Notes, quotes from Archie Miller’s appearance on the Big Ten coaches teleconference

  • 12/11/2017 10:29 am in

The Big Ten held a coaches teleconference on Monday, December 11 to discuss the first month of the season and the two early season conference games. Here are some notes and quotes from Archie Miller’s remarks on the call:

Opening statement: “We’re coming off of a tough road game at Louisville. I thought our guys prepared really well. I thought our guys were ready to compete. We were in a position in that game to have multiple opportunities to get the win and just weren’t able to do it. We’re looking forward to another opportunity against another really good team in Notre Dame in Indy after a week of our finals. We’re looking forward to the opportunity of playing. I think we’re getting better and I think the big thing for us is just finding a way to get a little bit sharper at some of the things we’re making mistakes at, cleaning those things up and having an opportunity to capitalize and maybe win some of these games down the stretch.”

On his thoughts when the Ohio State job opened given his relationship with Thad Matta: “At the time, very, very stunned. Thad is a great friend, mentor. He’s a person who took great care of me. So it was really just, at the end of the day, really thinking about him and his family at that time and moving on. There’s really not a whole lot to talk about when it comes to the job opening or anything like that. It’s really just thinking about the people. It’s about Thad and his family. As you get moving a little bit further on and as time moves forward, you continue to just think about them. At the end of the day, Thad is a great guy, someone I care deeply about and our family cares a great deal about. It’s really about him. It’s not about Ohio State.”

On whether he’s kept in touch with Matta: “Oh yeah, absolutely. I’ve stayed in touch with him my entire time as a coach. Stayed at touch when he was at Ohio State and I was at Dayton. And I’ve continued to stay in touch with him at Indiana. He’s into the next phase of his life.”

On if the shots IU missed in the Louisville loss were good looks: “I think a lot of the shots in the second half I would say were decent looks. I wouldn’t say they were great, great looks. I think Louisville did a great job of challenging shots. They used their length and bothered us. Some of them were obviously good looks that just didn’t go in. I think from our team’s standpoint, we’re not putting a whole lot of emphasis on struggling with shooting. At the end of the day, you’re going to play a lot of different games, you’re going to get good looks. As of right now, I don’t think our team is shooting the ball as good as we can, but you’re not going to dwell on it much. If you get those same looks moving forward on Saturday, you have to take them and feel like they’ll go in. I think some of the shots against Louisville were challenged. I think they do a really good job with their zone, with them changing defenses, with their length and putting pressure on some of your looks with great length. At the same time, it wasn’t like we were just standing their shooting just wide open layup 3s that didn’t go in. Some of them were challenged, but at the end of the day, you’ve gotta make some of those shots and I think we will as time goes forward.”

On his thoughts on the Big Ten: “We’ve played two Big Ten games. Went to Michigan and didn’t play very well. And then obviously having our first home Big Ten game at home against Iowa, being able to win that one was a good sort of shot in the arm. The Big Ten is a great conference. Toughest conference in the country to be able to win on the road without question. I think it’s everything that I kind of knew it would be. For us, at Indiana, we’re trying to climb the ladder and we’re trying to be at the top of the conference at some point. It’s an unbelievable conference with unbelievable coaches.”

On Devonte Green’s season so far and what has to happen for him to become more consistent: “The thing about Devonte is, he’s one of our more talented players. I think the consistency has to come with the focus of doing the job. When he’s had unbelievable stretches in games, he’s shown what type of player he can be. And a lot of it comes with his every day approach. When your every day approach is really good, good things will follow. And I thought Devonte’s had a really good approach. Maybe Louisville wasn’t his best showing just in terms of how we thought he approached the game or how he got into the game, but I think the big thing for Devonte is just to stay with it. And as he stays with it and he continues to string together really good practice days and good habits, then usually good things will follow. He’s a talented guy and we’re trying to maximize everything that we’ve gotten out of him. I think the big thing for him is to focus on doing the little things and the things to help prepare to help our team to win. I think when he does that, good things will follow.”

