Miller on De’Ron Davis: “The opportunity is there”

  • 04/26/2017 8:16 am in

De’Ron Davis had an up and down season as a freshman at Indiana.

The 6-foot-10 center remained in Denver last summer to finish up academic requirements before arriving in Bloomington just before the start of classes last fall.

Missing summer workouts put Davis behind in terms of strength and conditioning as did a couple of minor injuries. As a result of being behind, his minutes were limited.

But Davis also showed signs of being a player with All-Big Ten potential. He was unstoppable at times in the post and when he avoided foul trouble, he provided a true back to the basket scoring option for the Hoosiers.

After spending the last month meeting, evaluating and working out Indiana’s returning players, Archie Miller said Tuesday that this offseason will be critical for Davis.

“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,” Miller said. “He’s going to be a major, major league player for us next year. The opportunity is there.”

The plan is for Davis to remain on campus all summer, which Miller called a “big step.”

“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,” Miller explained. “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.”

The main priority for the new coaching staff and director of athletic performance Clif Marshall will be getting Davis into better shape to allow his minutes to increase.

Miller said Davis has “terrific hands and footwork,” but also noted that he’s got to be able to play more without fouling. As a freshman, Davis averaged seven fouls per 40 minutes.

“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,” Miller explained. “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.”

The defensive part of the puzzle is something all four of Indiana’s coaches discussed on Tuesday.

Assistant coach Bruiser Flint, who worked for Kentucky coach John Calipari for several years at UMass, said that he and Calipari agree that having a post presence is essential in building a team.

“One of the things we always talked about was having post presence,” Flint said. “We think if you don’t have post presence, you’re a little bit of a fraud.”

With a full summer ahead of him to improve, Davis has the opportunity to step up and be that post presence in Bloomington. Sophomore Thomas Bryant could also return, but is currently working through the NBA draft process after entering his name without hiring an agent.

If Bryant opts to stay in the draft, the role and expectations for Davis will immediately increase.

“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,” Miller said. “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.”

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  • SCHoosier

    Love Coach Miller’s bluntness and approach to development of DD. This kid needs to be pushed…Coach calling his work ethic into question. Let’s see if DD wants to become a big time player.

  • bball at nick’s

    “He’s got to prevent injuries.” Makes me think injury prevention is a skill in its own right, and one that can be taught. Music to my ears.

  • Joel Wonder

    These quotes make it sound like TB will not be back.

  • N71

    Sure seems to be sounding that way. Oddly I’m ok with it if that means DeRon is going to play a ton. He was highly effective with the time he was given, Archie hit the nail on the head, reduce fouls, injury, and fatigue and DeRon will be great.

  • Chi-Town Hoosier

    I didn’t view it as necessarily “questioning” his work ethic, but more of challenging him for the next 12 weeks. As noted, De’Ron didn’t have the full offseason and had some injuries and couldn’t transform his body during season play.

  • PBzeer

    “If you’re not saying that, then WE didn’t get it done. That’s just the way it’s going to be.” – my emphasis

    I like this quote, and the attitude it presents.

  • Zora Clevenger

    My preference would be that Thomas comes back – don’t forget this was the same kid who we expected to be a monster last year after a promising freshman year. He lost his way last year, but he still has lots of potential that just didn’t develop last year. Not a stretch to expect that development next year. We’ll be fine without him, but both he and the IU program would benefit if he stayed another year.

  • inLinE6

    That is actually true. Stats shows that some players have repeated injuries while some just never have major injuries. And when someone gets major injury, the chance for another one is actually higher than those without injury history.

  • inLinE6

    De’Ron will certainly be playing a ton next year. But he could’ve played alongside of Bryant. And our post will be thin if Bryant leaves.

  • inLinE6

    Not unless the feedback he receives suggests that he has no chance being selected in the 1st round. At this point it’s maybe 50/50.

  • I’d agree that’s the safe bet at this point.

  • Definitely an interesting concept. Looking at OG, I wondered if maybe he never learned to land correctly after jumping. I mean, he had two injuries simply landing after dunks — could that have been something simple missing in his mechanics, like maybe the analog of not lifting with your knees and getting back problems?

