I know I already put together a quick list of potential replacements for Tom Crean as the next head basketball coach at Indiana earlier today, but this list is different. This is my wish list, the names I think Fred Glass should limit the search to unless they all say no.

I’m putting this list together because of the importance of this coaching hire. If Indiana gets the right guy, the Hoosiers can take back the Big Ten. Tom Izzo is in the latter part of his career, Bo Ryan is gone — Indiana can own this conference with the right man in charge.

The wrong decision would be a significant opportunity missed. So without further ado, here’s my wish list. Let me clarify: My realistic wish list.

1. Billy Donovan (Oklahoma City Thunder)

I have no idea if Donovan really wants to return to the college game like some suggest. But if he does — if he just doesn’t enjoy coaching Russell Westbrook — Indiana should open the checkbook and pay him whatever he wants. Remember: Donovan took the OKC job to coach Westbrook and Kevin Durant, and Durant obviously is no longer around.

Donovan won back-to-back National Championships at Florida in 2006 and 2007, and he’d do a great job at Indiana. He’s the total package — brilliant recruiter, great in-game coach, very good at adjusting his style to his personnel. Donovan would be my first call, and if he has even the slightest interest, I’d make him a lucrative offer.

2. Tony Bennett (Virginia)

Bennett is a coveted commodity again this offseason, and Glass would likely have to pay Bennett handsomely to get him to Bloomington. Illinois has already expressed serious interest in the current Virginia coach, reportedly so interested that they’re mulling an offer that would pay Bennett $4.8M per season.

I think Indiana has a stronger shot at Bennett than it does at Donovan, and I expect Bennett to listen when Glass calls. There’s the money aspect — Bennett is making $2.1M at Virginia and Indiana can pay much more — but it’s about even more than that. Because of conference realignment, the ACC is much more brutally competitive than it was a few years ago, and Bennett can only win with lesser talent so long against the likes of North Carolina, Duke, Louisville and others.

Bennett could own the Big Ten, and he’d be able to recruit to Indiana. The question would be: Would Bennett be willing to adjust his style to his personnel? If he got a host of McDonald’s All-Americans, would he be willing to play at a faster tempo? If not, I could see some kids not wanting to play his style based on defense and taking care of the ball. But if he would be willing to adjust to his current roster — which I think he would — Bennett would have great success in Bloomington.

3. Fred Hoiberg (Chicago Bulls)

Hoiberg’s transition to the NBA hasn’t been the smoothest with the Bulls this year, and many have speculated about his interest in returning to the college game. Hoiberg was the beloved Mayor at Iowa State, and would be an interesting candidate for the Indiana opening. Like Donovan, I have not clue if he truly is interested in leaving the NBA, but I think he could succeed at Indiana.

4. Archie Miller (Dayton)

Miller is the wild card in this search. He’s widely considered the best young coach in college basketball, and has certainly done a lot of good things at Dayton. My concern would be whether the Indiana job is too big or too much for him. But I do think Miller is a capable coach that would represent Indiana in the right manner.

NOTE: I have concerns about Steve Alford and Gregg Marshall, which is why they aren’t on my wish list.

  • B J Fears

    Justin I agree 100% with your list. Any of the 4 would be great at I. U. Alford has shown he’s a mediocre coach at best, his current U.C.L.A. team should be the best in the west, & they’re not!!! He would set Indiana basketball back 10 yrs. if he was the choice. I. U. definitely needs a coach that can recruit the state!!!

  • Good article. You u nailed it. Even in my pecking order too.

    I have disagreed with many of your articles in the past.

    But to see my list in exact order? Freaks me out. Hope you’re right.

  • RP Yo

    We should fire Fred Glass and his big ego 1st, then the new AD should go after Scott Drew. He can coach and recruit.

    Btw Tom Crean was very well respected and immensely valuable in bringing IU basketball back. He will be sorely missed.

  • Scott Nixon

    Do you recall where Donovan was the last time IU won a title? Hint: Think Pitino & Delray Brooks.

    • Wayne Peckat

      My school played against Delray Brooks in high school, whatever happened with a career for him?

  • Tod

    Fred Hoiberg is a nonstarter for me. He took questionable players at ISU and is not much of a recruiter. Also, he’s been totally exposed as a coach in the NBA. You should have put Sean Miller on your list instead of Hoiberg.

  • RP Yo

    Another quick comment. How does Michigan State and the state of Michigan recruit so well? When I was younger I visited a place called Dejavu…. a Strip bar in East Lansing (or somewhere very near).

    I was single and bored, and on business. This place was a MSU football recruiting tool. It wasn’t just a strip bar it was something out of a movie. It was huge and a ton of MSU recruits were there on the night of my visit. The state or local ordinance at the time allowed full nudity. Beautiful nude women entertaining probably 20-50 young football recruits.

    Now I’m thinking to myself, does this one attraction help persuade the decisions of young men? My bet is yes. Now can Indiana change law and utilize an establishment as such to enhance recruiting at old IU?

    Fred, your connected to the legislation. Make it happen!

    • Tophet

      Really! Why don’t we just see if Kelvin Sampson is available while we are at it? You have no clue what IU basketball is about.

      • I dont? Educate me, Tophet. What is IU basketball about?