That doesn’t mean there weren’t many stressful days – and nights. There most definitely were. To a man, The Managers say now they had no idea what being a manager for Crean’s program would be like before they started.
An example? Crean didn’t believe in hiring a full-time video coordinator when he first got to IU. All of the video duties fell on the shoulders of The Managers and graduate assistants.
“I don’t think the average person understands the time commitment and sacrifice most guys put in,” Yu said. “They see the perks of getting gear or being on the sidelines for games, but they don’t realize that every Saturday football game, when people were tailgating, we were at practice or setting up stuff for recruiting visits. Friday night, going out? Maybe every now and again, but you might have to be in the gym rebounding or in the film room cutting tape. Coach Crean liked to keep people on their toes so we never really had a set schedule.”
Added Weaver: “I had no idea what was in store. I certainly did not realize how big of a role IU basketball would play in my life during and after college. It was the camaraderie amongst us managers that kept me coming back after even the toughest days.”
‘My NBA Jobs Have Been A Piece Of Cake Compared To What I Did At IU’
Most of The Managers estimated they worked 60-80 hours per week on top of their course load, which sometimes reached as many as 18 credit hours. The Managers had to attend every practice whenever they didn’t conflict with class. Each one had a different responsibility relating to film and video breakdown, and then they were often asked to do various tasks for the program at any time, day or night.
Blair, for example, served as Victor Oladipo’s personal driver for much of his time at Indiana.
“He didn’t have a car on campus, so anytime he needed a ride to class or to Chipotle, I was the guy,” Blair says. “To this day we are still pretty close, and it’s always great to see him when he is in town or we’re in OKC.”
It was demanding, to be sure. But it’s for that very reason The Managers were so marketable in NBA circles when they completed their time at IU.
“My jobs in the NBA have been a piece of cake compared to what I did at IU,” Blair says. “If something was wrong or we screwed up, it was all on us and we got yelled at just like any player would. There was no margin for error. With as much film as coach Crean watched, all of our shit had to be tight and perfect every single time. If you proved time and time again that you weren’t able to perform at a high level, you were fired. It was that simple. Regardless of where you were, you were expected to perform at a high level at all times, and if you didn’t, you would be lit into like no other.
“It was that kind of high stress, high pressure environment that has allowed me to thrive in my current job and in my previous NBA internships.”
For several of The Managers, the lessons learned while working in Crean’s program extended well beyond the basketball court.
Weaver, for example, was interviewed by an NFL General Manager for an Operations job on staff, even though he had no prior experience working in football or professional sports.
“This GM basically said that he admired coach Crean and knew the expectations he has for everyone within his program, top to bottom, so he felt comfortable giving me an interview after working for five years under Crean,” Weaver says. “Coach Crean has always been known as one of the hardest working coaches in the game, and I felt that his work ethic impacted everyone else, trickling down even to us managers. The successful managers were able to feed off of Crean’s energy and grow in the business, while there were many, many, many others who never bought in and therefore didn’t last very long as a manager.”