Calbert Cheaney to join Indiana staff
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Calbert Cheaney is returning to Indiana to relearn the college game.
The Big Ten's career scoring leader was hired Saturday by coach Tom Crean as the Hoosiers' new director of basketball operations. Crean made the announcement during his father/son basketball camp, ending several days of speculation that one of the best players in school history would be back on campus.
"Calbert knows the standard that it takes to be successful academically as a high-level student athlete, and he knows what is expected to play at the NBA level," Crean said in a statement. "He is excited to learn the business of college basketball."
Cheaney replaces Drew Adams, who was hired for the same position by New Mexico coach Steve Alford -- also a former Indiana star.
For Crean, it's another opportunity to reach into the Hoosiers' rich past. The Indiana coach has spent three seasons trying to heal the wounds left by the firing of Bob Knight and later by Kelvin Sampson's NCAA recruiting infractions.
The fallout from the NCAA case gutted the roster and forced Crean to start his tenure with only two returning players -- both walk-ons. Crean still has not posted a winning record in three seasons.
But he and others have been trying to fix the tattered program. Photos of Knight now hang in Assembly Hall and the coach who won three national championships and more than 600 games in Bloomington has been inducted into the school's hall of fame.
Crean also has reached out to Knight's former players in an attempt to make them a bigger part of the program. Hiring Cheaney is the latest move.
"My family and I believe that this was the right time to begin a career in college basketball and I am especially looking forward to playing a role in the growth of the players at Indiana," Cheaney said. "I'm very grateful to Coach Crean for this opportunity to return to IU and I look forward to contributing immediately in any way possible."
Cheaney finished his college career with 2,613 points -- still the Big Ten record -- and was named the league and national player of the year in 1993. In four seasons, Cheaney led the Hoosiers to a 105-27 record and the 1992 Final Four and made the All-America team three times. The Evansville, Ind., native averaged 22.4 points and 6.2 rebounds as a senior.
He was taken with the No. 6 overall pick in the '93 NBA draft and played the next 13 seasons with five different teams: Washington, Boston, Denver, Utah and Golden State. He averaged 9.5 points and 3.2 rebounds in 825 career games. His best season came in 1994-95 when he averaged a career-high 16.6 points with Washington.
In 2009-10, Cheaney became a special assistant with the Warriors, and last year he was promoted to assistant coach on the staff of yet another former Hoosiers star, Keith Smart.
Crean is eager to get him back on campus.
"Calbert will have an impact on our program in a major way," Crean said. "He wants to get into coaching full time and he knows the path it takes, the work ethic and the sacrifice. Every kid who plays college basketball at this level aspires to achieve what Calbert did on and off the court, both collegiately and as a professional. Having him here as a mentor on a day-to-day basis will be invaluable to our players."
Cheaney also set a school record for field goals made with 1,018 and built the Greater St. James Community Recreation and Education Center in his hometown in 1998.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press