More than anything else, the one thing that has us the most enthusiastic about Indiana’s 2018-19 basketball season is the depth on the roster. We see 13 to 14 guys that are legitimate Big Ten players. IU hasn’t had a top to bottom roster like this in a long, long time.
Last time we checked, only five guys can be on the floor at a time, although we are all for trying to sneak a couple more out there. You don’t see many coaches using 13 to 14 player rotations either. In fact, no one does.
Archie Miller had a 27-9 record for the 2014-15 season at Dayton with a roster of only 7 scholarship players. He knows how to do more with less. The question for the upcoming season is, can he do more with more?
Sure, it sounds like a first world problem — and it is. But it still won’t be easy. Highly talented players will be sitting. Feelings will be hurt. There will likely be fallout.
One thing we learned about Miller last year is that he won’t hesitate to play a inexperienced guy or a walk-on that is making winning plays. Most were surprised last year when Al Durham, Jr. was starting just a few games into the season. There won’t be any guarantees here. Minutes will be earned.
In the spirit of lending a helping hand, we thought we would take a shot at estimating how the minutes will be allocated next season. When you attempt to do this exercise you immediately realize the challenge — and it’s more than just figuring out that there are 200 minutes to allocate. Guys that your instincts tell you are going to play a meaningful role might not play much at all. There just isn’t enough time to go around.
Juwan Morgan (32) – This one is easy. Morgan will be on the floor as long as he can go.
Romeo Langford (32) – Similar to Morgan, we expect Langford’s minutes to be limited only by his endurance.
Justin Smith (24) – We see Smith as a rising star on this team that will get a big opportunity with teams focused on Morgan and Langford.
Devonte Green (20) – Point guard will be the most interesting position to watch. In our opinion a three-way platoon seems most likely unless someone can truly emerge.
Jerome Hunter (18) – Hunter is probably the most talented player on the team that no one is talking about. He will definitely be a factor.
De’Ron Davis (14) – Davis is likely to be eased back into things. If he stays healthy, the minutes could gradually tick up.
Robert Phinisee (14) – If Green isn’t the right fit at the point, Phinisee could start and play significantly more.
Zach McRoberts (12) – This is where it starts getting tricky. McRoberts started last year and played more than 20 minutes a game for the season.
Al Durham (8) – Durham will be tough to keep off the floor. He can be a guy that comes in and changes the pace or the attitude of the team.
Race Thompson (8) – It feels like he should play more, but the minutes may be tough to come by. He may have to wait until Morgan leaves to have a bigger role.
Evan Fitzner (8) – Another guy that you think will see more time, but at who’s expense?
Damezi Anderson (4) – This feels like a good year for Anderson to feel things out and work his way into a bigger role next season.
Jake Forrester (4) – His likely lack of playing time won’t be due to a lack of talent.
Clifton Moore (2) – Unless there has been big progress, Moore seems likely to once again struggle to see the floor.
Got a different take on how it will play out? Let us know about it in the comments.
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