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Monday, May 21, 2012
Before playoff win, D-Wade stopped at IU

By Eamonn Brennan

Dwyane Wade's relationship with IU coach Tom Crean is well-established. Crean coached Wade during his breakout seasons at Marquette from 2001 to 2003, the latter of which included a run to the Final Four and a junior season that established Wade as a top-five pick in 2003's legendarily loaded NBA draft. (The top five picks that year went like this: LeBron James, Darko Milicic, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Wade. Chris Kaman was drafted No. 6. Oh, Darko. Poor, poor Darko.) The two have remained close since, but both have busy schedules, and not much occasion to spend quality time.

Wade found such an occasion this weekend. On Thursday, in a 95-74 loss to the Indiana Pacers, Wade became the first player since Eric Snow in 2001 to record five or more turnovers and five or or fewer points, rebounds and assists (min. 35 minutes), according to ESPN Stats and Information. Wade was stymied in ways we rarely see, ways that I have to admit (as both a Bulls fan and someone who kind of hates the way Wade plays, all pump-fakes and sprawling appeals for fouls and half-limping walks to the free throw line) were thoroughly satisfying to watch.

Wade
Dwyane Wade dunks home two of his 30 points Sunday against the Pacers.
But they didn't last for long. Wade submitted an excellent performance in Sunday's crucial 101-93 win at Indiana, with 30 points, nine rebounds and six assists. (James, meanwhile, went for 40 points, 18 rebounds and nine dimes, one of the most incredible playoff performances you will ever see.) What changed? Wade had fluid drained from his knee, so that surely helped. But he also made a stop in Bloomington, Ind. to talk shop with Crean, which he discussed in his postgame news conference Sunday:
“I really spent time with a mentor of mine, a father figure and had a long day and long hours of just conversation, just talking about a lot of things,” Wade said. “So it was great for me to just get away and kind of get that energy that I needed from him.”

Naturally, at least one photo of Wade and his former coach on the floor at Assembly Hall has surfaced. The association is a positive one for Indiana, obviously; as John Calipari at Kentucky has shown, few things are more attractive to young recruits than a relationship with established NBA stars like Wade and James. Even better, Crean had film footage of Wade's made and missed shots, so the visit was a tangibly productive one, too.

In any case, the most surprising thing about all of this is what Wade wore to Bloomington. As you can see in the linked photo, Wade is wearing a Heat windbreaker with khaki pants. There is nary a pastel suit or fuschia pocket square to be seen. Given the man's sartorial track record, I have to say I'm pretty disappointed.

(Hat tip: Inside the Hall)