home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


November 15, 2019

Archie Miller

Bloomington, Indiana

ARCHIE MILLER: A big challenge on Saturday night here with Troy. They're a terrific three-point shooting team. Shoot it from five positions, terrific coach, obviously. There's a change-over there with new personnel and whatnot. But they're going to present a lot of problems and identifying what we're not doing well right now, they do well, which is obviously making the three-point shot. I think they're maybe eighth nationally right now in where their points is generated from, which is the line, and we're not doing a very good job at all in defending the line, and that can become a very tricky thing, regardless of who you play. So for us we've really talked a lot about where we're at defensively right now. We have to try to work hard again today and tomorrow to prepare to be better, and we're definitely going to have three-point defense awareness and some things like that. It's definitely going to be the thing that's on the top of our head.

Q. Is it the defense beyond the three-point line or is that the main issue right now?
ARCHIE MILLER: It's a result of a lot of different things. You know, you give up three-point shots in a lot of different areas, it's not just the other team is making them. We're not good enough in terms of our transition defense in terms of getting back. When it does cross the floor right now and we're in the half court, our ability to get the ball under control and initial actions and whatnot that are coming at us, our spacing and where we're at positioning wise is off. When you give up threes you're usually late on a lot of things, and I think right now that's just a byproduct of where we're at as a team in terms of the guys on the floor and the experience level of some of them and some of the combinations of players out on the floor, as well, getting out there for the first time together. But we're not very in sync. Not that we're not trying or have the right intention, it's just at the end of the day we're learning right now and we're learning a hard lesson. Regardless of who you play, the three-point line equalizes things. In particular our last two games that's been a big, big problem. But it's not just they're shooting open shots. There's a lot of things that go into that. But I would say the initial base of our defense is too spread and our ability to get turned around and convert and be in position is too late. When you're a reactive team defensively, you're going to foul, as well.

So when you add those two numbers up right now for our team here early in the season, it's not like they're bad. Those are two things that are genuinely right now -- regardless of who you are, if those are two things you're doing poorly, fouling and defending the three, it comes down to your readiness and it comes down to your ability to get your team to understand how important it is to be able to get set and present the -- set the tone, so to speak, on the ball, and your positioning is your help, so to speak, and not running around, late reacting. You're playing I don't know how many different guys, maximum we've had available for the game. I think it's probably 10, and all 10 are playing. So you have some combinations out there that are going to make some mistakes. We understand that. We have some youth that are going to make some mistakes. But I think our veteran guys need to use their voices a little bit more as well and start to help, be more of a communicative team.

I think that's something else if we can make a jump and get some more guys communicating better I think we become a better team right away. It's correctable. It will get corrected. It has to get corrected, and that's something that we're obviously -- we're very aware of.

Q. Is there any more update on Devonte and his timetable to come back? And with Devonte out the past couple games, how are you making sure that he is going along with the defensive adjustments that the rest of the team has had to make in the response to the first three games?
ARCHIE MILLER: Well, Devonte is doing better. He was able to practice portions of practice yesterday. I wouldn't say he's unlimited in everything that he's doing, but he's the best he's been since the beginning of October, and hopefully today is another day that he can build on. When it comes to his experience level and what he knows how to do, you would hope to think that some of the strings we're stressing right now he can bring some experience to the table right now and add some value.

But without question, I don't care who you are, it's very unfair. Devonte has practiced maybe on a count of one hand throughout the course of a season. He's yet to participate in any live action against an opponent, whether that's a scrimmage, exhibition. So to say that he's ready to hit on all cylinders is just unfair. But his experience level, the amount of games that he's played, you would hope some of the things we're talking about he's very aware of and hopefully when he does get back in there he brings another guy to the table that can add some more chemistry, some more symmetry out there of playing with one another on both ends of the floor.

Q. How have you seen Rob's progress from the injury playing off the bench and how close is he to maybe returning to the starting lineup?
ARCHIE MILLER: You know, Rob right now is making his way back, and he started to build some practices and I think you're starting to see his minutes starting to go up. Did some good things for us in this last game in particular. He's nowhere near 100 percent in terms of what we expect of him and what we're looking for. He's shaking some rust off on both ends of the floor, so to speak. Coming off of our game I believe Tuesday night, I think he felt better, took some nicks and bruises maybe later in that game that have caused some other things to be bothered by him, and he's not feeling well right now to boot.

To say Rob has obviously hit the ground running and he's continuing to have some smooth sledding as he works back in, that's not the case with him. He's really been derailed with a few things here early.

But that being said, he's so important to what we do. He's a tone setter, so to speak, for our team defensively. He's yet to really be able to give us that, whether he's not starting or whether -- I think at certain points of the game in our last couple games when we've really needed some pick-me-up, he's been the guy to give it to us, but he's that guy that really at the start to the finish he's a guy we count on to bring a toughness level to us and to bring a guy that everyone watches and knows how impactful he is with all that he brings to the table in particular his defensive leadership and whatnot. Rob is making his way back. We'll let the time and, so to speak, the game repetitions and whatnot that he's a part of sort of tell the story of how close he is to being back to where he normally is.

But as of right now, Rob is kind of fighting through not a very comfortable preseason, and then a very kind of difficult start here to our nonconference slate in terms of his health and physical well-being. I think hopefully he'll be 100 percent at some point in time as we keep going here. He's got to get over a little bad luck, but we're hopeful that he's getting a little bit closer with his original injury. I think that's feeling a little bit better.

