Nine Indiana basketball players that saw the floor during the season will be back for the 2020-21 campaign as of this writing.
While formal practices have concluded, the work never stops for high major college basketball players. Growth and development happens in the offseason, in individual workouts and permitted organized team activities.
At the end of each season the coaches sit down and have one-on-one meetings with the players. If you could talk to each of the nine returning players about their 2019-20 season and what they need to improve going forward, what would you say?
We play Archie Miller for a day and give it a shot with the “Annual Review” series.
Quick 2019-20 Recap:
Armaan Franklin’s freshman season at Indiana didn’t begin how he or anyone else expected. The Indianapolis product started the first nine games of the 2019-20 campaign, often playing point guard, as the Hoosiers dealt with a variety of injuries in their backcourt.
For the season Franklin averaged 3.7 points 1.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists and .94 turnovers per contest. The 6-foot-4 Franklin shot 34.8 percent from the field overall including 26.6 percent from three-point range. He also made 61.5 percent of his attempts from the free throw line.
Per possession, Franklin was the best defensive rebounding guard for IU, but he had lowest assist, steal and block rate among the guards and the second worst turnover rate.
The Daily Hoosier Report Card
Armaan Franklin (C+) It likely wasn’t the season that Franklin hoped for, but they rarely are for true freshman. While he struggled shooting the ball, Franklin gave IU a memorable moment in the win over Notre Dame, and he showed an ability to push the ball offensively and defend that will become strengths in the coming years. Franklin also got valuable minutes early in the season due to injuries that will serve him well down the road.
“I’m proud of Armaan. Here the last three or four weeks, his role really hasn’t diminished in our eyes, but his minutes have gone down. He stays with it. He’s a great kid. He’s an unbelievable teammate. In some of our biggest wins, as you finish the regular season and you look back on your season and you figure out who can help you at this time of year when it means the most, it’s the guys that care the most. Armaan really cares, and lo and behold tonight, when he got his number called, he was able to play 25 good minutes. He was plus 32 in his minutes out there, so it was a direct result of how he played.”
— IU head coach Archie Miller after a March 11 win over Nebraska at the Big Ten Tournament
Photo by Mike Schumann / The Daily Hoosier
Primary Developmental Needs:
1. Let the game slow down and find your rhythm.
From a raw talent perspective, Franklin showed enough as a freshman to lead you to believe he will end up having a solid career at Indiana.
But within the season there were plenty of moments that led you to recognize that Franklin, like most freshmen, would need time to acclimate to the speed of high major college basketball. The Cathedral high school product was shooting 14 percent from three-point range before game 12 against Notre Dame.
But there was already evidence of Franklin climbing the growth curve mid-season, as he made 9 of his last 22 attempts from three-point range (40.9 percent). Franklin only made 37 percent of his total attempts during that same stretch however as he struggled to convert in traffic in two-point range.
The game starts to slow down for many sophomores and Franklin looks primed to make a big jump if he can fully adapt in year two.
2. And then…pick up the pace
Franklin probably doesn’t have the personality to become an alpha leader of this team, and certainly not as an underclassman.
But there are certain elements of Franklin’s game that can be important “lead by example” qualities going forward. And while the game needs to slow down for him, he can simultaneously make it too fast for the opposition.
On the offensive end Franklin is talented playing fast, and that aligns perfectly with how Miller wants to play. Playing fast requires a commitment from the guards that Franklin can embrace and pull others with him.
On the defensive end Indiana needs guys that force the opposition to play faster than they want to, and again Franklin seems capable of bringing that tweak to the tempo. His length, lateral quickness and energy guarding the ball can all be disruptive attributes that create turnovers give his teammates a boost.
3. Embrace the “glue guy” role
As an upperclassman Franklin has the potential with his versatile skills to be one of the featured players in the IU program.
Next year, however, Franklin’s ticket to a bigger role might come from being the guy that does a little bit of everything as part of the first wave off the bench.
Did you know that Franklin led the team in charges taken? We mentioned his ability to rebound as a guard. Franklin is also an above average defender, is very good at pushing the tempo offensively, and he plays with emotion.
Every team needs a guy that is versatile and does all of the little things on the court, or so called winning plays. Franklin appears to have all of the tools to be that guy for IU next season if he can package it up with a more consistent jump-shot.
What Success Looks Like in 2020-21
The only thing that would be surprising about Franklin’s second season would be if there was not clear progress. Much like his backcourt mate Al Durham, Franklin appears to be a guy that will show meaningful measures of improvement after each season.
A strong sophomore season might be Franklin increasing his minutes to around 15 to 20 per game while scoring a more efficient 6 to 8 points, grabbing 2.5 rebounds and dishing out 2 assists. Those numbers along with Franklin becoming a reliable, impactful defender that provides a spark off the bench would be a significant sophomore season.
MORE ANNUAL REVIEWS:
- Justin Smith
- Al Durham
- Joey Brunk
- Rob Phinisee
- Race Thompson
- Damezi Anderson
- Jerome Hunter
- Armaan Franklin
- Trayce Jackson-Davis
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