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March 6, 2020

Archie Miller

Bloomington, Indiana

THE MODERATOR: Coach, go ahead and make an opening statement about the Wisconsin game, senior day, and then we'll open it up for a few quick questions.

ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, coming into our last regular season home game, you know, it's really the finale of an incredible Big 10 season. Being a part of the league is humbling to say the least. The amount of up and downs that every team has gone through, and to sort of at our group going into the last game of the regular season, ironically playing Wisconsin who we started it off with. You know, the different paths that everyone has taken to sort of get here has been -- you know, really as a coach you look at our league and just the utmost respect.

That goes into Wisconsin to say the least. There is lot of great candidates for coaches of the year and all kind of stuff, but I think when Greg Gard has done with his group through the course of this season has been as impressive as any.

The departure of players and then the addition of players and sort of working his team, to be playing the way they're playing right now for an opportunity to get the one seed in the Big 10 tournament, you know, to me, their staff and in particular Greg, deserves a lot of credit.

Their players are playing at a terrific level all the way around. I told I think our staff the other day that as post-season comes, Wisconsin is one of those dangerous teams that regardless of who they play on a given night, you really have a tough matchup. They can do a lot of special things as their season continues to go.

For our guys, you look at senior day. It's always a special day here at Indiana. We have two guys finishing their last regular season home game.

And for our guys in general to be able to play off the Minnesota emotion and come into Saturday, you have to have some optimism that it's going to on an energetic group. Playing for a lot, like everyone is at this time of year.

To me, this is what March is about. It's a Big 10 heavyweight sort of game. It finishes off, like I said, an incredible regular season for our conference in general.

So I'll leave it at that.

Q. De'Ron and Devonte, what have they meant to you as two guys that went through a coaching change and stuck it out and worked with you for the last three years?
ARCHIE MILLER: Well, both guys started off their career here. And, you know, like you said, came into a situation where there was a transition. Transition is not easy. It's not easy at all.

And for those two guys in general, No. 1, coming through the last three years to do what they've done in school and be in a situation where both guys will graduate is great. It's a credit to them.

On the basketball floor they both have had unique paths to the floor through the course of the three seasons. De'Ron with a really serious career-threatening type injury, and then Devonte with some spectacular individual performances and runs.

For both guys, I think in general they've had great humility through the process. They have tried to understand what we've tried to do and have gotten better at times.

But like every guy, they go through up and downs, but finishing their regular season as seniors, I think both guys are primed to do some special things here in the next few weeks and to be a part of something they haven't been part of through the course of their career, through the first year, second or third.

To have a chance to maybe have their best season and to go out on a high note is something as a coach you look forward to seeing. But both guys, you know, you have individual relationships with your players. Those two guys will go long and far, and as long as I'm here, they're going to have an opportunity to really come back whenever they want and be a part of our program moving forward, which is always important.

Q. You talked about the job Greg Gard has done. Kobe King is no longer there, but Potter, Reuvers. Who are the guys that you look at that have really helped him keep themselves at that level?
ARCHIE MILLER: Well, the addition of Micah Potter, I think Wisconsin is 15 and 5 with him adding to the team. He's a terrific offensive weapon and player. Can go inside and out; shooting almost 46% from three on the season at 6'10". You at him with Reuvers, there is constantly a threat behind the three-point line with size with him and Reuvers and Aleem Ford.

That's where it's really trick see with of their concepts and the way that they play. They have a veteran core group with Trice and Davison and Pritzl. Those three in particular have played in a lot of games and they've played in a lot of big games, and they have really risen to the occasion.

With all of the maybe roster turnover, however you wants to look at it, whether it was an injury or whatever it may be, those guys are playing terrific ball.

Shooting the ball extremely well. D'Mitrik Trice is fantastic. Incredible game at Michigan. Shoots it; is their highest assist guy in terms of the way he plays off the ball screen.

And Davison and Pritzl are just true what I would call nuts and bolts guys that beat you in a lot of different ways, not just from the three-point line. But they have a great what I think chemistry right now in their roster.

They're playing their best basketball of the season here clearly at the end winning I think seven in a row coming in here. To me, like I said, I won't be surprised at all if Wisconsin doesn't make a couple really deep runs with some really big wins.

