Key Departures: OG Anunoby, James Blackmon Jr., Thomas Bryant
Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Josh Newkirk (RS Sr.)
SG: Robert Johnson (Sr.)
SF: Collin Hartman (GS.)
PF: Juwan Morgan (Jr.)
PF: De’Ron Davis (So.)
Key Reserve Players:
SG: Devonte Green (So.), SG: Curtis Jones (So.), SF: Freddie McSwain Jr. (Sr.), SF: Justin Smith (Fr.), SG: Al Durham (Fr.), PF: Clifton Moore (Fr.), C: Tim Priller (Sr.)
Miller time. Well, actually, it’s Archie Miller time. The Indiana basketball program is legendary and historic, and Archie Miller is hoping to bring this school back to prominence. Consistency will be the key. Tom Crean had up and down years in Bloomington, so in order for Miller to have the utmost success, Indiana must be relevant year after year. Miller has a steady and seasoned veteran point guard in Josh Newkirk. Newkirk averaged nine points and just over three assists per game last season. He will run this offense, and he will bring leadership at the point guard position. He is also a very capable 3-point shooter.
Robert Johnson has returned for his senior season, and will immediately step into a larger scoring role with James Blackmon no longer in a Hoosier uniform. He has improved his scoring per game every single year, and averaged 12.8 points last season. Johnson is also a very good perimeter threat, and a solid rebounding guard for his size. I expect him to average at least 15 points per game as a senior. Collin Hartman has returned for his fifth season, and his presence on and off the court cannot be overstated. Hartman has dealt with a plethora of injuries throughout his Indiana basketball career, most recently, a season ending knee injury last season. Hartman has always been a fan favorite, he was beloved by Tom Crean, and his leadership will be huge for this basketball team. Hartman can stroke it, he shot 47.5 percent from 3-point range as a sophomore. Getting back to being a 40 percent 3-point shooter will be a huge addition for the Hoosiers. Indiana is extremely dangerous when you see Hartman playing as a stretch four (similar to how Michigan uses Duncan Robinson).
Juwan Morgan will be an important piece in the rebounding department with Thomas Bryant gone. He will be joined by rising sophomore De’Ron Davis. Morgan is an efficient player in the paint, and he will be asked to score more this season. Davis is an explosive forward, who is still raw offensively, but is a player who will keep getting better and better. Both these players need to own the paint for Indiana. Lanky freshman forward Clifton Moore will see occasional big man minutes off the bench, along with senior Tim Priller.
Shooting guards Curtis Jones and Devonte Green return for the Hoosiers for their sophomore campaigns. Both players received quality minutes and experience as freshmen. It is such a luxury for Archie Miller to have these two guards to bring in off the bench. I was very pleasantly surprised with how well Devonte Green played, especially with his 3-point shooting. He led the Hoosiers with a 43.6 percent mark from downtown. Having these two sophomores, along with freshman Al Durham, gives Archie Miller plenty of depth at guard.
Justin Smith is the highest ranked recruit coming in for Archie Miller for 2017. Smith is an athletic forward who can really attack the rim. I really like his size, length, and defensive potential. I think Archie Miller will play a lot of small ball this year, so I think you will see Smith playing both forward positions. Freddie McSwain is another athletic forward for Archie Miller to bring off the bench as well.
I think Archie Miller is just the man for this Indiana job. He is a tremendous coach and recruiter, and we should see Indiana contending at the top of the Big Ten very soon. This first year will be a tough one, especially in a very competitive conference.