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INDIANA UNIVERSITY BASKETBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
April 25, 2017
ARCHIE MILLER: Well, I think you have to emphasize what you emphasize every day you're going to get in many ways, and I think taking care of the basketball is a huge thing. Not just by your point guard or your perimeter people. It's everyone has to value the ball, and it starts every day with your practice habits and the things that you emphasize.
I thought our team, in general, last year, I was very comfortable with us in how we played. We didn't turn the ball over as much as maybe ever in maybe my head coaching career day. I could be wrong on that, but I felt like we really took care of the ball and shared it rally well last year. So it will be the same emphasis here. You can't win at this level. You can't do any of the things that you want to do obviously, by turning the basketball over. So it will be a big emphasis as well.
Q. What's your first month been like? As much of a whirlwind as I would imagine?
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, I think there are a lot of things coming and going. You're meeting a lot of people. You're meeting a lot of former players and people that are important to the program. You're focused as much as you possibly can on your current team and your roster and your workouts and all of those things. Then the big elephant in the room is recruiting. When you take over and you get ready to get started and try to put your stamp on things from recruiting, you're spending a lot of time on that. So I expected it though.
I think the one good thing, like I said, when I first got here, I wasn't going to try to do a million things right away. I was just trying to do the little things that we needed to get done with our players here. Getting our staff intact, making sure we have the staff that we needed to have here. I feel we have that.
And we're getting ready to finish up recruiting here in April. And I think once that happens, hopefully we can really start to get our feet on the ground, get our summer program ready to go. Start to get our May and June program ready. July will be right around the corner again, and then we'll be heading into the fall.
So it's going to be -- I think every month's going to feel the same. You're just going to be on the run quite a bit.
Q. You mentioned recruiting. You didn't talk specifically about anything, but how important when you take over a new job to hit the ground running in April? How important is that for you to formulate the plan for what you want to do?
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, the two live periods are always a crap chute. And I don't necessarily mean that by if I took over the Indiana job or if I took over another job, when you change jobs and sort of the landscape changes, these two evaluation weekends can become in many ways non-impactful if you're not organized because you're just looking at hundreds and hundreds of kids. You have to try to be focused.
If it was a normal year, you're going out there and you're really, in many ways just evaluating young guys, but you're hammering in the guys you've recruited for a couple years. That's not the case. We're having to make evaluations and we're also trying to get in on certain guy, and we're also trying to do a great job with the underclass people as much as we can before we see them in July and get them to campus in June.
So we just want to be efficient in the period. Stay with the guys that we like, and then continue to evaluate the young guys. As we continue to get more information on some guys that stand out that maybe we weren't aware of, you kind of play it by ear.
But it is a big class for us. We're going to have a lot of opportunity on the floor for people coming in in that class. So we're attractive right now. You know, we just have to be very, very smart and make sure that we're not wasting a lot of time.
Q. I know you talked about the inside out in the press conference, and I know you've looked at programs around the state. How is that message being received?
ARCHIE MILLER: All positive. I think I didn't leave -- once we got done with the incoming class from 2017, and once we stopped spending, I don't want to say spending time, but once we were done with that class and they were solidified and we didn't have to go back in or do more work with them, in particular spent a lot of time in the state for 3 days. Only had about three or 4 days left in the period and just spent them in the state.
We were able to hit multiple high schools and coaches and say hello. We were able to get some of the recruiting days and contact days that we were allowed to do, we did. I think it's been very positive. I think in general what I feel is the state of Indiana, the high school coaches in Indiana. Would love for Indiana to be good every time, and I don't anticipate that changing.
Q. What is the biggest surprise you've learned in your first month (Inaudible)?
ARCHIE MILLER: I don't know if anything has really surprised me. I think one thing that's surprised me to the positive is how our current guys, team on campus, has responded to the change, also has been very mature about their approach. And I thought that was very, very -- sometimes it's difficult to get anything done in 3 weeks when you don't know somebody. But I feel like with their approach and what we've tried to put together for a four-week period of time, they took advantage of it and they improved.
We had some guys do some nice things in the three or four-week period of time on the court with us. I was really pleased with that. Their acceptance of what we were trying to do was very good. That was surprising. I'm not really sure that there's been a whole lot in the first month or so on the job that I didn't know was coming, whether that be good or bad though.
ARCHIE MILLER: I think one thing that's always challenging is you're trying to get to know your current team and their families and their coaches. I think what's been challenging is the amount of time you don't have to do everything that you want to do. So especially with this last part of the period being over on Sunday, the fact that finally I don't have to leave the campus or staff doesn't have to leave, it should give us our first breath of like, okay, we can sit here and we don't have to leave the office. We don't have to get scattered around. We can actually be together here and start to get some things going. But the amount of time, you want to invest in it, but you just can't.
Q. (Inaudible) talk about the roster, just how much have those guys responded (Inaudible) talked about in particular about that 2017 class.
ARCHIE MILLER: We're very pleased about the three guys that have accepted to stay. Like I said, one of the things in recruiting is you work so hard to get a kid to say yes, that when something like this goes down, you're reluctant. You're reluctant to trust again. You're reluctant to do certain things as a family, and those guys welcomed us with an open door.
