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November 7, 2012

Crean 'shocked' at length of suspensions

Indiana coach Tom Crean this afternoon said IU was "shocked" at the nine-game suspensions for freshmen Hanner Perea and Peter Jurkin.

Crean said the length was stunning because there was no precedent that anyone brought to IU's attention that suggested this was even a possible outcome.

Indiana will appeal, Crean said, but he added that having seen the outcome of recent appeals, "I don't know what makes any sense."

After the NCAA declared A-HOPE founder Mark Adams an IU booster due to $185 worth of alumni association contributions Adams' ex-wife made from 1986-92, Perea and Jurkin have to sit out the first nine games of the season.

"We were shocked at that," Crean said today on the Dan Dakich radio show on 1070 The Fan in Indianapolis. "There's no way around that. That hadn't followed any precedent that we'd ever seen, that had been read about or reported or even listed in any documentation."

Crean said it's been difficult attempting to explain the situation to Perea and Jurkin.

"We've really haven't done a very good job of it because, what do you tell them?" Crean said. "You tell them where it's at. You tell them what they found. We did let them read all the different reports, but again, it's hard to really follow it. You have to really dive into it.

"They've done nothing wrong, and we tell them don't look at it that way. They've done everything they could do since being in this country to handle it the right way, to be eligible, the academics, all those things. It's hard.

"It's a painful experience for anybody involved when you can't give people concrete answers were things are."

Adams also coached Perea and Jurkin in the Indiana Elite AAU program.

Dakich asked Crean: Did Mark Adams do anything wrong?

"Not that I can see," Crean said. "Perception doesn't have anything to do anything. The reality of this is, it's all laid out there. Mark, I like the guy. I like him a lot. I like his son. I like his family. I went to his father's funeral. ... I think he's good at what he does. It's one of those things that's hard to explain. Again, what you have with Mark is, everything that was asked and them some was put out there.

"I've been interested in reading some of the comments Mark has had because I'm hearing a few things I didn't even realize. It's a tough, tough situation for those kids because he does a lot of good for a lot of people."

Adams told Peegs.com that, without the NCAA asking, he turned over A-HOPE bank records to the NCAA because "I have nothing to hide."

Dating to its creation in 2003, A-HOPE has had 22 athletes come through the non-profit foundation. Prior to the 2012 class, one enrolled at Indiana, Tijan Jobe in 2003. Other players went to Michigan State, UCLA, New Orleans, Hartford, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, UNLV, Western Michigan, Tennessee and Delaware State, among others.

According to the bank statements turned over to the NCAA, A-HOPE has provided similar financial assistance and support to all those players that it did for Perea and Jurkin. None of the other players were deemed ineligible by the NCAA.

Adams told Peegs.com he asked the NCAA in a tape-recorded conversation for specific direction on what was allowed and what wasn't and the NCAA said it didn't have any answers on that.

"The bottom line is, when you look at the track record and you see the people they've come in contact with over a long period of time, it's a lot of young men. A lot of young men have come over to this country and been able to go to college and do a lot of good things in their life," Crean said.

"Even a situation like Emmanuel Negedu who we tried to recruit when we got here. If Mark was a booster, I sure wish that would have worked out for us then because we had 28 points coming back. … The bottom line is, I think he's been outstanding and I don't think there's anything that can prove differently.

"I'm certainly aware from reading all those reports, there were a lot of ways to prove it could have been done (wrong) and it wasn't."

Negedu signed with Arizona. After Luke Olson retired, he went to Tennessee.

Crean said he didn't believe IU has done anything wrong in the situation. The 13-page NCAA report did not accuse IU of any wrongdoing in the recruitment of Perea or Jurkin.

"This administration with Fred Glass and everybody and people in compliance now have really tried to do the right thing, without a doubt," Crean said.

Indiana will appeal the length of the suspensions and noted he was aware Dez Wells, who was expelled from Xavier by the school's conduct board, successfully appealed and was declared immediately eligible at Maryland.

"They're two entirely different situations, but I don't know what's different. I don't know what matters. I don't know what makes sense," Crean said. "All I know is we've got two young men that have no understanding of why. No one has come in and given a valid answer as to why they deserve it."

Dakich noted that while two freshmen sitting out nine games may not hurt the preseason No. 1-ranked team, it's not easy on the two players as people.

"It would be so different if it made any sense," Crean said. "It would be different if there was something you could point to and say, this happened here and this happened there ... There's really nothing that you can look at and say, this kind of fits the bill and this seems to be the way it's going.

"They've got a great group of teammates around them. The new kids have come in here and have endeared themselves to the upperclassmen. They are so well-liked. There's humbleness to them. There's a genuine respect not only for the people they meet, but for their teammates in respecting what they've gone through. The worst thing that could happen is if any of these kids walked in here and felt their way was the right way and they didn't respect what Christian Watford, Jordan Hulls Derek Elston, Maurice Creek, Will (Sheehey) and Vic (Oladipo) and those guys had to endure to try to get the program back. It's been the exact opposite.

"Hanner and Peter, as young men, they take a backseat to nobody in that, you'd be hard pressed to find somebody in here that doesn't want to see them succeed because of the way they treat others and the way they carry themselves. And it didn't start when they got here. It's been that way. We noticed that stuff during the recruiting process without a doubt … It's tough for them because they haven't done anything to deserve this. At the same time, they're around people that are really trying to help.

"I had another guy, one of the veterans, in here a little bit ago and he asked me. I don't have an answer for him either. It's not like we don't have an answer for the players involved and we can go tell the veterans something else. It's tough."

Perea, a 6-foot-8 forward, and Jurkin, a 7-foot center, will be reserves on this season's team. They've been in an unwanted spotlight since an ESPN story in May of 2011 accused A-HOPE of being an IU pipeline

"The thing it really comes back to, Dan, and you know this. You have kids. I have kids. But when you're coaching, these are your kids. It's the way it is. They might not have your last name, and they might not have been born and raised with you, but when you're coaching them, there's a heck of a responsibility to them.

"These two right now, Peter and Hanner, have been model citizens in everything, whether it's academics, work ethic, how they treat people, everything. All the way, they've had to deal with this. They've had to deal with all the questions and different innuendos and different hypotheticals. It's not like it just kind of snuck up. They've had to handle it all, and they've handled it very forthright.

"When you can't tell them why this is happening because you don't know yourself when it comes to any type of thing you can look back at and say, 'Hey, yeah, this happened here' or 'This happened there and this is why this is happening to us.'
"We don't have that. If we did, it would be a lot easier. We don't have anything like that. That's what is so bothersome."

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