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  • iugradmark

    I appreciate Archie’s approach to handling questions about individual
    players, There is nothing to be gained by calling players out publicly, but he and Devonte are clearly not on the same page. He said
    going into the game that Devonte had his best practice in a month. In
    the above interview, he talked about how talented Devonte is yet in a
    game where we needed back court scoring, Devonte only played 13 minutes. I hope Devonte can find a way to embrace Archie’s system because it is clear that he isn’t going to play much until he does.

  • Kyl470

    I know a lot of us had high hopes for this team and thought they could outperform their pre season rankings in the conference. However, it looks like those pre season rankings were right. Once you combine everything it’s clear this roster is extremely flawed. This team lacks size and it lacks shooting and that is a bad combination to have.

    Before the season started I thought Cujo could become a reliable scorer, but before transferring he was only hitting 27% of his FG’s and 22% on 3’s. It’s a shame to see him go, but I understand why Archie cut his playing time because his defense wasn’t where it needed to be either.

    While Davis has had his ups and downs the one thing that has stayed down is his rebounding. He is getting 4.4 boards a game in 20 minutes. McSwain is getting 4.3 in 10 minutes and Johnson is getting 4.2 in 33 minutes. For being the biggest guy on the team Davis really needs to be around 7 boards a game.

    Now for the senior guards Newkirk and Johnson. I know everyone is pilling on them right now, but I feel that both players are being asked to do things that is not in their skill set. I’ll start with Newkirk. He really isn’t a highly skilled playmaker or jump shooter, but that’s what we are asking him to be. Right now Archie has shown we are going to play a 3 guard line up and with only 4 scholarship guards left on the roster Newkirk is going to play. I can accept Newkirk not being the greatest offensive player, but it drives me nuts when he gets caught flat footed on defense and lets guys beat him off the dribble.

    Johnson however has been our best guard defender and is being asked a lot of times to guard people bigger and stronger than him. On top of that he is asked to be the team leader which I don’t think he is comfortable doing. I’ve watched several press conferences where Archie or other coaches say that Robert needs to speak up and be more vocal. Why? Because he is a senior? Just because he is a senior doesn’t mean he should be asked to be a leader if he isn’t a leader. I’m perfectly ok with him not being a leader and just focus on being a solid defender and regaining his 3 point shooting stroke.

    In the end thought this season is going to be one of transition. After losing to Louisville there is no way this team can make the NCAA tournament. The Big 10 is extremely weak this year and I think the conference is going to be a 4 or 5 bid league like the SEC has been in recent years. Minnesota just lost again so they will probably drop in the 20s in the rankings. With only MSU, Purdue, and Minn ranked there isn’t going to be a lot of chances in the conference to pick up top 25 wins.

  • Agreed. Would really hate to see him leave, but Archie’s more controlled system of guard play may never be a comfy fit for Green’s more freestyle approach.

  • Bill Shomaker

    I agree, it was difficult to continue to temper expectations when everything coming out of Bloomington was so positive during the offseason. It was easy to forget that the players on this team have actual limitations to their abilities and that somehow Archie was going to get the whole is greater than the parts thing going.

    It is still early and I do see incremental improvements with the team. I am still very excited to see how they perform in February and then going into next year.

    I totally trust the process and feel Archie is the perfect man for the job and for now I will root as hard as I can while trying to stay patient for the long game.

  • Kyl470

    I think Archie will get the job done, it’s just going to take longer than people thought (myself included). Hopefully Moore can bulk up more in the off season and hopefully Forrester is ready to contribute as a freshman so we have some size backing up Davis next year. It’s just tough to compete when Davis goes out and your asking McSwain, Hartman, or Morgan to guard the other teams center. All three of those players are giving up height and weight.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Archie is saying the same things TC said last season about this team. They need to clean up mistakes, limit mistakes, etc. Just goes to confirm that this is an issue with the players, not just the style of play or coaching. I like a lot of the current players, and I have faith Archie will make strides in the next few seasons, but this just isn’t a great team.

