Only seven players that saw the floor from the 2018-19 Indiana basketball team will be back for the 2019-20 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.
If you could talk to each of the seven returning players about their 2018-19 season and what they need to improve going forward, what would you say?
We play Archie for a day and give it a shot with “Exit Interviews.”
Quick 2018-19 Recap:
The story of Devonte Green’s 2018-19 season is that of a late emergence that once again flashed incredible promise for the guard out of North Babylon, N.Y.
Like most of the team, Green had some injury setbacks during the season. He was also suspended for three games during Big Ten play. For the 2018-19 campaign, Green played in 28 games and started 9 times. He finished third on the team in scoring at 9.4 points.
The 6-foot-3 guard led IU in several categories including three-pointers made, three-point field goal percentage, and assists per game. He also finished second on the team in steals.
After his late burst to close out the season, Green finished eighth in the Big Ten in three-point field goal percentage.
Primary Developmental Needs:
1. Finally put it all together. Green’s potential is undeniable. You know the story of how he finished his junior season. 15.4 points per game over the last seven contests, including a 26 point outburst against Ohio State at the Big Ten Tournament. Green was in double figures in each game, and shot better than 50 percent from three point range in the final seven.
But before that? There was a really bad stretch in February, that suspension, and just generally erratic play. That’s been the story for most of his career — high level potential that only emerges occasionally.
Can Green’s senior year be the year? Can he put it all together along side Rob Phinisee? Can he pick up where he left off in March? It feels a little foolish to boldly say yes to these questions.
But then, it also feels a little foolish to doubt him.
2. Finishing over big men. Every guard of Green’s stature needs a repertoire of go-to shots from the mid-range on in to the rim. Green struggled mightily in this area, especially from around eight to ten feet out. With a talent for beating his man off the dribble, a lot of opportunities were left on the table when Green couldn’t finish. Whether it is a tear drop or even a hook shot similar to what Michigan’s Zavier Simpson developed, Green needs to show opposing coaches that he must be respected as more than just a three-point shooter.
3. Continue the defensive growth. Kind of quietly tucked away behind all of the highs and lows of the season was an emergence on the defensive end of the floor. Green improved on the ball and also become a very disruptive presence when helping with digs in the post.
Green had a top 10 steal percentage in the Big Ten to go with a top 25 block percentage according to KenPom. He averaged more than two steals per contest over that same final seven game span where the offensive productivity surged. Green was noticeably more engaged and showed a lot of emotion on defense late in the season — something that might have actually fueled him on the other end of the floor.
4. Keep the assist to turnover trend going. Green has made strides each year with his assist to turnover ratio, and in at least some respects, he is the best passer on the team. But turnovers have always been a bugaboo with Green, and he took a step back in that regard in 2018-19, with a 23.2 percent turnover rate. He averaged three miscues a game over the last four contests — somewhat mitigating his scoring output.
It’s clear by now that a little pizazz is going to be part of Green’s game, but continued strides in the assist to turnover ratio next year would be a major benefit to this team, and a way to keep him in Archie Miller’s good graces.
What Success Looks Like in 2019-20
While the range of scenarios on how Green’s senior year might go seemingly varies by a wide margin, the blueprint was established in those final seven games.
With Romeo Langford and Juwan Morgan gone, Indiana will need scoring output like we saw down the stretch. It is all going to came down to whether Green can stay on track and confident throughout an entire season.
If he can, a 15 point, 4 assist, 3 rebound per game season while averaging more than a steal and shooting better than 44 percent from the field overall and 38 percent from three point range seems eminently doable.
That kind of production has always been a possibility for Green. He just did it to close out the 2018-19 season, and now he needs to do it for an entire campaign.
And he has one more year to put it all together.
Previous Exit Interviews:
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