Crean curious about Big Ten Player of the Week process

Indiana sits atop the national polls and the Big Ten standings – it’s currently tied with No. 4/5 Michigan State – and yet the Hoosiers have picked up just three Big Ten Player of the Week honors and one Big Ten Freshman of the Week laurel all season. That doesn’t seem to sit right with the head Hoosier, Tom Crean. And the coach vented his frustration during Monday’s weekly teleconference.

[ BigTen.org: View the full list of 2012-13 Big Ten weekly honors ]

On the call, before Crean addressed questions from the media, he shared a testy exchange with call moderator and assistant director of communications Dan Mihalik. Read the full exchange below:

Crean: “Dan, I have a question for you. Can you give me the criteria, so I can understand this once and for all, what the criteria is for the player of the week, what you’re judging that on?”

Mihalik: “I can give that to you off line.”

Crean: “Just give me this: Where does winning fit into it?”

Mihalik: “It’s part of the criteria.”

Crean: “Just part of the criteria? OK, that helps me. Thanks.”

With that out of the way, Crean fielded questions. But he wasn’t done with Mihalik. Here’s what he said to end the call: “Dan, when you send that to me, please put where winning is ranked when you guys do that, with your criteria, and I’ll look forward to reading that. OK, thanks. Bye.”

Crean also went to Twitter to clear the air after the teleconference:

For what’s it worth, Michigan’s Trey Burke (59%, 23.5 ppg, 4.5 apg in 1-1 week) and Michigan State’s Gary Harris (58%, 15.5 ppg, 2 spg in 2-0 week) won this week’s Big Ten Player of the Week and Big Ten Freshman of the Week, respectively.

[ RELATED: Indiana expects Victor Oladipo to play at Michigan State ]

Crean must be taking issue with this week’s selection because Burke’s team went 1-1, with the loss being of the blowout variety.

He’s right to wonder how much winning is taken into account, because in a league loaded with as many solid players as the Big Ten, there are several worthy candidates who go 2-0 every week, much less ones whose team didn’t suffer a 23-point loss. That said, this is the Player of the Week, an individual honor, not the Most Valuable Player, more of a team-oriented individual honor.

Regardless, Crean has a right to know the specifics – although he could have broached the topic in a better way. Like with a personal call to the conference office.

Who was it that Crean wanted honored, anyway? Probably either Will Sheehey (65%, 15.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1 spg) or Cody Zeller (52%, 17.5 ppg, 7 rpg, 1 spg, 1.5 bpg). The former also set an Indiana record with his 9-of-9 effort from the field in Saturday’s rout of Purdue.

h/t: Mark Snyder

About Brent Yarina BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina covers football and men’s basketball for BTN.com. He writes the popular uniform feature “Clothes Call,” which also focuses on the latest cosmetic changes across Big Ten arenas and stadiums. Read all of his work here. You can subscribe to Yarina’s RSS feed and follow him on Twitter @BTNBrentYarina.

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15 Comments

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Ben on 2/18/2013 @ 2:32pm EDT Said:

Crean has his priorities straight! He’s right to be angry. We need some civil disobendience over this. Never mind that MSU has won fewer POW honors despite it’s standing or that Indiana has 3 POWs to Wisconsin’s 1 shared honor. Indiana is getting shafted and I clap for Crean standing up for his team.

Dave on 2/18/2013 @ 4:09pm EDT Said:

Crean does enough clapping for everyone, Ben.

Mark on 2/18/2013 @ 4:12pm EDT Said:

Crean’s question and his belaboring it comes off as whining and posturing. A simple phone call would have been more appropriate than pushing it in the weekly call with the media.

Fred May on 2/18/2013 @ 5:23pm EDT Said:

I agree, Crean certainly has his priorities straight. As the coach, he has a right to stand up for his players and this weeks’ selection makes no sense given what happened to the team. Even though it is “player of the week” it is still a team sport.

Dave on 2/18/2013 @ 10:31pm EDT Said:

You’re right Fred:
“Individual awards to me mean absolutely nothing,” Ryan said. “That’s why I coach a team sport.”

That’s a little different approach than Crean, who is 3-13 in head-to-head meetings with Ryan, by the way.

ME on 2/19/2013 @ 8:21am EDT Said:

First you need to play for a team that doesn’t have a self-centered whiner for a coach.

Dick on 2/19/2013 @ 9:13am EDT Said:

In the “he could have handled it better” vein, Mr. Yarina could have discovered and published the criteria for the player of the week award himself. His failure to do so suggests that the B1G thinks the criteria for POW awards should remain secret.

    Brent Yarina, BTN.com on 2/19/2013 @ 9:39am EDT Said:

    No matter the criteria, I think Crean should have raised the question in a private phone call to the conference. Not sure what he accomplishes doing it in public. It makes him look a little whiny, if anything.

      Dick on 2/19/2013 @ 10:55am EDT Said:

      What do you mean “No matter the criteria”? The criteria were the whole point of Crean’s exchange (and of my message) … Seems pretty clear the key message is that B1G management don’t want to be questioned publicly by those who work at B1G schools. Message delivered. I’m sorry I treated you like a journalist in my previous message; I wasn’t thinking about who paid you or your role when I wrote it.

      Brent Yarina, BTN.com on 2/19/2013 @ 2:53pm EDT Said:

      No need to apologize. To be fair, what kind of criteria can there be? It’s Player of the Week, after all. My player of the week most weeks is probably different than yours, and yours is probably different than the next guy. You can’t really put a strict criteria on this kind of thing. It’s a case of who had the best individual week.

      Now, if we’re talking Most Valuable Player, there’s more of a need for criteria. That has more to do with team wins and losses.

Dale on 2/19/2013 @ 1:29pm EDT Said:

Crean looks very whiney really. WHy should winning be high on the list for an individual award anyway? Indiana has a great team but even when they blew out Purdue at Mackey Arena, the high scorer was a Purdue player, it just happened that the next 4 or 5 best performances came from the other team. I actually think winning should be very low on the criteria for an individual award. WHy punish an outstanding player for being on a poor team? That said, winning does help, if that player makes the difference between winning and losing.

Chris on 2/19/2013 @ 2:39pm EDT Said:

It is called PLAYER of the week Tom not Team of the Week. And you should not care who gets what award just as long as your team is winning.

Barry on 2/19/2013 @ 6:54pm EDT Said:

Crean may be 3-13 vs Bo Ryan, but he’s got a Final Four at the big boy level, something Bo Ryan can only dream of.

Barry on 2/19/2013 @ 6:56pm EDT Said:

Badger fans calling out Crean for being whiney….has anyone seen Bo Ryan whine about every foul ever called in the history of his program? Come on. Player of the Week is just that, a PLAYER’s award. An individual award. Who you play, how you play, do you win, etc should be part of it. If a kid puts in 20 points and 10 boards and leads his club to a 2-0 week against ranked teams is considered less worthy of a kid that scored 30 per game but goes 0-2, he has a beef.

Crean Baiter on 3/11/2013 @ 12:30pm EDT Said:

Zeller won it this week and the Buckeyes beat IU.