  • Ivan Renko

    not sure i completely buy what you’re saying. literally every coach in the country in any sport says “we need to clean up/limit mistakes” when his team loses… so i wouldn’t be so quick to say “goes to confirm that this is an issue with the players.”

    I’m not necessarily disagreeing you on the players, and i’m not placing blame on Archie. both are figuring out new systems — players figuring out a new coach, and a coach learning how to best utilize new players within his system.

    regardless of personnel or talent, new systems take time. JM and DD have certainly been bright spots, they’ll be invaluable leaders for the remainder of this season and next season. especially JM, kid is a beast. expecting him to break into all B1G this year!

  • dennis powell

    I know people keep saying it but Johnson is not a lock down defender consistently. He has game but like I’ve said before he only shows up about 10 games a year. I understand why coaches want guys to practice hard. I’m a baseball coach I get it. If a kid isn’t working as hard as I think he should be but is not disrupting my practices or bringing other kids down but is a performer in games he gets to play. My job as a coach is to give my WHOLE team a chance to win and if that means a kid who isn’t a good practice player gets to play then so be it. Greene needs to play more. I get he makes mistakes but maybe he is trying to hard to impress to get playing time. I would love to see him settle into the line up and see how he does over a 5 or 6 game stretch. Even with his mistakes he gives us more then Newkirk or Johnson.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Good points. I’m assuming that this season is a real balancing act for Archie. Here he is in his first year at IU. He has to deal with unrealistic expectations from fans (and possibly his bosses), a depleted roster, teaching a new system, new environment and level of competition, etc. etc. On the one hand he is expected to win right now. On the other hand, as the media and others seemed to realize, he shouldn’t be expected to win right away with what he has, and has to think about recruiting guys he wants and getting young guys he wants to keep ready for the next few seasons. Practically it would make some sense to focus on the future, rather than trying to win now, if that is even an option. What do you think as a coach? How is IU and Archie best served? Should there be any obligation to play older guys even if they aren’t performing at a high level? Is age/experience a factor at all?

  • IdahoHoosier

    Yes coaches all say the same hyperbolic things. Players will always make mistakes. But I see guys making the same “mistakes” over and over, and to me it says more about their talent/decision making ability than it says anything about coaching. I can tell you how to do something perfectly (a coaches’ job) all day, make you practice it all day, but once you’re in the game you’re going to make decisions and do things however you want ultimately. I just feel the players often don’t get enough credit for bad play, or poor shooting, or silly turnovers, etc. Archie will get his recruits in there, and it will be much more telling of his ability as a coach/instructor. Finally, JM has really impressed me. DD plays hard at times but isn’t rebounding at a high level. He showed he can score on and pound with bigs (Duke), but then doesn’t show up with the same aggression on offense other nights. Lots of work to be done!

  • dennis powell

    I think Indiana basketball people would give him a chance no matter what. I believe that most of us were optimistic as we are every year. Would we have enjoyed a great defensive team that won? Hell yes but most real basketball fans would have been happy with movement in a positive fashion win or lose. I have seen improvement lately but still believe we aren’t assessing our personnel correctly.

  • IdahoHoosier

    I do think we’ve seen positive movement. Namely reducing turnovers by a large margin. For me, scoring and keeping up with good teams (lack of depth) was always going to be a concern this season so I didn’t expect a ton of wins. The next couple seasons will be telling to see if A. Archie can land some big recruits, B. what kind of guys he brings in and the culture he creates, and C. what he can do with a roster full of his own recruits.

  • dennis powell

    I agree on the TO comment. Did you watch the videos of our recruits for next year and the following year? Signing the Langford kid would be big. He seems ready to play at the next level. The Brooks kid is from where I live and I haven’t watched him play but I will in the next couple of weeks. He’s only a junior and is thin as a rail but people I know who have seen him say he’s good so we’ll see. He’s got great parents which is big. The rest of our recruits look good on highlight tape but I have seen to many come in and not live up to the hype.