ESPN's Jay Bilas says IU fanbase has 'cannibalized' the program in recent history
Indiana basketball is still looking to get back on track with the Hoosiers still looking for their first NCAA Tournament appearance since the 2015-16 season.
The Hoosiers recently let go of head coach Archie Miller while eating a large buyout in the process of doing so. However, the move is not terribly surprising considering Miller failed to reach March Madness during his tenure (even with the cancellation of the 2020 NCAA Tournament).
On Tuesday, ESPN’s Jay Bilas weighed in on the topic and shared his advice on which direction the Hoosiers to head in. Bilas believes the best candidate at this time for Indiana will be a former player of legendary head coach Bob Knight, though he is not a fan of how the fanbase has treated the last three head coaches of the Hoosiers. That includes Kelvin Sampson, Tom Crean, and now Miller.
According to Bilas, the IU faithful have “cannibalized” the program:
“Indiana fans are still stuck pining for Bob Knight and the Bob Knight way of doing things. So if that’s what you want, then hire a former (Knight) player. And quit with this back to the future stuff, and hire a former player that has candy stripe blood in his veins, and then get a forward-looking plan instead of pining for the way things used to be,” explained Bilas, “Because they’ve cannibalized their own program with the last three coaches they’ve had, and I think that’s been a mistake.
“I don’t care for the way that happened, but that’s what fanbases do. I just think the Indiana fanbase has not helped the program…I don’t think the results are particularly good and I think that’s a big part of it.”
Bilas went on to say that the next head coach needs to be one that can get everyone on board with a vision looking to the future as opposed to going back to the way things used to be:
“I think there needs to be an ‘Everybody on board’ feeling no matter who’s hired, but I would go with a former player that has a vision for the program that goes beyond just the let’s go back to the way things used to be,” said Bilas.
Jack Grossman shared Bilas’ comments that were made ESPN680 radio:
Sorry took a minute to export this into something to post on twitter but here is the full clip. Will say in Bilas’ defense the word “cannibalized” does come right before he first mentions the fanbase. However I interpret it as him blaming the fans for IU moving on from Sampson… pic.twitter.com/RkTsrwjzXV
— Jack Grossman (@JackGrossman97) March 16, 2021