  • Yeah, not questioning his work ethic to my mind, just pushing him to work hard going forward. As in, “You can be a great player if you’re willing to put in some hard work.” I’m sure DD appreciates that, I know I would have at his age. Heck, I’d appreciate it today at 51.

  • SCHoosier

    Coach actually referenced his work ethic during one of h is recent interviews…talking about how DD has to change his body.

  • Chi-Town Hoosier

    Yes we are talking about the same interview but just viewing it differently. I watched the interview and know what he said, but I don’t think it would make sense for Archie to come in to IU and tell De’Ron that “hey after 4 weeks of watching you, you need a better work ethic.” I think Arch understands some of DD’s limitations with injuries and getting to campus late last year and he sees this summer as an opportunity to work on the things that he didn’t have a chance to during the season.

  • Larry Brown

    Only other players over 6’7″ will be the Prill and Moore. That’s a problem

  • gr8iufan

    I know it was in a different league but CAM had a team with no scholarship players over 6-6 and they made the tourney. Went 25-8

  • KelvinSampson87

    One of the things we always talked about was having post presence,” Flint said. “We think if you don’t have post presence, you’re a little bit of a fraud.”

    Is this a jab at Crean’s system or am I reading into it too much?

  • Zora Clevenger

    Don’t think Archie meant it as such, but any coach who talks about competent defense is de facto criticizing Crean.

  • iugradmark

    I think he is likely to get invited to the workouts and will move along. We could use his size but I don’t blame him for pursuing his dreams.

    The surprise to me is that folks are starting to think JBJ might be back. I still find that hard to believe with all the injuries but if he doesn’t get encouragement he may decide to finish out at college. No comments about Rob at all so far.

  • marcusgresham

    Could be simple physiology, too—everything on OG was big….except his ankles.

  • marcusgresham

    I would say at the least it’s prudent from the coaching staff’s point to prepare for life without him and if he comes back it’s a bonus.

  • I think it’s entirely possible that JBJ simply sees Archie as someone who can really teach him some of the things he needs to improve to have a better shot at a pro career. At the top of the list would likely be defense. I don’t think there’s as much discussion about RJ because it’s pretty much assumed he’ll be back — and he was singled out by Archie along with the other select players. The fact that TB wasn’t mentioned at all as player, other than his decision to test the waters, I think is what has some people thinking he might be gone.

  • TomJameson

    Yeah … the different league part is huge though (pun intended). The B1G is so physical, and I would absolutely hate to see Hartman playing center again, that’s not the way to end a career.

    BTW…. a cam is a part of an engine that regulates valves in an internal combustion engine, or an average (imo) quarterback in the NFL. IU’s new coach came with his own nickname, and it’s Archie. 🙂

    Just kidding man, call him what you will, as long as it’s the IU head basketball coach.

  • TomJameson

    I’m certain that TB would be better served to come back, and I’d be willing to bet that most of his feedback will be along those same lines. But I’m also pretty certain he’ll try the pro route anyway … and for his own personal reasons.

    Now JBJ is the one I’m starting to waver on. I’ve always said that he is gone, but now I’m beginning to see a way that JBJ might come back. Archie really puts it on the line, and he seems pretty persuasive.

  • TomJameson

    I hate it that you’re right. 🙁

  • Jeremy

    Ya, and Moore is rail thin.

  • gokartmozart89

    Stating he needs to put in the work is different than questioning his willingness to do so. His body isn’t going to change over night just because he closed his eyes and clicked his crimson sneakered heels together. He needs to hit the gym. It’s a simple statement – one that’s made often about underclassmen throughout college ball – and I think you’re reading too much into it.

  • Lelan P

    I was saying the same thing about OG. He always seem to land straight legged and never bent his knees to cushion the blow. I believe he’s still raw potential and will probably be placed in the D League to improve his skills. The thing will DD is that he looked like at times he was struggling to get up and down the court. I’m wondering if his knees were an issue or maybe his conditioning. He show signs of getting better as the year went along but I believe AM has a point about how he conducts himself and that he sees the potential to get better than he was last year. I see a lot of upside to his game but a few extra inches on his vertical jump will help him out tremendously.