CRAWFORD | Five takeaways from Indiana basketball offseason work - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Five takeaways from Indiana basketball offseason workouts with Archie Miller

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WDRB photo by Eric Crawford WDRB photo by Eric Crawford

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WDRB) – Indiana University first-year basketball coach Archie Miller and a handful of players met the media in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall Tuesday to talk about summer workouts and developments within the program.

Some quick takeaways:

1). COLIN HARTMAN HAS BEEN FULLY CLEARED. Miller said Hartman, a fifth-year senior forward missed last season with a knee injury then decided to come back to complete his eligibility in Bloomington, was cleared medically for full-contact practice on Monday.

Hartman’s return not only brings much-needed experience and a valuable skill-set back to the team, but he brings leadership.

“As we approach these team workouts we'll be very, very smart with him,” Miller said. “There is no real reason to speed him up. But I think confidence-wise, mentally and physically, he feels as good as he's felt in a long, long time. We'll continue to take him slow, but he's ahead of schedule just in terms of where he's supposed to be, doing what he's going to do, and the way he's handled things in this off-season, he's given himself a chance to kick off October, November, full go.”

Miller said Harman’s experience and leadership on the court already have been a help.

“He's like an assistant,” Miller said. “He's like having a coach, regardless if you're in the weight room or where you're at, I think he's contagious. Really, really fortunate to have his voice around right now.”

2). "WON’T BE ANY QUESTIONS OF LEADERSHIP AT ALL." Those were the words of Juwan Morgan when asked what will be the most noticeable difference in this season’s team from last season.

“Personally I think everybody has stepped up,” in terms of leadership, Morgan said. “Rob (Johnson), Josh (Newkirk) has started speaking up more. I think everybody will take part in it. . . . That was something we decided upon ourselves because we realized missing Colin last year, like me and OG (Anunoby) used to joke about it calling him the annoying guy you always hated hearing, but you knew he was right. I think that's what we really missed last year.”

Miller said he’s been pleased with what has seen from both Morgan and Hartman in that department so far.

“I think the upperclassmen have established they have a good way about them in terms of their communication, leading by example,” Miller said. “But we need a group that has a loud voice. Rob's a guy that's going to have to step out of his comfort zone a little bit. He's done a better job this summer than he did in the early spring. He's really, really worked hard and shown people how it's done. But he's talking more. Colin is a huge boost. He and Juwan both have been fantastic in every regard of what we're doing, in terms of them communicating, talking. You've got to have a team that can communicate with one another. And there's got to be a sounding board, and I think those older guys know that.”

3). THE SCHEDULE IS COMING TOGETHER. Miller said he’s hoping to get close to completing the non-conference schedule for next season in the next couple of weeks.

“It's been, amongst everything, scheduling is obviously very difficult, and inheriting sort of really a blank slate and getting a late start at it, it's taken some time for us to build it and with some of the things we need to have happen here in terms of games played in Assembly Hall and whatnot,” Miller said. “. . . When you look at the non-conference schedule and some of the things that are out there, whether it's Seton Hall on the road or Duke at home. Louisville is already out there on the road, and then Notre Dame neutral. Two Big Ten games coming into the first weekend of December. . . . It's going to be very, very taxing in terms of getting through November and early December. It will be as many games played at a high level for us in that period of time, maybe upwards of five, to six, seven games played against top 15 or top 25 teams. So we're going to know where we are heading into December and then we've got to jam some more in.

“Games being played at home and games being played on the road, it's been a tough balance. But I think when it's done, it will be a tough non-conference schedule for us. Will it be glamorous? Probably not. I'm not sure we could have pulled glamorous off right now. But in future schedules years down the line, it will be easier to build around.”

4). DE’RON DAVIS SHOWS OFF SLIMMER BUILD. The standout from Colorado got off to a slow start as a freshman and saw his minutes limited by his conditioning at times, but rolled into the press room at Assembly Hall on Wednesday 20 pounds lighter than the last time he took the court for the Hoosiers.

“I feel good,” he said. “I don't have any injuries right now. On the court my first time with team practice was yesterday. I feel really good on the court, I feel light and explosive, and I'm just ready for the regular season to start.”

He has been working with strength coach Clif Marshall to maintain his strength even as he drops weight, and says he doesn’t think that has been a problem. The biggest challenge has been in the area of nutrition, he said.

“Probably just eating habits. I've always been good on watching what I eat as far as healthy food, but just probably portions and really focused on getting my carbs from healthier foods,” Davis said. “I'm able to get up and down the court faster. I've been working on my conditioning, trying to help me stay in games longer, play more minutes. It just makes me feel better. It takes away a lot of the injuries that I had last year. So me being 20 pounds lighter, those injuries -- those little knick-knack injuries, you don't see too much. And I used to foul a lot when I got tired.”

“He's moving and jumping as good as he ever has,” Miller said. “He has a great confidence about him. I think he feels good about himself. He still has another gear I think he can reach . . . But he's right where he should be in terms of what we've asked him to do, and I think he's gained confidence because he's worked very hard.”

5). NUMBERS GAME. New players, new numbers. Al Durham will wear jersey No. 1. Justin Smith will be No. 3, Clifton Moore No. 22 and Vijay Blackmon No. 24. Quentin Taylor will switch to No. 5. 

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