When Remy Abell announced he was transferring from Indiana on Friday, he cited that he wanted to go somewhere else to get more playing time. In a university press release, Tom Crean stated, “He indicated to us that he would like to look to go to a program that has a different style of play and one where he can get more playing time.”
Now, it is very possible that Abell decided to transfer purely on his own desire for a better opportunity. But the question has to be asked: did Crean push Abell out?
Indiana was in a bind, where they had fourteen players for next year but just thirteen scholarships. Even after Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo left early for the NBA Draft and three seniors graduated, the six incoming freshmen were going to push the scholarship count over the limit. This was thanks to Crean’s habit of over-signing players, a tactic seen by John Calipari and with many SEC football teams. Crean actually had himself in the same situation last year and ended up pulling a scholarship from fifth year senior Matt Roth in August.
Crean is trying to push Indiana basketball to the top stratospheres of college basketball. To do that, he must replenish the roster with top talent. The problem is, there’s only so much space. Sometimes, you have to kick out the old mutt, to make room for the new puppy. Many argue that this over-signing tactic is unethical. Few would dispute that at the very least, it is unsavory.
Again, I am not saying that Crean cut Abell from a scholarship, forcing the sophomore to transfer. But at the very least, the writing was on the wall for Abell. That writing was that there are only so many spots and Crean is bringing in freshmen to take those spots. Abell would very likely have been the odd man out, but we will never know now, as he is transferring on his own for more playing time.
Over-signing has become a pattern for Crean, but is it a necessary evil?