We sat down. We talked about a number of things. I think the one good thing, the one common thing that everyone should feel good about here is I think all three families and all three kids in general love Indiana. They love Indiana basketball. They love the passion of the fan base. The university clearly stood out in their mind with the education that those guys were excited and didn't want to relinquish that. I think they just needed some confidence in what was coming, sort of some of the same things that they sort of signed up for on the first go round.
So we're very pleased and also very thankful that those guys continue to trust us, because when you're building a program and you're trying to do it your way, the one thing that really can get tricky is when you have to add mass numbers and the class, so to speak, isn't broken down as it normally would be year over year. We have seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen.
In many ways, that class, if it didn't show up, would really end up being about a nine-person overhaul in about a two-year period of time. How that tiers down and how you get better with freshmen going to sophomores and sophomores to juniors, that improvement is really important in the development of a program. Not that guys can't leave early shall or whatever, but the rock, the foundation of what you're doing is a core group of guys getting better and getting older. You have experience in front of young people that are coming in. Those three guys not coming would really put us in a situation, in my opinion, where we're really looking at heavy, heavy turnover with young people in the near future.
Q. You mentioned that experience, how critical was it having (Inaudible) what were those conversations like?
ARCHIE MILLER: Collin and I had a number of talks. Everything that stands out, everything that was told to me about him as a person, as a leader, he's a key cog in the program's wheel was true. It didn't take long to figure out what he's about, what he's been through, and what he wants to be about now is, I think, a better finish. An opportunity to help establish something here on the front end where he can be attached to something new.
He's been good. He's really good. He's worked very, very hard in rehab. He's got a long way to go. He's chosen to stay here all summer and not take any time away. He's chosen to stay here all summer and continue to rehab and stay on campus with our staff. So I think that's going to be a big, big help for us as we continue to build towards the summertime when everybody's here. He's going to have a really good feel for what we're doing.
Q. As a follow-up on that, do you have a time line of when you expect him to participate in the May-June workouts?
ARCHIE MILLER: He participated in workouts this spring. He didn't miss one. He was available for every workout. He's sort of on an every other day approach, not an everyday approach. We limited all contact in the spring. He was basically in a functional basketball workout setting, no competition. Win competition and all that stuff, I'm not in a rush. I don't think anyone's in a rush to put him in a situation. The goal will be for him in November to feel as good as he can when we get ready to start the season.
Q. Do you have a sense at this point, a better sense of what (Inaudible)?
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, I think all four guys now that the semester's getting ready to end are all getting ready to dive into the NBA process, which is all of them have received feedback from the advisory committee. They all understand where they're at. OG is obviously moving in a direction of going to be evaluated physically by the NBA, and then he'll go off into the draft. The other three guys are going to have to go through the process of getting feedback directly from the teams and hopefully at some level find out if they're invited to the combine.
If you're invited to the combine, obviously, I think that's a big step. It puts you in position to feel like you're one of the 60 guys that potentially they invite has a chance to be drafted. If not, you have to continue to evaluate what teams are telling you and workouts, meetings, whatever they're going to get.
So I think all four of them are confident. I know OG's on his way. I think Thomas has continued to really push towards finding answers out, and I know James and Rob once they finish up the semester here, so to speak, with some finals, think those guys are going to get their opportunity as well.
Q. I think you said previously (Inaudible) now that you've seen the guys move around on the court, is anyone kind of sticking out or impressing you?
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, I think all the guys did some good things. Getting my eyes on De'Ron this spring really put me in, I guess, an aggressive mode with him in terms of what he has to do for next year. He's going to be a major, major league player for us next year. The opportunity is there.
He should be one of the most improved players in all of college basketball if we can get done what we want to get done. It starts with his work ethic in these next, I guess, 12 weeks physically. He's got to change his body. He's got to change his motor. He's got to prevent injuries and do some things which he didn't have the opportunity to do a year ago as he entered campus.
That's a big step for me to getting a chance to see him and understand. I'd love to put him on a plan, and he's going to do that. I think he'll be here all summer, which is a big commitment for him.
I was surprised I hadn't seen Devonte Green play a lot. Just in watching our workouts with him, he's sort of been in the mode of some of the guys I've coached in the past. He's got some stuff to him. He's physical. He can really get the ball to the rim. We need guys like that. James Blackmon's probably the best shooter I've ever been around, just in terms of what we were able to accomplish with him in three weeks and watching him workout in our framework and watching him shoot and do some of the things that he did, and looking at his numbers. Probably best numbers I've seen in my time doing some of the stuff that we were doing.
Rob also shot the ball particularly well this spring, and he's in tremendous shape. Great character level. Josh Newkirk, tremendous worker. All these guys have been in the gym extra, but I think Josh brought a real communicated -- he communicated. He had a vibe about him when he showed up that the workouts were important. I think that stuff all helped.
