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May 1, 2008
Indiana's Holman to transfer, coaches call police
INDIANAPOLIS — Freshman center Eli Holman threw another potential wrench into Indiana's rebuilding project Thursday, telling coaches he intended to transfer before apparently throwing a tantrum in their office that required a call to the campus police.
The meeting, which coach Tom Crean described as cordial initially, certainly did not end that way.
"His behavior took me, along with the other people in the office, by surprise," Crean said in a statement released by the university. "We saw him as a danger to himself and wanted to take precautionary measures to help him. We felt bad for Eli and, hopefully, were able to help him."
Capt. Jerry Minger of the Indiana University police department said police were called as more of a precaution and that no one felt threatened. Police did not arrest Holman, but took a statement from Crean and others who witnessed the outburst, Minger said.
"It was first reported that he threw a potted plant, and later the secretary said he knocked it off as he was leaving," Minger said.
Athletic director Rick Greenspan took Holman into his office for about an hour as officers waited outside, and Holman left calmly without speaking to police, Minger said.
Holman did not have a listed telephone number in Bloomington. The Associated Press sent an e-mail seeking comment to a school address listed in his name.
Losing the 6-foot-9 Holman would leave Indiana with only five returning players from last season's roster and further complicates the rebuilding project Crean inherited from the previous staff.
While Holman did not play a big role at Indiana last season, averaging 1.0 points and 1.7 rebounds in six games before injuring his left wrist and taking a medical redshirt, he likely would have been a contributor next season because of the depleted roster.
Crean said he was as surprised with Holman's decision as he was with the player's actions.
"He had a good meeting with our assistant coaches earlier in the day," Crean said. "I felt like he still was not sure whether or not he wanted to be here, which surprised me because everything we have seen from him had been very positive, in terms of staying at Indiana and moving forward. I have no idea what made him change his mind."
Crean already faced with possibly replacing five starters from last season, is without one scholarship because of the school's self-imposed sanctions in response to former coach Kelvin Sampson's phone scandal and now faces the possibility of being hit with academic sanctions from the NCAA next week.
The Indianapolis Star reported last month that the Hoosiers' team score on the NCAA's academic progress report is 899, well below the cutline of 925. Should the Hoosiers fall below the cutline and have players leave school while academically ineligible, they could be subjected to the loss of up to two more scholarships.
Last October a university investigation showed Sampson and his staff made more than 100 impermissible phone calls while still on probation for a similar phone-call scandal during his tenure at Oklahoma.
While Indiana officials contended Sampson's violations were secondary, the NCAA accused Sampson of five major infractions in February. On Feb. 22, Sampson accepted a $750,000 buyout.
Interim coach Dan Dakich replaced Sampson, then went 3-4 during the final month of the season.
Hours before Crean was hired as coach in April, Dakich kicked starting guards Armon Basset and Jamarcus Ellis off the team for missing an appointment and then failing to show up to run laps as part of their punishment.
Crean has not yet said whether he will reinstate them.
If Bassett and Ellis do not return, Crean will be replacing five starters from a team that went 25-8 and lost to Arkansas in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Big Ten freshman of the year Eric Gordon has declared he will enter the NBA draft and does not plan to withdraw, and starting forwards D.J. White, the Big Ten player of the year, and Lance Stemler have run out of eligibility.
Crean has four recruits signed for next season, including guard Nick Williams, who initially signed to play for him at Marquette.