Indiana University Tom Crean spoke highly of the Hope College men's basketball program and its tradition following the Hoosiers' 95-68 win over the Flying Dutchmen on Tuesday night in Bloomington, Indiana.
One of the nation's top basketball coaches gained respect for Hope College and former Flying Dutchmen head coach Glenn Van Wieren when he began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Alma College.
A native of Mount Pleasant, Crean worked with the Scots before graduating from Central Michigan University in 1989.
"First and foremost, I thought the game with Hope would be very good because it's an outstanding program.
And when I got my start in Division III at Alma College at the age of 20, Hope was then – and still is – one of the premiere programs in Division III. What was ironic and cool tonight at the same time is Glenn Van Wieren was in the building with their athletic director (Tim Schoonveld). And as I told my team, at the Division III level he's on par with the Bob Knight and Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Boeheim when it comes to wins and what he did. And Greg Mitchell was a part of his teams.
So, they were always the program that everyone was measured by back in the MIAA, where my roots are, and they lived up to every bit of what I thought they would be and they were even better, because they lost some guys too.
We knew they moved very well without the ball. We knew they did a great job of cutting off the post. They have a tremendous game plan, the way they wanted to go down inside and they moved on the air time of the pass into their post doubles. At times it was three guys down there guarding the post. That was great for us to see and have to make the adjustments on.
Everything we could have wanted in this game was there. They made us play extremely hard.
… We went against a very well-coached team. It was very cool to play against Ron Blackledge's grandson and Todd Blackledge's son. We knew he was a good player, and he was even better than I thought after watching him on film after being with him in the game tonight. That was a cool side light for this building tonight to have the Blackledges in it."