Johnson helping to set the tone in IU’s summer workouts

  • 06/05/2017 9:40 am in

Five Indiana players were on campus for the first summer school session – Robert Johnson, Juwan Morgan, De’Ron Davis, Curtis Jones and Collin Hartman.

The additional returnees were expected back on campus this past weekend with the freshmen arriving on June 13.

By the middle of the month, Archie Miller and the Indiana coaching staff should have their first roster on campus, in classes and working out.

Through the first four weeks of workouts, IU’s leading returning scorer is setting the tone for what Miller would like to see from the rest of his players as the summer moves along.

“We’re excited for Rob,” Miller said on Wednesday at Huber’s Winery. “He’s been great to work with. I think he’s going to be an important deal as we move into the rest of summer as the guys look for somebody to see how we’re doing things or how it’s been going since they’ve been gone. He’s giving them a great blueprint, I think, for when we start our second summer session.”

As a junior, Johnson quietly put together a very solid season statistically. He started 32 of Indiana’s 34 games and averaged 12.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 29.4 minutes per game.

The Richmond (Va.) native entered his name in the 2017 NBA draft without hiring an agent and officially withdrew on May 22.

“He wanted the feedback, he wanted the information from people to see what he needed to do to improve,” Miller explained. “I think that was his whole plan. I think that’s what is really great about the rule. There’s certain guys that really take advantage of it. He did.”

After spending his first two seasons as a tertiary option in the backcourt and last season as a secondary option to James Blackmon Jr., Johnson will enter his final season in Bloomington as the team’s backcourt leader.

Miller joked in his speech at Huber’s that assistant coach Bruiser Flint has been trying to get Johnson to talk more and come out of his shell.

“He’s one of those guys that sort of just goes to work and bang, he punches the clock and he’s gone,” Miller said. “He does his job, but we need Rob to step outside of his shell a little bit.”

Miller also noted that Johnson has been “about as possessed of a guy” that he’s been around the last few weeks and also said he’s made an jump as a player “that we haven’t seen in a long time.”

Playing for the first time in an IU uniform without either Yogi Ferrell or Blackmon Jr. to defer to, Indiana will need Johnson to step forward in a major way as a senior.

“Through about four weeks, he’s probably been about as focused of a basketball player that I’ve been around,” Miller said. “He’s all business right now. Really, really impressive kid. To watch him through about a four week summer period, he’s really impressive. He’s setting himself up to do what he wants to do which is have a great senior campaign for us.”

Filed to:

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    I am in absolute agreement with what you stated. Waiting until June 5th is insane. Matta deserved better also. Smith is a jag.

  • iugradmark

    Agree with the thoughts on JS. The team is going to need a couple of players that can get their own shot and I think JS is capable of doing that. I think Newkirk and Green are the other two that can take someone off the dribble when normal offense stalls and shot clock is winding down.

  • Eli McNaughton

    That may be one of the worst timed firings of all time unless they have some NBA coach in mind

  • INUnivHoosier2

    He’s got a lot of energy, so there is that. And he’s got more picks than a guitar store.

  • INUnivHoosier2

    RJ has always been a favorite of mine because he just seems like the kind of guy that doesn’t put up with foolishness, gets the job done, goes home, and has a cold beer.

    It’s always easy to infer some kind of issues, but he seemed disengaged last year, which was disappointing. I hope he kills it this year and gets a shot at the next level.

    Here’s hoping for a great senior season. This team is going to need a good showing from the guards to make it far.

  • Larry Brown

    CAM would have done a tremendous job if so. I was not looking forward to this personnel under CTC. Not to make a dig in him, but the talent level has taken a hit and there’s no All American candidates, in fact no go to guy at all. But the experience level, and the new coaching …. Could we actually see an over-achieving IU team for once? A team that wins with grit, toughness, heady play, defense? That would be huge. And that would attract recruits.

  • Larry Brown

    Had a dream he was raining down 3s on Purdue/Haas …

  • Craig Mitchell Ha’o.

    Per next years’ Team Dont Forget we still might been ADDING another Player with scholy #13. Both 6’4″ combo/ PG Davide Moretti or SF 6’7″ Nahziah Carter would add Quality depth even next season.

    If Moretti is IU bound id guess we add him and Carter goes to a top Prep school to improve and mature and hes a top 2018 consideration for Miller.

  • beppecolo

    Were you censoring an opinion or a profanity? I would like to know what was written.

  • BannerOrBust

    It’s safe to say, that Zach doesn’t have to worry about student loans or needing that scholarship. His family has million$… No need to hand it out to him unless coach really wants to give it to him.

  • TomJameson

    I did not know that. Maybe it would count as a measure of respect toward Zach, for his work ethic and efforts on and off the court. Just one possibility.

  • BannerOrBust

    I agree… He deserves it

  • marcusgresham

    Can no caps be, too? When I see poor writing I think “Cayuts fan.”

  • marcusgresham

    Smith’s going to play. More than McSwain, I would guess.

  • TomJameson

    I thinking you are right. I’m also thinking I shouldn’t have said starting eight. So, taking Freddie off my original list would give us a core group of seven players that could all start depending on matchups. Then adding Freddie and Smith (especially toward the end of the season), to the list would bring it to 9 players that could easily be Archie’s regular rotation.

  • TomJameson

    Nothing wrong with the message, it was in all caps. See what Alex said above “All caps is an auto delete”. No person deleted that message, the auto editor did it.

    And rightly so, IMO. I don’t like all caps either. 🙂

  • Outoftheloop

    Justin Smith is going to play, and play a lot! He is good! All-B1G Freshman good. He could average 10 points and 6 rebounds/game and start with DeRon, Juwan, Rob and Devonte. With Collin as the All-B1G 6th man!

  • Outoftheloop

    I.E. South Carolina last year!


    Consider me a second echo. I’m sure some thought defense (and how far we had to to go to be good at it) was the only word(s) I knew over the last 2 or 3 seasons. Our defense, and how we play it, is one of the main things, if not THE main thing, that I am most interested to see under the new coaching.


    RJ going from last year’s extended slump, regardless of the reason, to being drafted, or even making a roster somehow, would go a long way with recruits when they look at what CM had done for him in just one season. Him having a stand out season is a win win for everyone.

  • AndyCapp

    LOL, excellent point