BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana basketball coach Archie Miller said it feels good to be back on campus as he sat in his office at Cook Hall while joining the Aaron Torres Podcast this week.
Miller talked about a number of topics, and here are some more highlights from the conversation with Miller:
— On how his team has been worked through virus issues:
“I can’t speak for every university or every state because everywhere is different.”
He said they were able to complete an eight-week period of time with the players on campus.
“After going through some trial and error, your players have to be very responsible.”
He said they were able to lift weights with masks on in different groups. Indiana’s practice facility was run by the team doctors and trainer Tim Garl.
Players were able to schedule times where they could come in and shoot the ball.
“As coaches got involved, it became unique,” Miller said. “You’re planning for disasters every morning if guys can’t show up. But we did an amazing job and I give credit to our administration for giving us opportunity because not everybody had it,” Miller said. “We had no real issues all summer.”
He mentioned how all the players had a good attitude and felt good every day.
— On playing college basketball in a bubble:
“We’ve talked a lot about it here,” Miller said. He said the Big Ten coaches get together to talk about it once a week. He thinks the Big Ten’s coaches are some of the best coaches in the country.
“There are a lot of ideas. When you look at constant travel, that’s probably the biggest concern,” Miller said. “Realistically, focus on what you can control. For me and my staff, a Big Ten season seems like it is possible.”
Miller mentioned the idea of partnering up. For example, Indiana and Purdue head to Michigan and Michigan State and you play games between those four, that way all four teams are going to the same place to play games. Then Northwestern/Illinois could come to West Lafayette and Bloomington to play a string of games.
“That way everyone is getting tested the same way,” Miller said.
He said maybe it’ll be a December start date with a 26-game Big Ten round robin, which he called a “grind” having to play everyone twice. Maybe it’s a January start date with 20 conference games.
“The bubble is on everyone’s mind,” Miller said. “How can we replicate the NBA?”
IU is extending its break after Thanksgiving and students won’t be coming back until February, so Miller think there’s a good window there to get games in.
“The breakthrough with the saliva test is great,” Miller said.
— On excitement of team this year
“We finished the season last year playing good basketball,” Miller said. “When we entered the Big Ten tournament, we were ready, won a game and then it got canceled. I felt like we could’ve won some games in March.”
He said he thinks the positive feel from last season carried over. The newcomers have brought a maturity about them.
“Returners aren’t only experienced, but they are motivated. They are hungry,” Miller said.
He thinks sophomore forward Trayce Jackson-Davis can be one of the best players in the country. He likes the experience of Al Durham and Rob Phinisee in the backcourt.
“I like our perimeter guys a lot better.”
He said how incoming freshmen Anthony Leal, Jordan Geronimo and Trey Galloway are all big guys who can shoot it.
He also mentioned the emergence of Race Thompson and believes Thompson can be one of the most improved players in the country.
“I like our group a lot,” Miller said.
You can listen to Miller’s full interview with Torres here.
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