I think they can beat anybody in the country.

Q. You mentioned earlier about how Devonte has had some incredible highs in his four years. Confidence has always been a thing with him. Talk about just a little bit about what it's been like to try to deal with the mental part of keeping him up and getting him up and through everything he's gone through.
ARCHIE MILLER: I mean, he's like every other player. They view the eyes of the game their own way. I think Devonte really values his dynamic offensive ability. I think you've seen the guy out throughout the course of even this season and in games in his career where he's the best player on the floor. I think he envisions himself as that guy every time he takes the floor.

Some times it backfires on him, like it does all guys, but he has a lot of pride and self-confidence. You have to find a way for him to be able to be impactful. In our wins he's very impactful, and I think a lot of people would look and say, three-point line and his scoring bursts, but I think when he's been most impactful he's engaged in a lot of other areas.

In particular here recently again Minnesota in both wins. Even at Illinois a little bit. You look at our Penn State game. He's done some really good things defensively for us where he's picked up his level of toughness and competitiveness.

Our team has made a big jump in the last few weeks defensively, and a big part of is I think Devonte has added some value were on that end of the floor. Confidence may be -- I don't think he ever lacks for confidence. I think sometimes he lacks that it's not going to be that easy every game. Not just going to look the same every game and flash bomb threes or whatever.

He's aggressive right now, which we need. We need another guy who can score the ball. He's definitely our most impactful guy in shooting the ball when he gets on some of his runs. But just be solid. That's what we try to always be with him and try to have him value some of the little things that go on in the course of a game and how he can do it.

Just in talking to him yesterday about our defense coming out of Minnesota, I think he knows he can do a really good job in certain areas for us. We talked about some things even going into the Wisconsin game that I think if he makes a couple quick tweaks and improvements to some technique and what's he's doing, and he can get a little better.

Which at this point in time, you have an engaged guy, that's good.

Q. Going back to just kind of relationships, De'Ron is a guy who really tried to buy with you almost from the first day. I remember he stayed kind of that whole first summer. Had to battle through some injuries. How have you gotten to know him and what do you feel like you've learned about him watching him?
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, I think De'Ron is a really talented player. He's got unbelievable hands and footwork and can really pass the ball as a front court player. I think of all the years I've been here, this is the year that he's been the most steady in terms of his consistency and trying thing that we ask him to do.

There hasn't been a real -- sometimes he gets down on himself or sometimes the injuries really got him down, but he's a guy that I think when engaged has a huge impact on our team because he has a great personality, and guys generally flock him in terms of who he is.

He's older though, more mature. I think he realizes that winning is the most important thing for him to finish. But he's played a big role for us this course of this season, as he has in almost every year he's been here in terms of really impacting when he's good. He really helps us.

But he's a smart guy. He can really communicate. He's very articulate and he can really think the game and what thought. Unfortunately for him, I think when you're his type of a player and you deal with the type of injury which he had, which was a severed Achilles, that's a really tough thing to come back from at his age and his size.

I think he worked hard to get over that. Last year, as a junior, realistically I don't think he really had a fair shake at that recovery coming back November or December, because he tore it in January.

So you saw good things from him last year, but I don't think he was ever fully recovered. I think this off-season and being able to put himself in a situation to have the longest time since his freshman year of being able to kind of stay with it and work at it, he's given himself a chance to be a part of what we're doing every day now, with very little setbacks health-wise.

To his credit, he stayed with it. He's been in a really good place all year long, working his way into what we're doing, and he's played a big role in a lot of games and what we're doing.

I suspect as we keep mowing forward, De'Ron is going to continue to play a big role. But like I see back on a lot of players careers, I had injuries as a player, and you look back, Dang, I was really doing well. You look back at his start with us, to be derailed the way he was derailed for almost a year and a half, that's tough. It's a very difficult injury to come back from, especially when you're the type of player he is and body type that he is. He's a big guy.

But he's given us big time moments over the course of his career where he's really helped us, and he's done that this year as a senior. My hope is he continues to finish strong and has an opportunity to really play a lot more games.

THE MODERATOR: All right, coach, thank you.


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