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October 31, 2018

Archie Miller

Bloomington, Indiana

ARCHIE MILLER: We have another opportunity on Thursday to get out there and play against somebody else which is good this time year before we get really busy with the regular season schedule. It’s going to give some guys a good opportunity to get in the game and play so we’re excited about that. Having the chance to play a division one opponent in Loyola this past weekend gave us a lot of feedback in terms of what we have to keep working on and how we get better. It’s that time of year where we are getting excited to play.

Q. You mentioned that you were going to be without some guys tomorrow. Who are those guys going to be?
ARCHIE MILLER: It’s still to be determined but Devonte Green and Race Thompson will for sure be out. They’re limited as Devonte has a thigh bruise and Race has a groin injury. From there we are looking at other guys today, so they could be in or they could be out.

Q. What are some of things that you learned about the team from the scrimmage with Loyola?
ARCHIE MILLER: I think one thing that is unique about playing those scrimmages is that you don’t have a chance to scout. You don’t know what they’re do, so you have chance to rely on yourselves and see what you’re doing well and what you’re not. I thought defensively we are further along in our ability to play in the regular season. Just coming out of it, offensively I don’t like where we are right now but we have some to work it out. Just how much better we are going to have to get offensively alarmed me as I don’t think we played very good offensively in the game. Loyola did a lot of things we don’t normally see. They did a lot of switching whether that be going under screens or denying, it’s a style of play that we haven’t prepared for. It was good seeing us struggle so we know what we need to prepare for in the future.

Q. What did you see Phinese getting the start? How did he play and what are the things you like about him?
ARCHIE MILLER: Robert has an opportunity to play a lot of minutes with Devonte being out and it’s going to put a high premium on him moving forward. For him to get out there and watch him play, I really impressed. Number one he holds his own really well defensively and I think as a freshman he has advanced really well. He has a really study and strong body, he’s competitive, and Custer of Loyola was a good test for him and I think he did really well. We’re really excited to see him compete and he is going to have an opportunity early in the season to make his mark in terms of having a big role with the program.

Q. You were saying the other night that this isnt a team that spires to shoot three’s, but spires to get the foul and go the line. Is that by design right now?
ARCHIE MILLER: I think it’s who we spire to be as a team. A team that attacks in paint whether that be with a pass or a dribble. Getting fouled is a huge thing for us as a player like Romeo can get fouls and a guy like Juwan can draw fouls as well. It’s team that has to take really god threes off of assists not just launching them. We aren’t that type of team that has prolific shooting. I think we’re team that if we take good quality shots we’ll be a team that has good percentages.

Q. Something that stood out in the scrimmages stats was rebounding. Is that potentially a big strength?
ARCHIE MILLER: I don’t think Loyola was a traditional Big Ten team in terms of their size. They’re a really skilled and very good offensively but they didn’t try and pound us so we didn’t really get exposed in terms of the rebounding numbers. Now if you ask me if we have a chance to be a good rebounding I would say yes because I think Romeo at the guard spot is a terrific rebounder and I think Juwan has proven to be a good rebounded and just by committee on how we approach I think this team should be a pretty good rebounding team. I don’t know if we be an unbelievable offensive rebounding team but I think as a group we have a chance at being really good. Romeo and Zach have good size and they should be able to it up pretty good.

Q. Sort of a bigger picture question. We asked you a little bit about this at Media Day. Romeo is a guy whose teammates have said, for all the hype and expectation around him, you don't really notice it; it just sort of rolls off him. What makes him suited to not be affected by what swirls around a player of his calibre?
ARCHIE MILLER: He's probably been as highly publicized, or at least as watched and as hyped from a ninth or tenth grader as there probably has been a guy. So I think just in terms of in his experience, he's used to a lot of eyes on him. He's used to media attention. He's used to, so to speak, hype.

I don't think he's the type of kid, with the way that he's been raised and his parents and how they have approached things, that he's a guy that gets too high or low. He kind of stays in his own lane and works on his game, and he's a good teammate. He likes to deal. He's continuing to get better and better every day. That's kind of who he is and what he's been about. He's not a very flamboyant guy. I don't think he tries to stand out and I think that's a great quality to have as a guy like him. He's pretty humble when it comes to just being himself.

Q. Guys have talked about how Juwan, how driven he is to get back to the tournament, and how he's eager and willing to push buttons in practice. How much does your team with your aspirations need a guy like that who is willing to take on that role and be assertive?
ARCHIE MILLER: It's essential. I mean, you need your best players. Hopefully your best players are the voices of the team. They are the personality of the team.

I would say that, you know, Juwan has approached this season no different than he did last year where he's really trying to improve. He's trying to get better. But when you watch him in practice, he competes. He plays. He works. He's very intelligent. You know, just having him as a guy, I think that everyone looks at that they can rely on, they can count on, is very important.

The more guys that kind of go with him, the best are chance that we have as being a team that can, you know, hopefully reach its potential, so to speak. But he's doing a really good job on and off the floor, in the locker room. His play speaks for itself every day, which is great, but I also think just his habits every day. He has no slippage in terms of what he's doing. He's there. He pretty much, he sets the tone for us.

