coach Crean have done for me and I hope nothing but the best for the program in the future."
The Hoosiers will lose five of their top six scorers from last season, with Crawford the top returning scorer at 9.7 points per game. Taber, McGee and Pritchard will be the only forwards unless more players are added in the coming weeks. The spring signing period is ongoing.
"Our staff is going to ensure that anyone who attends this University and wears the Indiana uniform will make this privilege among their highest priorities and not treat the opportunity as an entitlement,'' Crean said. "We fully expect our student-athletes to accept the responsibilities academically, athletically and socially that come with representing one of the top programs in college basketball history."
Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.