(Photo Credit: Indiana Basketball)
Archie Miller and Juwan Morgan met with media members this afternoon to discuss the exhibition win against Southern Indiana and to preview the regular season opener against Chicago State on Tuesday. The Indiana Men’s Basketball twitter account dropped a hype-filled video teaser for the season.
Takeaways from today’s press conference
- Minor, but lingering, injuries continue to be a concern at the front of this season. Race Thompson and Al Durham continue to have injuries that are forcing them to sit out for potentially both game early this season. Game-time decisions for both. Jerome Hunter, who sat out during the Southern Indiana exhibition, is doubtful for Tuesday. A lot of players on the team have had minor injury setbacks that have forced them out of practice. As a result, the team has had to practice with unique line combinations that they would normally not use. During the press conference, Archie noted that these nagging injuries have prevented the team from playing their best ten players.
- Devonte Green has been cleared for full contact. One of the most important additions back to the squad after sitting out of the previous two preseason contests (closed scrimmage against Loyola Chicago and exhibition against Southern Indiana) will be junior guard Devonte Green. Going into this season, the point guard position was one of the biggest question marks. Devonte Green will get an opportunity to backup all of the talk about his changed mindset over the offseason. Devonte’s return also comes at an important juncture where Al Durham may be out in order to fully recover from his bangs and bruises.
- The next couple of matchups will test Indiana’s ability to deal with new defensive schemes. Chicago State, with new players and a brand new coaching staff, may not have the same quantity of game film as other opponents such as Montana State, who will be visiting Assembly Hall later this week. As a result, the team will need to be able to react and respond quickly to whatever sets and schemes the opposing staff come up with. Archie Miller is expecting a zone and a potentially a pressing zone – a scheme where a press is applied until the halfway mark of the timeline at which point the team transitions to a zone defense.
- Versatility is a side effect of having players with length and quickness . Indiana fans wondered if Archie was planning to sign a class full of wing-type players. And he arguably did, with the exception of Rob Phinisee. What was his vision for his team composition? From the press conference today, Archie seems to imply that he has already began to see the benefits on the court. The team has the ability to step into passing lanes, be active defensively, and also allow Archie to have more leeway on the various lineups he puts together. Indiana forced a total of 19 turnovers against Southern Indiana.
- Juwan being Juwan has helped in practice and will also help during games. One of the biggest adjustments between the first half and the second half of the Southern Indiana game was Juwan’s aggressiveness. Admittedly, he was trying to facilitate the offense and play through his teammates. Coach Bruiser Flint told Juwan to stop that nonsense and demand the ball. By being a bully in the paint, Juwan is able to relieve pressure on his teammates. He can attract the double team or force his defender to stick closer to him.
- Offensively, the team still has room for improvement. While transition offense has been a successful story for the team so far, Indiana has more work to do in the half-court offense. When Archie’s sets fall apart, the team gets a bit lost and flustered. Coach Miller is nowhere near finished on the coaching end and will continue to drive execution concepts in practice.
- Younger guys are stepping up. Rob Phinisee and Romeo Langford have received significant shares of playing time so far. Rob Phinisee continues to play at a much more accelerated pace than traditional freshmen. Once Romeo Langford gets accustomed to the college speed and size, he will also be a critical part of the team. However, players like Damezi Anderson and Jake Forrester have also stepped up when the opportunity presented itself. Damezi scoring a game high of 14 points in the second half against USI. Jake constantly being the energizer for the team and immediately injects bounce into the game.
- Older guys are doing what they need to do. Juwan has fully accepted the leadership role on the team, where he was a bit unsure of his candidacy last year with seniors like Rob Johnson and Josh Newkirk on the team. This year, he’s fully embraced him. Juwan and fellow co-captain Zach McRoberts are doing everything they can to keep practices competitive and to lead the younger teammates by example. Juwan specifically brought up a story about Romeo Langford being guarded by Zach McRoberts. McRoberts, being one of the best on-ball defenders on the team, pestered Romeo into making mistakes, something Romeo rare for him.
Chicago State @ Indiana: How to Watch
|Tuesday, November 6th
|6:30 PM EST