INDIANA UNIVERSITY BASKETBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
January 5, 2018
ARCHIE MILLER: Let me start by saying that De'Ron Davis suffered a lower leg injury in practice yesterday. It was a non-contact injury. He'll be out indefinitely until we had a 100% clear indication of what that is.
That being said, obviously we're moving forward as a group. As we head to Minnesota, we know we have a heck of a challenge.
Q. With De'Ron's injury, does that open a door for Clifton?
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, I think all hands on deck. It's going to be one of those things that we're going to have to sort of go practice by practice, game by game.
The biggest detriment to our team now will be obviously foul trouble, something that is going to be huge in terms of us moving forward and being successful, having to try and keep our best players on the floor for the longest period of time.
All hands on deck. I think every guy on the team at this point in time is going to have to really raise their level of play, and guys who haven't maybe had such roles here early in the season, like I always say, if you're working and you stay ready, you never know. When your number's called, you have to be ready to go.
I think there will be some guys with more opportunity here to play.
Q. How much, too, do you look at a guy like Collin? You've talked about his versatility.
ARCHIE MILLER: He's a big part of what we're doing. I think he played really well for us against Wisconsin, at times carried us offensively, being able to make shots. He does a lot of things for us. He's an important part to what we're doing. A lot like these other guys, he's got to grow his role, he's got to continue to be ready to go.
Q. You've had some success with Juwan being down low with four perimeter guys. Can you do that in the Big Ten?
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, I mean, I think we've played enough teams in our non-conference that stack up to the same size, you know, same types of teams where Juwan has clearly shown he can be successful in and around the basket. Being able to use him in different ways, isolated at times, has been some of our best offense.
I think that will work.
Q. It's kind of developed quickly, but the situation with Reggie Lynch at Minnesota, maybe not knowing what they'll look like without him, what does he bring to them?
ARCHIE MILLER: I think you're looking at the reigning defensive player of the year in the Big Ten. He clearly is a rim protector, altering shots, blocking shots. He really does a great job there. On the other end of the floor, he's a huge presence on the offensive glass. I mean, he brings a real force on both ends of the floor.
Having him, not having him, it will be significant for them. But they also have a ton of good players. I mean, he's not the only guy on their team that's impactful. It starts I think with Nate Mason. Murphy is obviously getting ready to tie Tim Duncan for the most consecutive double-doubles in a season, that's what I was told.
They have a lot of good players. They'll be fine.
Q. I think you mentioned recently some of the perimeter guys playing tight, not really playing with the freedom you maybe want to see them play with. How do you coax that out of them, to play more freely?
ARCHIE MILLER: It's a fine line. I think our perimeter guys are a little bit tight, especially shooting the ball. I think those guys got to be freed up here a little bit to take advantage of the opportunities, to make more plays, be aggressive, play through some mistakes.
I think right now, as we got through the non-conference, as we're entering conference play, without our perimeter guys giving us a boost offensively, not just one guy, I mean, all of them, they have to be able to bring a punch, they have to go get it, be more aggressive with it. We're urging them to do that.
Hopefully as we get a little bit more down the line, we can start to see some growth there, where Josh is playing well, Rob is playing well, Al is playing well, Devonte is playing well. If you ever get a combination of those guys playing well, we're a lot harder to deal with. In some better games this season, we've showed we can play at a higher level, we usually have a couple of those guys step up.
That's going to be a big key. Everyone is going to have to raise our level of play. Our back court has the biggest room for growth for our team. In my mind they're not playing as well as they can. I think we have to be able to, as a staff, bring more confidence to them.
Q. Tim Duncan was close to 7'. Jordan Murphy is 6'6" and doing that. What is unique about him?
ARCHIE MILLER: Well, I guess rebounding in many ways is a great talent. Some guys just have a knack for the ball. I think he has a knack for the ball. He can defensive rebound, he offensive rebounds. Just part of what he does. He wants the ball. He's also a very, very rugged, physical, driving guy around the basket.
He's tough to handle. He's a great perimeter driver. He's a great perimeter post guy in terms of how he gets fouled. Then, you know, being able to get I think five and a half offensive rebounds a game, whatever it is, an incredible skill level. You don't teach guys to do that. It's hard to get guys to rebound at that level.
It's a unique skill that he has. It's something you have to account for, which it's not a play, it's a player. He's got a unique skill set that he plays with.
Q. Forgive the dumb question, but you've talked recently about Juwan's success, using that as a springboard to push him up another level. With De'Ron out, does that add another dimension to that?
ARCHIE MILLER: Without question, there's a lot of pressure on Juwan. There's been a lot of pressure on Juwan the last month or so to continue to raise his level of play. I thought against Wisconsin he wasn't as aggressive as he needed to be at times. I thought later in the game he got better.
He was really good in practice yesterday. He's focused. I think just right now, I mean, he's going to be a guy that walks into every game, he's going to get the other team's best shot. He's got to be ready to go because we're going to go through him a lot.
But he's got to continue to be himself. He can't try to force the action. He's got to be aggressive, he's got to try to rebound the ball for us as a higher level. That's one thing we're talking to him about, being a double-figure rebound guy, taking more pride in that area.
He knows, as the season continues to evolve here, he's going to have the opportunity to make his plays.
Q. Outside of Juwan, how important is it to continue to have the production like you had from your seniors against Wisconsin? Not the result you wanted, but 37 of the 16 points were from guys like Collin and Josh.
ARCHIE MILLER: Collin really was an outlier. Collin really got going. I think we were four out of 15 from the three. He made all four. That's the thing that makes it hard on our team right now. We haven't been able to break through the with the easy shots, making an open three. We've had good looks over 15 games. It's not like we've missed bad ones. We've missed good looks.
Josh, Rob, those guys have to step up and make those plays for us. Make the easy plays, not the hard ones. That relieves the pressure. That's what Collin did for us in Madison. He relieved a little bit of pressure for us by making some shots.
Without question, Rob, Josh, Collin, I even throw Juwan in there, you bring in Freddie, an older guy, in his second year. Some of these guys have been here for a while now. You're only as good as your most experienced guys. When those guys are consistent, you're going to have a chance to be consistent. I think that's what we're searching for.
Q. Have you gotten a chance to know Tyra?
ARCHIE MILLER: A little bit since I've been here. She's great a great personality. Loves the game. She's in the gym as much as anybody. Even more so than our players probably at times.
Just in looking at her numbers, getting 20 a game, being able to do what she's done at her size, it resonates a little bit with me to watch her. Obviously very, very skilled. Can really good. To have that type of landmark career mark, being in the Big Ten, just kind of shows you not only the player that she is but the competitor she is.
It's been fun to get to know her a little bit, like I said. The whole program, our women's program in general, really good people. Great work ethic. So it's a big congratulations to her.
Q. You said some of the freshmen showed some new energy after going back home for the holidays. Have you seen it continue into this week in practice?
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, those guys are working hard, after practice, before practice. I mean, they are workers. They've had great attitude. That hasn't changed. Productivity now is really important. You get in conference play, an injury to a guy like De'Ron opens up avenues for more playing time. Like I told those guys the other day, with every negative you have to look at the positive. The positive is, with more opportunity comes career-defining opportunities. If you take advantage of more opportunity and you play well, you get better, well, you know what, it springboards you into a new identity, a new role in your career. Things like that happen.
All three of those guys have a chance, they're going to have a chance to impact our team in a positive way moving forward more so than maybe they ever realized. All the hard work, all the reps, now you're put in the games. You have to learn on the run a little bit, thrown into the fire.
It's a good thing long-term, but you're going to go through some bumps, and you know that.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports