Crean troubled by how Holman's transfer to Detroit played out

Updated: May 10, 2008, 6:30 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Freshman center Eli Holman's final days at Indiana could be considered unforgettable: He threw a tantrum during a discussion in new coach Tom Crean's office that eventually necessitated a call to campus police.

The outburst was nothing compared to how troubling Crean found the circumstances surrounding Holman's decision to transfer to Detroit Mercy, where he would play for former Indiana assistant Ray McCallum.

[+] EnlargeEli Holman
AP Photo/Tom StricklandEli Holman transferred to Detroit Mercy to play for a former Indiana assistant coach.

Crean on Thursday characterized Holman hooking up with Detroit as "an orchestration," according to The Indianapolis Star.

"We were led to believe that this was a family decision and that he wanted to get closer to home," Crean said, according to The Star, "but now it doesn't look like that's the way it's going to turn out.

"I don't think there's any doubt that there was a certain amount of orchestrating going on. It's disappointing -- very disappointing -- on a lot of fronts."

Before the coach and player met May 1, Crean said Holman, a 6-foot-9 center who appeared in six games last season, spoke in positive terms about his future with Indiana.

But when they met, Crean said he was taken aback when Holman said he would be leaving the program in order to be closer to his family in Richmond, Calif. At some point, Holman became agitated and ended up knocking over a potted plant.

Crean told The Star he believed Holman had been "coached up" on what to say before meeting with him. Holman publicly apologized to Crean a day later, the same day the player's release was granted.

Crean has not divulged details of their conversation that day.

"I like Eli and I wish him well. I really do," he told The Star. "The short time we were with him I liked him, but I don't have a lot of respect for the way this has turned out.''

McCallum was on former Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson's staff. He was hired by Detroit Mercy shortly after Crean was hired by the Hoosiers. NCAA rules prohibit athletic department staff members from having any contact with an athlete from another school until that player is granted a release. Holman is not eligible to play for Detroit Mercy until the 2009-2010 season.

ESPN.com's attempt to reach McCallum on Friday was unsuccessful.

"I'm really happy that Eli made the decision to come to UDM," McCallum said in a statement released by his new school. "I think me having been at Indiana and recruiting him was a big reason why he went there and he had a great opportunity there. But when you're involved in a young man's life for two years, you obviously build a relationship that he cared about and respected and he wanted it to continue.

"I'm glad he's here with us."

Information from ESPN.com senior writer Andy Katz was included in this report.

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