IU head basketball coach Archie Miller is doing what he said he would do.
But he is also seemingly doing it in his own unique way.
By now you know that Indiana has picked up its second commitment in the class of 2020 after the announcement by Bloomington based shooting guard Anthony Leal on Friday afternoon.
Following in the footsteps of his good friend Trey Galloway, the 6-foot-5 Leal makes it two-for-two with in-state players committing to play for Miller in the 2020 class.
Going back a year, Miller successfully landed three other local products in Armaan Franklin, Trayce Jackson-Davis and Joey Brunk.
Miller said on day one that he was going to focus on recruiting “inside-out,” and with five straight commitments to his program hailing from the state of Indiana, I’d say he wasn’t lying.
Of course there are still two open scholarships on the 2020-21 roster. Chances are, if those openings are filled they will go to out-of-state kids, as IU isn’t heavily recruiting any other incoming high school seniors from Indiana right now to my knowledge.
But Miller is just getting warmed up with inside-out.
We’ve discussed the local talent in the class of 2021. It wouldn’t be at all surprising if all three of the current projected openings in that class are claimed by kids that hail from Indiana.
By the 2021-22 season the IU roster could take on the most Indiana-centric look that it’s had since perhaps the 1970s, with as many nine scholarship players and perhaps twelve or more total players arriving at IU from Indiana high schools.
Let’s be clear — having a roster full of in-state guys is no panacea. And IU has had plenty of success with out-of-state talent.
This isn’t an endorsement of a particular strategy. It’s simply an observation. Miller said he was going all-in on in-state, and he is delivering.
Now we can all sit back and watch the results.
If I had gone back another year, Romeo Langford would make it six straight in-state commitments for Miller.
But that’s where we make a distinction, and highlight the second thing that the last five commits all have in common.
When I spoke with Trey Galloway’s father Mark after his IU official visit back in May, we discussed how his son was a bit of a throw back when it comes to social media. As two guys that played high school basketball in central Indiana back in the late 80’s / early 90’s, we talked about how different things are today — especially for the top players.
There is a lot of attention, hype and pressure thrust open these young athletes — and it probably isn’t a real healthy thing for them at the end of the day.
I complemented Mark on his son’s business like approach and how he has seemingly avoided all of the recruiting silliness such as top-10 lists and the like. It is something that the Galloways seem to take pride in.
To my knowledge Trey doesn’t even have a Twitter account. A simple a Friday afternoon post on his Instagram account was enough to announce his commitment to IU last month. No fanfare. No hype.
If you look at how Franklin, Jackson-Davis, Brunk and now Leal have handled the process, it’s slight variations of the same story.
A simple social media post, often with no warning.
In fact, the highest profile recruit, Jackson-Davis, seemed to be going out of his way to avoid any attention. He had already quietly signed with IU about two weeks prior to his late November announcement, with the subscription recruiting service sites writing stories in the intervening weeks about Michigan State being a “major threat” and other nonsense.
Although the words weren’t used, each of their announcements had the look and feel of “Hey, I’m going to IU, now let’s get to work.”
Once again, this is just an observation, and there is no guarantee of future results. You can win with hype and lose with no nonsense guys.
But it is interesting. These young guys seem to fit the mold of an Archie Miller team — tough, lunch pail guys.
Perhaps no one fits that mold better than the next 2020 IU target that is likely to announce — Matt Cross. Miller has been pushing hard on the Massachusetts native, and wherever he goes, you can expect another simple Tweet, if he even does that.
Miller knows that the recruits he lands today will define his own future at Indiana — and he seems to be shifting away from glamour and hype, and towards gritty guys that play with an edge.
That’s who Miller was as a player, that’s who he is as a coach, and that’s how he won at Dayton. Heck, it’s even who Miller is as a person, and how he earned the nickname Archie as a young boy.
There’s nothing wrong with Langford having an announcement ceremony in front of 4,000 fans and picking an IU hat. If anyone earned it, he did after the circus that followed him around during high school.
And as the crowd illustrated, there was certainly that level of interest from the fans in Langford’s decision.
There is no doubt that Archie Miller will continue to pursue five-star and potentially one-and-done talent, especially if the kid is from the state of Indiana.
But that’s not the kind of player that Miller has won with in the past, and that’s not the kind of identity and culture that Miller is trying to build.
Instead, Miller has spoken over the last year about togetherness, getting tougher and getting older.
If the last five commitments are any indication, he might just be on his way.
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