2022-23 Indiana basketball player profile: Miller Kopp

  • 10/27/2022 8:02 am in

With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’ve transitioned from our look at other Big Ten programs to our player-by-player previews of the 2022-23 Indiana roster.

Today, our player profiles continue with a look at senior Miller Kopp.

PreviouslyMalik ReneauCJ GunnJalen Hood-SchifinoKaleb BanksTamar BatesLogan DuncombAnthony Leal, Trey Galloway, Jordan Geronimo, Trayce Jackson-Davis

If you enter “Miller Kopp” into the Google search bar, you’ll likely come across his TikTok page with over 40k followers and millions of views.

From there you’ll discover a smiling, funny and retrospective personality. If you want anything to give you the real Miller Kopp, his TikTok account might be the best place to get it.

After the Associated Press preseason top-25 poll was announced on Oct. 17, Kopp posted a TikTok in Assembly Hall.

“The AP, Associated Press, came out today and ranked the Indiana Hoosiers thirteenth in the country,” a sweaty and post-workout Kopp said. “Well I’m here to say, we don’t care about that. So I just wanted to say we’re not eating the cheese because it’s poison. It’s fake.”

Kopp then panned the camera to the national championship banners.

“So we’re just doing what we do, staying in the gym and working to get another one of those,” Kopp said, then panned to the Big Ten Championship banners. “And those.”

Before last season, Kopp transferred to Indiana after three years at Northwestern.

With the Wildcats, Kopp led the team in points scored in his sophomore year, averaged 9.6 points a game and shot nearly 40 percent from on 3s. In his last two seasons in Evanston, the forward made 98 3-pointers. But, last year didn’t go that way for Kopp.

While Kopp started and played in all 35 games during his first season in Bloomington, he spent most of the time finding his role while only averaging six points in 25.2 minutes a game.

At Northwestern, you’d find Kopp more ball-dominant and active in transition. At Indiana, you’d normally find Kopp on the baseline waiting for the ball to come his way.

“I’m not a guy who’s gonna be coming off pick-and-rolls and shooting shots out of pick-and-roll,” Kopp said at Indiana’s media day last month. “I definitely can do that, but that’s not my role on this team. We have other guys who do that and do that at a high level. For me, it’s to be opportunistic when the ball finds me and make a play and knock down shots.”

Kopp summed his role up as this: make open shots, defend and rebound.

But now, the Houston native returns to Indiana as the team’s highest volume 3-point shooter and might need to do a little bit more than make open shots for the Hoosiers to be successful.

Last season, Kopp shot 36.1 percent on 108 3-pointers. Over half of his shots were from deep and Kopp made nine more 3-pointers than he did 2s while shooting 35.6 percent from the field. Those numbers represented a drop off from his time at Northwestern.

Many of of Kopp’s 2021-22 season-highs came in his 28-point performance in IU’s 112-110 2OT loss at Syracuse. Against the Orange, Kopp spread the floor beautifully while being aggressive in mid-range and getting to the free-throw line for seven attempts. It’s also safe to say that operating against a 2-3 zone helped him that night.

Kopp was most successful when he was aggressive and got to the foul line last season. Kopp shot a team-high 86.5 percent from the stripe and if he can get downhill more, that’s essentially free points for Indiana when he gets fouled.

While Kopp might not have the athleticism to thrash through the lane, he can use his size to stretch the floor and shoot over the top of defenses. Kopp likely won’t develop a back-to-the-basket college skillset, but if he can develop a consistent floater and jumper, it’ll make him more difficult to guard.

Defensively, Kopp sometimes struggled on the perimeter guarding quicker players, but he could hold his own down low with his 6-foot-7 frame.

“I definitely feel that my defense was something that I really focused on last year… I felt like I was an anchor on defense for the team in terms of being a vocal leader,” Kopp said. “This year I want to take it another step and improve. I feel like I got my body in great shape to be able to do that and be able to guard one through four.”

Kopp’s humorous and witty personality briefly found its way onto the court last season. It surely finds its way to the public eye when he feels comfortable enough to be himself on his social media accounts. As Kopp enters his final college basketball season, it’s all about being comfortable in his role as a Hoosier.

Bottom line: If Kopp can get back to shooting almost 40 percent from beyond the arc and averaging a couple more points per game, it will do wonders for Indiana’s offense. The Northwestern transfer will need to more assertive for that to happen. Kopp will likely see up to 25 minutes a game again this season, so he can’t be invisible like he was at points last year. Kopp will need to make his presence known if the Hoosiers want to find success — especially if that success is from deep.

Quotable: “It was hard to conceptualize that my role here is different than what it was at Northwestern, you know it’s not the same. And having myself swallow that pill, is what it is. I understand exactly now what my role is and how to be a star in that. So last year was kinda a gap between what I thought, what I expected and what was reality. I felt like I had a good year with what I was asked to do, what I wanted to do and what I was able to do… I thought I improved a lot in terms of my defense and being a leader. – Kopp at Indiana’s media day this fall.

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