BORDEN — With summer workouts starting next week, Indiana men’s basketball coach Archie Miller got a clearer picture of the makeup of his team Wednesday.
Guard Al Durham, guard Devonte Green and forward Justin Smith all have decided to take their names out of the NBA draft and return to school, which should give the Hoosiers more versatility and depth heading into the 2019-20 season.
Miller said Smith spent the majority of time working out on IU’s campus, while Green and Durham both left campus and returned to their hometowns this month. He wasn’t sure if any of the trio conducted individual workouts for NBA teams.
“Their feedback really came more from the advisory committee and whatnot, and they were able to put themselves in some positions where they were able to put themselves in some facilities for workouts,” Miller said. “I think the fact that all three guys are coming back, we’re thankful for that, and we’re very, very excited to get those guys moving forward.”
The return of Green will help Miller address IU’s biggest offseason issue, shooting. The Hoosiers ranked 12th in the Big Ten in 3-point shooting at 31.4 percent in 2018-19. Green was IU’s leading shooter beyond the arc at 41 percent, and Miller said incoming freshman guard Armaan Franklin should help from the perimeter as well.
“The biggest thing is repetition,” Miller said. “Guys have got to get in the gym. They got to do it every day. They’ve got to shoot the shots that you shoot in the game. We’ve gotten some guys to progress to different percentages in our first two years, and it has to keep going.”
Miller, IU football coach Tom Allen and IU women’s softball coach Shonda Stanton addressed a crowd of about 300 at an IU alumni event at Huber Winery on Wednesday.
Miller told the crowd no one was angrier about how last season’s 19-16 campaign unfolded than himself.
“I gave myself a lot of stern talkings to every day in the mirror,” he said.
The third-year IU coach said with incoming freshman McDonald’s All-American 6-foot-9 forward Trayce Jackson-Davis, senior forward De’Ron Davis (6-10) and Butler transfer center Joey Brunk (6-11) he feels like the Hoosiers will have good depth in the frontcourt.
“For the very first time, we have Big Ten size inside,” Miller said.
Miller feels the addition of Brunk can be helpful both on and off the court.
“He’s got a great personality,” Miller said. “He’s older. He’s competitive. He’s played in the Big East, and he thinks he brings a very dominant loud voice to the floor and the locker room and off the floor, and I think he can really be a fireplug for us.”
— Miller said in order for Indiana to take a step forward in the Big Ten, the Hoosiers need to do a better job protecting homecourt this season. IU went 15-6 at home last season, which included losses to Nebraska, Ohio State and rival Purdue. “For us to be at our best against the Big Ten we have to win at home,” Miller said. “That’s one of the big things with this team this offseason is to understand how important it is to play at Assembly. We should be, at some level, virtually unstoppable there.”
— Miller said 6-7 second-year forward Jerome Hunter is making some progress after sitting out all last season with a leg injury. “He’s been elevated in terms of his activity level,” Miller said. “He’s been doing a lot more stuff, but he’s far away from having any indication or any final decision on where he goes from here. We’re probably looking towards July and August to see what he’s capable of doing as we continue to progress with what the doctors and the training staff have done with his plan. We’re excited to get him back on the floor. He’s doing a lot more individual work, more weight training and conditioning, so it’s good to have him back.”
— Miller confirmed some of IU’s non-conference matchups, including a game against UConn in the Jimmy V Classic in New York on Dec. 10 and a game against Notre Dame in the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis on Dec. 21. He said the school is still working on a return date with Arkansas at Assembly Hall after playing at Arkansas last season.