Q. Looking at no the just the expectations on Romeo but the whole freshmen class. When you talk to them about what tomorrow night is going to be like or Tuesday night is going to be like here, what do you tell them and how do you try and advise them?
ARCHIE MILLER: Well, the biggest thing is just do your job. Do what we're asking you to do every day and be good at that. You can't, on game day, all of a sudden turn into some, you know, Superman. I think the one thing is, all the freshmen are at different levels in terms of their learning, in terms of where they are at as a player. All of them have so much room to grow and develop that they can continue to get better.

I think their roles early could be one of which that maybe changes throughout the course of the season, just based on experience level that they are able to get now that they start to play in some games or they are getting to game action.

For us, we always have that all-hands-on-deck mentality, and it doesn't really matter. We've got to work to get the job done. I think there will be some jitters tomorrow. There usually is when you play in front of the crowd for the first time, but I thought our guys were really serious on Sunday. It was a really good approach for us. I thought our guys really were prepared to play. They were ready to go on Sunday when we scrimmaged, which sometimes in a closed scrimmage, you don't get that intensity because there's no people there, but I thought we did a pretty good job of just having a pretty good mindset. So hopefully that stays the same, and those guys just have to stay with it.

Q. You touched on the offensive rebounding. How much emphasis do you place on offensive rebounding versus getting back in transition defense? And then on three-point shooting, beyond Romeo, who do you see as guys that can knock down those shots?
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, rebounding is a delicate balance because I think if you ask me what's more important, it's definitely transition defense and being able to get back and not give teams easy baskets.

I think if you're going to go, you've got to really hold those guys to a standard of going. Typically we'll have three guys going to the glass at all times. It's odd because you have a guy like Romeo, who is a terrific athlete and is a great rebounding guard, but you lose some of that floor balance every once in a while when that happens.

So we have continue to really to teach our guys on what we're doing when the shot goes up. That's important. We should be a team that I think has a decent chance to rebound the ball. We pay attention to it, but definitely the getting back is of the utmost importance.

You know, shooting, it's always early in the season. You never really know where you're going to go in terms of shooting a ball just because you hope the quality of your shot gets better.

Right now, the quality of the shot probably isn't as good as you get more experience playing. I think all of our perimeter guys, got to have confidence. I think Robert and Devonte, Al, Romeo, those guys, should feel confident when they shoot.

Zach is a much-improved shooter when he has an opportunity. Evan Fitzner is a guy, I think that's one skill that you could see very early on that he's going to bring to the table. I wouldn't be surprised if Justin and Juwan don't play a little bit differently just in terms of their perimeter game.

It's something that's going to be evolving. We've got to take good shots, I think No. 1, and if you do that, we have a chance, but we've got to be a better shooting team than we were a year ago. That's obviously something that it's on our minds right now.

Q. What did Jerome Hunter do to get the gold jersey?
ARCHIE MILLER: He made a lots. He did, he made a lot of shots. Sometimes just having a guy that really strings a couple practices together, that scored the ball, he did, and that's what he did. He had a great week of practice just in terms of shooting it and being able to, you know, in our scrimmages or in our segments of live action, being able to get shots to go down. That's something I think that he'll bring to the table as a scorer here eventually in time. He's a big guy who can shoot the ball, just in terms of being able to get it off. He made a lot of shots.

Q. Along those same lines, two of the first three recipients of a gold jersey are members of the freshmen class. How encouraging to see young guys stepping up like that?
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, there's a competition level right now going on. I think part of it is Juwan has really set the tone. I think some guys are aware right now that he's set the tone on how he's going to do things.

I think maybe him missing a practice or two may have led to a gold jersey going to one of the other ones. Maybe he didn't have that extra day. But it is encouraging to watch some guys in practice be able to top the list. We've had multiple guys, really, just start to nip at the heels of a couple different people. It's good that we have some competition. It speaks, really, volumes, as you get to that first opportunity to play, whether it's tomorrow or Sunday about who is in the game the most and about who is getting it done. It kind of speaks to who is getting it done really in practice.

We hold it to our guys to pay attention to it and to be aware and I think they are. They are proud of it. I know Romeo and Jerome both were really proud they were able to get the jersey.

Q. You've been careful De'Ron going through this whole process even going back to last winter. I think you said he's back kind of in contact. How tight of a leash, I guess, do you have him on, not just tomorrow night, but in these first couple of weeks? Do you want to kind of build him towards something, or is it early on here, just really limiting him.
ARCHIE MILLER: He's in a building stage. He's back and he's cleared for five-on-five full contact now, which is a good thing, in practice. He was able to get right under ten or about ten minutes in our scrimmage, which is about what we planned.

We'll look at him tomorrow, with all things going well. We'll look at him tomorrow, maybe more between 12 and 15 minutes. Conditioning is a big thing for him right now, being able to just consistently being able to get up-and-down for two to two and a half minutes before we have to get him out, just due to the fact his conditioning is nowhere near.

So he's actually going to have to play himself -- practice himself and play himself into shape the best he can through games, which is hard to do. But the hope would be as a couple months would go by, he'd get more and more equipped to handle a bigger load with no setbacks.

But he's sort of right where we need him to be right now, and it's just a conditioning element, and it's him being consistent and not really missing any more time. If he just stays in there every day, I think he's going to continue to get a little bit more comfortable and feel better.

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