ALBANY, N.Y. — Trey Galloway is toying with the idea of becoming the third Indiana starter to wear a headband when the Hoosiers face Miami on Sunday evening.
The junior guard had an Adidas model on his head in the IU locker room on Saturday afternoon as the team was preparing for shootaround at the MVP Arena a day before their NCAA Tournament round of 32 matchup against the Hurricanes.
While the addition of a headband to Miller Kopp’s game wardrobe on Friday created considerable buzz, count head coach Mike Woodson in the group of folks who doesn’t give a you know what.
“Shit, I didn’t even notice it,” Woodson said on Saturday after Kopp joined the Race Thompson headband brigade against Kent State.
The haloed duo of Kopp and Thompson combined for 33 points in Indiana’s opening round win, giving the Hoosiers a massive boost beyond the usual production that Trayce Jackson-Davis once again delivered on Friday.
Kopp’s 3-of-6 effort from beyond the 3-point arc made a much more significant impression on the IU head coach.
“The one thing I did notice, him (Kopp) making shots,” Woodson said. “That’s the only thing that matters to me. I don’t care about no headbands.”
If you ask his players, Woodson couldn’t care less about much more than just their style preferences.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for the next Woodson TikTok.
Those occasional social media posts you see? They’re sent by one of his assistants.
Technology isn’t his thing either.
“Well, the first thing is he has zero social media,” Jackson-Davis said of Woodson on Saturday. “He’s old school. He doesn’t know what anyone says, nor does he care.”
“Still has his flip phone,” Kopp chimed in.
Where does all this not caring come from?
Kopp believes it’s the old adage, with age comes wisdom.
Woodson is wise enough to know, outside noise is just that.
And headbands don’t score points.
“I think Coach Woody is at a point — and I’m not going to speak for him, but I think he’s just done so much in his career that at this point in his career, he’s seen it all, he’s seen so much basketball and experienced so much, that nothing gets to him now, and he understands the big picture of it all,” Kopp said.
Woodson’s coach Bob Knight once said he’d forgotten more about basketball than the media knew.
And in similar fashion, Woodson doesn’t mind telling his players they have a long way to go before they know what he knows about the game.
“He’s seen it all,” Thompson said. “He’s been around the game longer than we’ve been alive, and he loves to say that.”
Woodson has been successful as a player, a coach and in business. He ability to cut out distractions comes at least in part from being in a place of comfort.
That’s comfort with who he is, where he is in his life, and what he’s doing.
Woodson has said he would have only left his NBA life for Indiana. It was a dream opportunity.
And he’s all in.
“He knows it’s about the guys in the locker room and the guys in the staff, and everybody included in the everyday process,” Kopp said. “So he’s just focused on us and doesn’t care about really anything else.”
“He would do anything for any of us, but at the same time, he’s all about business,” Jackson-Davis added. “He’s always locked in. He meets with the coaching staff every day for three to four hours just working on stuff to help our team.
“But he bleeds Indiana basketball. I think that’s the reason why he came back because he wanted to help put this place back on the map, and he’s done a great job of that so far.”
So will Galloway wear the headband on Sunday?
It could be a fun developing story if it happens.
If the Hoosiers end up making a deep run, those headbands could end up being an iconic image of a memorable Indiana basketball March.
But don’t ask Woodson what he thinks about it.
He didn’t notice, and he doesn’t care.
There’s work to be done.
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