Indiana coach Archie Miller took the podium this morning at Big Ten media day at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, Illinois.
Watch Miller’s full comments and read a transcript of his comments below:
Transcript below via ASAP Sports:
THE MODERATOR: We are now joined at the podium by Indiana head coach Archie Miller. Miller enters his second year with the Hoosiers and has led programs to post-season play five times in his seven years as a head coach. Coach, we’ll begin with an opening statement, then open the floor for questions.
ARCHIE MILLER: Thank you.
It’s good to be here kicking off Big Ten Media Day here in Chicago. We’re excited about the start to our season. We have a long way to go obviously to become a competitive Big Ten team right now. We got a lot of growing up to do.
Our returners have done a really nice job of really accepting responsibility as they’ve gone through our system here a year. You can really see some growth just in terms of how much further along we are than we were a year ago, just being more comfortable with one another. That’s a little bit refreshing. We’re excited. We’ve had a good start to the season in terms of practices. My hope is as we keep developing we have a team that has a chance to have some real depth. There’s some real upside as we get older.
THE MODERATOR: We’ll open the floor for questions.
Q. So much hype for Romeo coming in. From day one, what kind of an impact do you think he can make? Why do you think there is so much hype about him? Does he really have everything you could expect?
ARCHIE MILLER: Well, Romeo, number one, he’s a terrific kid. That’s the one thing you’re getting a chance to really see why he’s so well-regarded in terms of a teammate and a guy. He’s doing everything that we’ve asked him to do.
There’s a lot of hype around him. Obviously being from the state, going to IU, I think that’s going to make it a bigger story than everything. He’s always had a lot of eyes on him. Always been a calm type of guy under pressure. He’s shown that. I think the thing that’s been really enjoyable so far about Romeo is he’s just like one of the other guys. He’s embraced his teammates. We’re coaching hard. He’s being coached. He’s asking questions. He knows he’s not perfect. Like a lot of guys, he’s a typical freshman here early in his career, where he’s just trying to find his way and learn it.
I think the thing with him is just having the ability to allow him to say, That’s okay, make some mistakes, take the pressure off him that he doesn’t have to be perfect. Tremendous upside, talent, great kid. I think as long as he stays with it every single day, like every single young player, he’s going to get better and better.
Q. On Zach McRoberts, he earned captaincy as a walk-on. That’s very rare. What did he do to earn that? Can you describe things he does to show leadership in practice, off the court.
ARCHIE MILLER: Very few guys that you will have that you have the ability to coach or play with that you know gives everything he has. You know what I mean? I really mean that. You know when he’s done with a workout, a practice or a game, there isn’t anybody in the locker room, regardless of a trainer, doctor, strength coach, assistant coach, player, that looks at him and says, That guy did everything he possibly could today for us.
When you’re like that, there’s a respect level that comes with it. I think there’s an admiration, he’s admired for what he does. The guy never complains. I think just in the off-season, in talking to him, watching him work, he wants to get better. He’s definitely one of the most, if not the most, trusted guy.
When you’re out there on the floor, everyone knows what you’re going to get. He’s going to have the team in mind all the time. It didn’t surprise me at all that he was voted by the players as one of the captains.
Q. When you have this many new faces trying to integrate all those guys, get that chemistry, how difficult is that task?
ARCHIE MILLER: It’s difficult. We have five true freshmen, one transfer, six, Race Thompson would mean seven. He was in practice a year ago, but didn’t play with the team as his redshirt year. That’s where, in my opinion, the returners you hope to be returners from a year ago are further ahead than all those guys.
You have at least have that core group that you’re really trying to add to. The young guys are freshmen. We have five guys out there. You can tell when we practice who is a freshman at times. I think that’s without saying our staff’s objective is to develop our team. As we develop our team, we want to add pieces to the puzzle that can help our rotation, help us be deeper, bigger on the perimeter at times.
Also working De’Ron back. De’Ron isn’t full go yet, but he’s starting to make his way back to the practice floor. He didn’t play basically the entire Big Ten season. To bring him back is challenging, so to speak. Hopefully we can move him back into the rotation.
We have a lot of different conversations going on all the time, pre and post practice. I think the one thing is we’ve set the bar high for our guys in terms of competition. They’re going to have to earn it every day. I think they understand that they’re going against somebody that wants the same amount of minutes as them. A lot of it will depend on their development, how fast they can catch up to speed, so to speak. I feel good about some of the guys from a year ago being way more comfortable and ahead of those guys now. It’s comforting to know there’s some guys that look the part, then adding the other guys to it. It’s going to take time.
THE MODERATOR: Coach Miller, thank you so much for your time.
ARCHIE MILLER: Thank you.