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April 1, 2008

Dismissed Hoosier will wait on new coach

MORE: Crean headed to Indiana

Chipola (Fla.) Junior College coach Greg Heiar told Rivals.com early Tuesday that JaMarcus Ellis plans to remain at Indiana until his situation can be sorted out with the new coach.

Ellis, a 6-foot-5 guard who transferred after two seasons at Chipola to play for Kelvin Sampson and the Hoosiers, and guard Armon Bassett, another starter, were dismissed from the team Monday by interim coach Dan Dakich for missing a meeting last week and a subsequent punishment the next day.

"We talked (Monday night) and we told him to stay in school, concentrate on his academics and wait to see what happens," Heiar said. "He said, 'That's what I plan on doing, Coach,' and that's all he can do. It's nothing that we can control. Obviously, that's the current coach's decision."

Reports were swirling for most of the day Tuesday about whom Indiana would hire to replace Sampson, who was bought out of his contract Feb. 22. A university investigation found Sampson and his staff made more than 100 improper calls while still under recruiting restrictions and that Sampson participated in at least 10 three-way calls, another violation of the NCAA's punishment.

The Associated Press reported late Tuesday the Hoosiers were ready to hire Marquette coach Tom Crean after first approaching Washington State's Tony Bennett.

Crean is expected to be introduced as the new Hoosiers coach Wednesday.

"We didn't really talk about the hiring process," Heiar said. "We just talked about JaMarcus and his situation and want to make sure he stays in school and keeps doing well academically. He has no control and we don't either. We can't worry about it. He's got to live with it, and it will make him more of a man down the road."

Ellis, a junior, averaged 6.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and a team-leading 3.4 assists per game in his first season in Bloomington. Bassett, a sophomore, averaged 11.4 points and 3.3 assists.

Both had been suspended during the regular season for breaking team rules. Bassett missed three games, and Ellis sat out the regular-season finale against Penn State.

Freshman All-American Eric Gordon, who led the Hoosiers and the Big Ten in scoring (20.9 ppg), is scheduled to make an announcement regarding his plans next Monday.

IU's new coach could choose to bring back Ellis and Bassett. If Gordon turns pro, they would be the only returning starters the new coach would have available.

MORE: Crean headed to Indiana

Bob McClellan is the college basketball editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at bmcclellan@rivals.com.

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