Q. With Rob coming back and getting more minutes and Devonte making his way back, how important do you think when you look back on those first couple games where Armaan got a ton of playing time, when you look back and down the road, how important do you think those minutes are going to be?
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, silver lining and everything, and that's been the case. It always will be the case. And a guy like Armaan benefiting from more opportunity is only going to do him a lot better, whether that's his positive contributions or when he's out there learning the Hardaway, so to speak. But he's out there -- thrown in there by the fire here early, and I've never known a player not to find a way to make that a positive. For our team and our overall confidence level and our depth and what we're doing, Armaan right now is the coach and our staff. He's been treated as if he's a major, major impactful guy to what we're doing. We're coaching him that way.

I think here in his last couple games, we don't want his confidence level to go down just based on hey, he didn't make a couple shots here and there. There's so many other things that are going on out there that he's trying to figure out, as all young players are. But he's such a smooth basketball player, know what I mean? I think when you talk about being a basketball player, Armaan is the true definition of that. He's a terrific player. He really has great feel. He makes some instinctual plays as a young guy that you don't take for granted as a coach.

We're really, really happy where he's at. Want to keep pushing him to get better. Definitely the opportunity he's getting here in October and November put him in a position hopefully to get some of those speed bumps out of the way as he heads towards January and February. But silver lining and everything, next man up, that's why he came here, and he's having an opportunity right now to really impact our team positively in a lot of ways, and he has not missed -- he's not really missed a beat on that, from the first day he's been here to right now. He's a key part to this team.

Q. Kind of along those same lines, with all these different lineups and rotations that you have been forced to use, have you learned anything from what you may be able to use later on and has anyone surprised you by playing a different role?
ARCHIE MILLER: I'm not sure. I think our team -- I'm not sure there's any real gaps in between with this group or this player is so much different than -- it's just kind of like we're trying to get everyone to bring their own little toolbox to work, and if we can get each individual guy to add to that, great, which they're all trying to do. But if we can get everybody to bring a couple things that they really do well to the table, they're all going to play an important role. Our rotation is a work in progress I would say here early in the year because we are trying to play a lot of guys, which I think is going to benefit our team later on in bigger games when you trust more people to play impactful minutes when it happens and when you deal with injuries or foul trouble or whatnot, that the next guy that's in there, he's comfortable.

I like what a lot of our guys are doing. Each guy is bringing something to the table right now. I think that helps our team. Not that each guy, we're not stressing the overall importance of improvement, but I would say here early on there's been some real guys that have really sort of hung than hat on what we're asking them to do. I think Race Thompson has been a real big lift for our team here early in the year. He's added real, real value of not only blue collar work but winning tough plays, and that's big, when you're bringing guys in that are being able to bring that to the table.

But I could go down the line and mention every player on the positives they're bringing and who stands out a little bit more. Has anyone surprised me? I wouldn't say anybody has really surprised me at all. I think our staff is genuinely just trying to figure out how we can navigate each guy's niche, and that's not easy to do.

But right now the attitude is good. Our coachability is good. I believe as guys look around the locker room right now and look around at each other and feel like we've got a chance if we can put this thing together here with everybody in the same direction, so to speak, we have a lot of guys in here that can play, and I think we're in a competitive environment every day because of it in practice, which hopefully benefits us, as well.

Q. Just in postgame press conferences you've been pretty blunt when assessing the team's defense. Have you noticed a different response from them in practice when you use that kind of rhetoric? How have you adjusted or seen the way they've adjusted to the words at that you've been using describing them?
ARCHIE MILLER: I think we're starting to get the message across a little bit more after last Saturday -- or I'm sorry, not last Saturday. As last Saturday finished, I think that was coming to the forefront. I think as we played on Tuesday, we were more disappointed in our defense on Tuesday night, especially early in the game and our first half. As we've watched film and talked as a group and as we have approached the practice floor, I think there's more of an awareness now that we'd better get this thing going in the right direction, and it's not a lack of willingness, it's more of a lack of accountability, it's more of a lack of at the end of the day our guys understanding like it's really, really important right now to get a couple things corrected quickly, and then the next thing you know I think some things will get buttoned up.

But the effort level in practice is good. Now I think the attention to detail has got to be a lot better, and I think that's where we're at right now. There's more detail, there's more accountability coming off certain things that we're doing that little things really matter. I think that's probably the one thing with this group that you can't take for granted is there's so much inexperience in terms of game togetherness and game pressure and game repetitions.

You know, at times out there you're going to have Trayce and Armaan together. Two freshmen in November plus three veteran guys sometimes is hard because you're in sync; one guy is not where he's supposed to be, you break down. If you have two, that's fine. But if you have those two guys on the floor with a Jerome, that's three. How about race in there, that's really four. So we have some of this out there where the symmetry and the connectedness of our group isn't experienced in the games, whether they've been here for a year or a couple years or just six months. We've got to get that out of the way right now and start to put together, like I said, a little bit more. There's got to be more detail to what we're doing in teaching it, and there's got to be more detail in the accountability, and we have to start to see some improvement, and then I think I think we'll get a different result in terms of our defensive effort.

Without question that's the one thing that I can't stress enough right now that's not ready to play big-time college basketball right now is our defense. And that's got to be in check because the offense will go away at some point in time in a game, as well. You're going to have those games where you're not going to play well, shoot well, whatever it may be, and that other thing, that's always got to be there for us. We're doing some good things, though. I think if you add it all in, there's some things that do stand out. Our rebound margin right now is something I think our guys understand we have to be good at that. We're not turning it over as much, which is equally as important with an inexperienced group, trying to really define that.

But no question about it, defensively is the calling card right now in November is to raise that level each game, and tomorrow night will be a huge test. You shoot the three, anything can happen. I mean, especially if you're shooting it from five spots. It can create a lot of problems, and for us, that's a big bull's eye right now in terms of can you answer that bell here in our next chance. Can we be better in that area.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297