(Photo Credit: Indiana Basketball)
Archie Miller, Zach McRoberts, and Al Durham met with media members this afternoon to discuss the closed scrimmage with Loyola Chicago and begin to preview their match up against USI that will take place Thursday.
Takeaways from today’s press conference
- Early nagging injuries will force the Hoosiers to use some odd lineups at the beginning of the season. Devonte Green (thigh) and Race Thompson (groin) will be definitely out on Thursday. Students that attended the Indiana open practice on Tuesday mentioned the two on the sidelines and believe that they will not be long for an extended period of time.
- Rob Phinisee played big time minutes while Devonte was out on Sunday. Archie has been really impressed with his freshman point guard out of Lafayette – again referencing his defensive capabilities that seems to be very advance for a freshman. Additionally Rob has been studying the game closely and Archie is at a point where he can trust him to run the offense. According to Al Durham, Rob Phinesee sees the “rollers” off of pick and rolls, and he plays at a very calm and collected game pace. Fans will be happy to hear that Rob often just makes the simple and best plays.
- De’Ron Davis is fully cleared for full 5-on-5 contact. De’Ron has been a big time factor in practice and the staff hopes to work in De’Ron slowly into the lineup. He saw around 10 minutes of action on Sunday in the closed scrimmage against Loyola. Archie expects to have him in around the 12-15 minute range against USI. Conditioning is the next hurdle for De’Ron as he will need to get in shape through practices and live games, which can be difficult for players who could not participate in full for the summer off-season program.
- The team was very impressive defensively in the closed scrimmage against Loyola. Returning players played a critical role in the defensive success last Sunday. Archie mentioned that the players were much further along with understanding the defensive scheme and that translated to the court. Indiana held Loyola to only 48 points. Al Durham later mentioned in the players’ interview that the team specifically took pride on defense when they were out there.
- Offensively, the team still has room for improvement. Archie currently does not like where Indiana is offensively. Porter Moser and the Ramblers employed a unique style that the team has not yet seen, and Indiana responded fairly well to that test. The team was locked in on Sunday and the staff noticed that they took the scrimmage very seriously. Game mentality and being ready for the game are activities that the staff actively works on. On game day, the players are told to just do their role and to be ready at all times. There is a game plan for a reason and there is no need for individual players to try an be a superhero.
- The team can be one of the leading rebounding teams in the league. The size and length of the team certainly helps on the glass. Juwan Morgan is one of the best returning rebounders in the Big Ten. 6’6″ Romeo Langford will rebound from the guard position and he can outmatch almost everyone at that position. While former coach Tom Crean emphasized offensive glass, Archie Miller believes that there should be a balance. One of the areas you may give up when putting too much focus on offensive boards is the ability to return back into your defensive position. Archie very definitively stated that he values transition defensive over offensive rebounding. Getting back on defense is of utmost importance.
- Shooting as a team is beginning to shape up and the team expects to be better than last year. One of the biggest gaps of last year’s team, shooting has been another emphasized area for the coaching staff. According to both Al and Zach, they consistently work on shots in practice. Building confidence, shooting in rhythm and in the flow of the game, and building repetition are at the top of the coaches’ list of goals. Across the board, the players have improved. Archie called out Zach McRoberts on upping his percentage, the guards on the perimeter improving, Juwan and Justin adding to their game, and Jerome Hunter on winning the gold jersey because: “He made shots.”
- The competitive setup of the practices and Juwan Morgan’s leadership have created a unique practicing environment. “Practices are amped up… coaches are riled up. We’re just getting after it everyday at practice, trying to make each other better.” Al Durham summarized his experiences at Indiana’s recent practices. With the gold jersey system and Archie’s general philosophical view on competition, the staff as created a practice structure that lives and breathes by competition. Pair that with Juwan Morgan as your senior leader. According to Archie, you need your best player to be the voice of the team and the personality of the team. Juwan Morgan is that player for Indiana. Having him as a reliable go-to teammate, provides a lot of value. He has no slippage on his habits and how hard he works. He sets the tone for the team. Al Durham reinforced that Juwan improves everyone else by Juwan just being Juwan. They have to get “amped up” just to get to his level at practice.
University of Southern Indiana @ Indiana: How to Watch
|Date||Thursday, November 1st|
|Time||7:00 PM EST|