Indiana University basketball head coach Archie Miller gave a press conference on Wednesday in advance of Thursday’s first and only exhibition game against Southern Indiana.
The Hoosiers also held a closed scrimmage on Sunday against Loyola Chicago, and tip-off the regular season next Tuesday at home against Chicago State.
Here are a few noteworthy items from Miller’s press conference. Further below you can see video of Al Durham and Zach McRoberts as they took questions as well.
JEROME HUNTER IS GOLDEN
As you probably know, IU issues a gold jersey during practice for the top performing player each week. The jersey has been held in recent weeks by Juwan Morgan and Romeo Langford, but was recently was claimed by freshman Jerome Hunter. When asked why Hunter was able to take possession of the gold jersey, Miller said that Hunter “made a lot of shots,” “scored the ball” and had a “great week of practice.”
Devonte Green and Race Thompson will both miss the exhibition with injuries. Green has a thigh bruise and Thompson has a groin issue. Neither injury sounds like a long term problem.
DEFENSE AHEAD OF THE OFFENSE
Miller indicated that he doesn’t like where the team is right now offensively but that the team is farther along on defense than where he expected. He indicated that both aspects were apparent in the Loyola scrimmage.
Most will recall that the defense was a major issue in the early portion of the 2017-18 season, so the year over year progress is encouraging.
PHINISEE THE STARTING POINT GUARD
Without Green in the short term, it looks like Rob Phinisee might be the day one starter. Miller indicated that the true freshman saw extended minutes against Loyola and that he “did a nice job holding his own defensively and running the offense.”
With Green working his way back, Phinisee will have the early opportunity to showcase his abilities and make a serious impact.
More than just a recruiting slogan, Miller reiterated something he said Monday night on his radio show, which is that this team is going to focus on attacking the rim and getting three point shots off of kick-outs and numbers in transition rather than just taking guarded shots from the perimeter. He said that the three point shots should be high percentage looks coming off of assists.
Miller said that he wants his team to have confidence from long range and specifically mentioned Al Durham, Devonte Green, Romeo Langford and Rob Phinisee.
A “GOOD REBOUNDING TEAM”
Indiana held its own on the glass last year despite often being physically undersized. Miller sees this years team as having both the effort and the natural gifts to be a good rebounding team. He said “I would tell you we have a good chance to be a good rebounding team. Romeo at the guard is a good rebounding guard. Juwan can rebound. Our guards in particular have good size and should be able to mix it up.”
MORGAN IS LEADING
Miller addressed Juwan Morgan’s role as a senior leader and captain of this team. “Morgan is doing a great job on and off the floor. His habits every day, he’s got no slippage in what he’s doing. He sets the tone for us. He is leading and has lived up to the expectations.”
DE’RON WORKING HIS WAY BACK
Miller indicated that junior big man De’Ron Davis is back to full contact 5-on-5 action and was able to get around 10 minutes of run in the Loyola scrimmage. Miller indicated that he is hoping for Davis to get 12 to 15 minutes in the exhibition, and that he has work to do to “play himself into shape.”
AL DURHAM AND ZACH McROBERTS ANSWER QUESTIONS
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