Dane Fife hasn’t completely disappeared from the public eye since being unceremoniously let go by his alma mater in March.
The former Indiana guard is still relatively active on Twitter, and when the news broke former IU point guard Rob Phinisee had selected Cincinnati as his transfer destination, Fife emerged to heap praise on a player he once coached, and coached against.
“A healthy Rob is an elite defender at the highest level,” Fife wrote on his Twitter page on Wednesday evening in response to the news of Phinisee choosing Cincinnati. “Health has also played a huge roll in his offensive consistency. The young man can PLAY. As important, he competes!”
In total Phinisee missed 18 games over his four seasons at IU and played through nagging issues in several more. He never dealt with a major season-ending injury, but instead had a series of conditions that seemed to stymie his progression in Bloomington.
Fife’s comments echo his sentiments from a year ago when he was asked about Phinisee.
“I don’t think there’s a better defender in the league than Rob Phinisee,” Fife said last April soon after he was hired by Indiana.
Fife had hoped at the time Phinisee would pull it all together in his senior season at IU much like he did in 2002.
“My personal story is a lot like Phinisee’s,” Fife said. “Defense is his niche, and he can make money doing it if he really puts his mind to it. And he will get confidence if he plays good defense.”
If it all comes together for Phinisee, it won’t be in at IU. A year later both Phinisee and Fife are no longer with the program.
Unlike Fife, the four-year point guard’s departure can be best described as a mutual parting.
And now Phinisee hopes a fresh start in Cincinnati is the ticket to realizing the potential Fife and others have long seen in the well-liked point guard from Lafayette.
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