Photo: Mykal Anthony

Opinion: Securing Mason Miller’s commitment critical for Archie Miller

When Trey Kaufman decided to commit to Purdue a few weeks ago, Indiana and its fans immediately turned their focus to Mason Miller, the talented stretch four who is the son of former NBA player Mike Miller. 

Now, it appears Miller, who has narrowed his choices down to Creighton and Indiana, is close to announcing a decision, according to multiple reports on Sunday

Miller is an important target for Indiana Coach Archie Miller and staff, because the team’s outlook in the frontcourt for the future is murky. 

Star forward Trayce Jackson-Davis could return next season, but he almost left after his freshman year, and he seems highly likely to make the leap to the NBA.

Redshirt year senior center Joey Brunk could also return, with the NCAA granting players an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But if Brunk does come back to Indiana, he will be playing college basketball as a 24-year old. It bears questioning whether he might be more interested in moving on.

Redshirt Junior Race Thompson will almost certainly be back in 2021-22.  He is a valuable glue guy and someone who proved last season he is worth giving big minutes. As things currently stand, Thompson will be the starting four-man for Indiana next year. He’s a great spark plug off the bench, and he maybe he proves himself to be a worthy starter this season, but this is still someone who averaged 2.9 points and 3.5 rebounds per game last season and has made just three total three-pointers across two seasons. 

The wildcard is Logan Duncomb.  The young for his class four-star commit out of Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio), would seem like a good candidate to redshirt. But with the current frontcourt depth, the 6-foot-9 Duncomb may have to see minutes next season. He’s a physical center, but would do well to spend a year in the weight room getting while acclimated to college basketball. 

Indiana could of course also go to the transfer portal for frontcourt help, a route that teams like Kentucky, Texas Tech, and Florida, and even Indiana with Brunk have taken in the last few years. There will be talented big men to be had, and Indiana will have scholarships open. If Jackson-Davis leaves, it seems that acquiring a big who is ready to play minutes would be paramount.

This brings us back to Miller, a player former Rivals evaluator Corey Evans once told me is “every bit as good as Trey Kaufman.” He’s a 6-foot-9, skinny sharpshooter who will likely only see spot minutes, if he gets on the floor at all, as a freshman. But for this team’s future, he is an important piece that by year two would likely be ready to step into a big role.

Indiana has already missed on forwards Kaufman, Bryce Hopkins, and Trey Patterson in the class of 2021.

This is not someone Archie Miller wants to see get away.

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