Pete DiPrimio, sports columnist and college beat writer for The News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne, Ind., takes his best shots on the world of Hoosier basketball.

Thursday, June 14

Ratliff In Sling; Gordon-Led All-Stars Win

Don’t look now, but the injury jinx has hit Indiana guard A.J. Ratliff again.

The senior showed up at Edgewood High School Wednesday night with a sling and a cast on his right arm to watch future teammate Eric Gordon in action with the Indiana All-Stars against the state’s junior all-stars.

Gordon later said that Ratliff had surgery for a broken right wrist and is expected to be out eight to nine weeks. There has been no official word from IU officials.

Ratliff, as you might recall, hurt his left wrist last season. He didn’t have surgery on that as team doctors elected for rehabilitation.

Ratliff also battled a broken thumb as a sophomore.

What will his latest injury mean? He should be back by the time the Hoosiers take their exhibition trip to the Bahamas in August, and certainly will be ready for the season. Still, it hinders him from developing his game and strength in the off-season.

Also watching Gordon was incoming freshman center Eli Holman from California. Holman was in Bloomington just visiting because he has yet to qualify academically. He’s hoping to do that by the fall.

Gordon has already enrolled in summer school and will start classes on Friday. He will juggle school work with his basketball obligations as Mr. Basketball for the Indiana All-Stars. They play their Kentucky counterparts on Saturday in Bowling Green, Ky., and on June 23 at Conseco Fieldhouse. They also have a pair of games with the junior all-stars next week –- Tuesday at Purdue and Thursday at New Castle. Gordon scored 23 points Wednesday night, most on free throws, as the senior all-stars won 114-99.

Finally, former North Side standout Eshaunte Jones had four points. He plans to go to Indiana in 2008 after spending next season at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia.

OK, one more finally. Former South Side standout plays on the girls’ Indiana All-Stars. She had for points Wednesday night as the senior all-stars beat the junior all-stars 83-75 at Edgewood.

Thursday, June 7

Is Dan Dakich Returning To IU?

Life sure has thrown Dan Dakich a few curves. It wasn’t all that long ago that the former Indiana player and assistant coach was considered one of the hot young coaches in America. He’d led Bowling Green to one Mid-American Conference title and NIT opportunity and was hired by West Virginia.

But then he changed his mind about West Virginia a few days later and returned to Bowling Green. John Beilein took the Mountaineers job, achieved NCAA tourney success and is now at Michigan.

Dakich’s Bowling Green teams struggled after his return, with losing records in four of his last five years. After going 13-18 last season and receiving a reprimand by the Mid-American Conference commissioner for a tirade over officiating, Dakich stepped down in March. His 10-year record -– 156-140.

Now, it seems, he’s poised to return to Indiana. This time it would be as director of basketball operations under coach Kelvin Sampson. Jerry Green has apparently retired after one year in that job.

What does the director of basketball operations do? Basically, it’s administrative stuff such as budget planning, scheduling and behind-the-scenes details. There’s no coaching involved, so it would be a big comedown for Dakich, but at least it’s a job in the sport he loves until he’s able to bounce back to a coaching position.

And in case you’ve forgotten, it was Dakich’s defensive effort against Michael Jordan that helped IU upset No. 1 North Carolina in the 1984 NCAA tourney.

But that was a long time ago. In this what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world, returning to your roots could be the best possible move.