I think Juwan Morgan has a chance to be a special player for us as well. Not that all these guys don't have their positives or whatnot. But off the top of my head, as I look at roles and things they're going to be asked to do, I think Juwan could be another guy with an opportunity to really break out as a player with how we play. Watching his skillset and what he's doing with the ball in his hands and some things, I think he could really blossom with how we play. I think he's going to have a lot of decision making with it.
Just off the top of my head, that would be some things.
Q. With your style and philosophy, how do you envision this team (Inaudible)?
ARCHIE MILLER: I don't know about that. Typically we've been really versatile. I'd say versatility at the three, four and five for us where guys can play different spots, guard different spots. I don't know if that's the case with this group.
I know this, I think if all the perimeter guys are back, and incoming guy like Al, even Justin Smith, I think we'll have a very, very talented back court. I think we'll have a very experienced back court. I also think we can have some depth in the back court.
Looking at our front court, like I said before, I think Juwan really fits how we play. Being able to space the floor is going to be something that's vital to what we're doing. He's going to give us a guy that I think can really do that. And I think De'Ron is going to be a guy that's going to look a little bit different as well.
But I don't know yet how we're going to have to play because you really don't know until you start getting out there and seeing what's effective. But I feel like we're going to have, with a little bit of luck, I think we're going to have a team that can play a couple different ways. I think that our guards should really have a beat in many ways, much improved in terms of the decision making because of what we're going to ask them to do. I don't know if depth-wise and all that. But I feel like this will be a blueprint to build off of. It won't be one that we're restricted. We're going to play the way we want to play, and the guys that are in the program as they get older, that really helps them. You don't want to restrict things and keep teaching new things. You want those guys to be experienced as they get older.
I'm not sure yet. All things go well, health and all that stuff, I think our guards, that's going to be where our strength is.
Q. (Inaudible) on De'Ron, do you think (Inaudible).
ARCHIE MILLER: De'Ron has terrific hands and footwork, and I think the whole key to his game and his development starts with his body. He doesn't really have to touch a ball here for four or five weeks. We've got to get his body and his motor ready to go for heavy minutes. He can't play heavy minutes right now and that will hurt him.
When he can play 25 plus minutes a game without fouling, you're going to see a guy that can do a lot of different things. Yes, post, operate off the post with him, offensive rebound, has a great motor, get fouled, he's a good free-throw shooter, so get fouled. Defensively be able to be a presence for us, be physical inside with his size. Also do some things in transition that he hasn't done before as well. So I think there are some things that we're going to ask him to do, where he's going to have to really grow up.
But it starts up here and it starts with his body. He's got great hands and feet. He's got great hands and feet. We've just got to find a way that when you guys see him in October and November that you say, wow, what happened to him. If you're not saying that, then we didn't get it done. That's just the way it's going to be. If we say that, then you're like wow, he looks like a new man, then he's going to have a chance to have a good year.
Q. On the challenges, I know you haven't been an oversigning guy in the past and you've inherited that situation, but that whole being able to get the scholarship numbers, is that a big challenge?
ARCHIE MILLER: It's not a big challenge yet. We still have guys now that one's gone, and we have three more guys that could walk in tomorrow and say I'm not coming back. So when that happens you're kind of looking around and saying, now we're one under, so we have a lot of things coming and moving, but I don't anticipate it being channelling. I think it's going to work itself out.
Communicating is big this time of year anyway, especially heading into the off-season. I met with the guys a ton on the front end. We're going to meet with them a ton on the back end as well as they get ready to part for summer break.
So I think those things will sort themselves out as they normally do. We had a couple instances in Dayton where we were over, and at the end of the day we ended up being under two and three when it was all said and done. So you never can tell. But we'll sort it out. We inherited and we'll fix it.
Q. When we talked to you last month you talked about non-conference schedule and how it's important for seeding in the NCAA Tournament. I know there is no sort of perfect formula, but in your mind, what is the idea of chemistry in terms of building off non-conference schedule and the really big games? Maybe filling in with the right kinds of opponents that you find here at home?
ARCHIE MILLER: I think that's probably the right way of putting it. The right kind of opponents that all serve a great purpose for the development of the team. Number one, you have to put yourself on a marquis stage as much as you can. When it starts to talk about the opportunity to play in Assembly Hall, everybody that we bring in here has to have great purpose, whether that's a national opponent or a game we're preparing to play a specific style of a team coming from a different league that we'll see later down the road, or just in terms of you're building your non-conference resumÃ© around numbers at times. Sometimes you're looking at those numbers and saying this number can't go here. We want to play this number right here. And looking for those perfect fits.
But it's got to be done with great intelligence. It's got to be done with great pride and the development of your team. It also has to have your fans excited about what you're doing. This year we'll take on a certain level what we can pull off. Down the line, though, I think you'll see a different model with what we're trying to do. It's going to take some time. You're not able to recreate the wheel one day at a time. I think we'll have an opportunities for home at homes. We'll have opportunities to play, and whether it be events like Maui or the Bahamas one day, I think there are going to be a lot of those things that are on the docket moving forward.
It's going to take us a little bit of time to get this year's situation kind of as good as we can get it, and then after that, we'll really start to build year after year in terms of having things set and done in stone for years to come when we're not really worried about it, and everybody knows what's on the horizon.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports