EVANSVILLE — Indiana men’s basketball coach Archie Miller said redshirt freshman forward Jerome Hunter took part in limited workouts over the summer after sitting out last season with an unspecified lower body condition.
The 6-foot-7 Hunter, a versatile wing from Pickerington, Ohio, sat out the entire 2018-19 season after undergoing surgery in an attempt to correct the condition last November.
“He pretty much participated in everything that we did,” Miller said before his speaking engagement with the Shoulders Family Lecture Series on Tuesday. “Very little setbacks. Obviously, it’s a less intense program just in terms of contact and all of the banging that they do, but he’s getting ready to start off in the fall in the same sort of program, where he continues to listen to the doctors, and the plan they put him on as a rehab perspective.”
If Hunter can return, it would give the Hoosiers a much-needed shooter on the wing. Indiana finished 12th in the Big Ten in 3-point shooting percentage at 31.4 percent. But Miller gave no timetable for Hunter’s return.
“He’s cleared, obviously, to do everything he can with us,” Miller said. “It’s just kind of a wait and see, day to day, each week as we add things in fall, or our preseason gets pretty intense to see what he can handle.
“If he needs some time to step away, to rest, to recover, whatever that may be, he’s got to be honest with that. But we’re pleased. He’s in a good way personally. As we get ready to get started, we had our first team workout of the fall (Tuesday), and he did a nice job. He’s nervous. He’s anxious. He’s excited. It’s good to see a guy like him have that smile on his face and that eagerness to be a part of what’s going on.”
Miller also addressed the recent hire of assistant coach Mike Roberts, some initial thoughts on summer workouts and resuming the Indiana-Kentucky series.
On Roberts, a former Indiana forward from 2000-05 who was hired from UNC-Greensboro, “He’s really a grinder the way he works. He also has a lot of toughness about him. He’s a competitive guy. I think when you come to Indiana, one of the things that I really have learned to appreciate is a fearlessness, a person that wants to be a part of something going on with IU. Particularly the basketball program and the tradition can sometimes put a lot of fear in you. I didn’t realize it was this important or this big of a deal, and it is. Mike being able to walk in those shoes as a player, follow Indiana as a fellow coach in the business and understand this is where his heart lies, he’s not afraid of that.”
Miller said Roberts is capable of wearing a lot of hats, pointing out his experience coaching big men, calling defenses and recruiting.
“He’s going to have a hand in everything we do,” Miller said.
On summer workouts and the progression of freshmen Trayce Jackson-Davis and Armon Franklin: “They’ve both done a nice job of stepping two feet on the campus and buying in. It’s not a huge class. Last year on the class we had five true freshmen on campus at the same time, and that’s difficult to navigate early in August, September and October. These two guys are a little bit ahead because they have an older element around them, but they’ve also been really, really low maintenance in terms of what their approach has been. Academically, they are off to a good start. Both in the weight room have made significant gains. Trayce has taken his conditioning as a young front-court player to a different level. His body has changed, and Armon has put on some size early, which he will continue to do as he gets older.”
On the Indiana-Kentucky series, which hasn’t been played in the regular season since 2011-12: “The communication with both administrations has been pretty much ongoing. I hope and we hope and I believe that Kentucky hopes as well that game will re-emerge and be a part of both teams’ schedule. When that happens really has to deal with two people doing what’s best for them.”
Miller said recruiting is ongoing and could see adding four to six players in the incoming 2020 class. Under NCAA rules, Miller could not speak about current commitments or players the Hoosiers are actively recruiting. IU has landed two commitments for 2020, four-star shooting guard Anthony Leal from Bloomington South and three-star wing Trey Galloway from Culver Academies.
Dressed in a gray sport coat and dark slacks, Miller addressed about 300 IU supporters at Harrison High School, giving them an early outlook on the 2020-21 season. Miller expects growth from his upperclassmen, noting junior forward Justin Smith is capable of being an All-Big Ten defender this season, and said senior forward De’Ron Davis could be a focal point of the offense. Miller said the theme for this season is humility, both as individuals and collectively.
“When you have a humble mindset and you work together, you can build something special,” Miller told the crowd.
PILOT ALCOHOL PROGRAM
Indiana announced its pilot program for selling beer and wine at Memorial Stadium this season.
Bloomington-based Upland Brewery was named as the distributor and will charge $7 for domestic beers (16-ounce cans, Bud Light and Coors Light), $8 for craft beers (16-ounce cans, Champagne Velvet, Dragonfly IPA and Corona Lager) and $9 for wine (250-ml cans Sauvignon Blanc, Red Blend).
No alcohol will be sold within the stadium bowl. Beginning with IU’s Sept. 7 home opener against Eastern Illinois, beer and wine will be available for purchase by fans over 21 years of age at a variety of locations throughout Memorial Stadium, including most of the existing, general concession stand areas (including in Sample Terrace), a temporary stand located near the North End Zone facility, a concession trailer located in the northeast concourse area, and new, specialty kiosks positioned along the stadium’s East, West and North Concourses.
There will be a limit to two drinks sold per transition, with beer and wine sales cut off at the end of the third quarter.
IU announced 10 percent of the net beer and wine public revenue sales will go toward the Division of Student Affairs to support alcohol safety programming.