Archie Miller will spend the coming days and weeks getting to know the Indiana basketball landscape, beginning with today’s introductory press conference at 3 p.m.
As Hoosier fans patiently wait to meet the new coach, here are some thoughts from Dayton Daily News beat writer David Jablonski, who was kind enough to answer a few quick questions about the former Flyers coach.
H-T: What can you tell me about Dayton’s style of play under Miller? What kinds of identities did he establish on both ends of the floor?
DJ: He always plays man defense. If he plays any zone at IU, that’ll be a first. Early in his tenure, offense was the team’s strength. If you look at the Ken Pom rankings, the offense efficiency decreased and the defensive efficiency increased over the years, so they were more balanced and effective on both sides of the ball by this year. Recent teams have lived at the free-throw line, picking up fouls and shooting free throws but not necessarily making them at a high rate. They don’t live and die by the 3-pointer.
H-T: What kinds of players did he seem to prioritize in recruiting? Were there certain skill sets that he appeared to value over others with guards or forwards?
DJ: He always looked for winners, players from strong programs. He didn’t have much success recruiting top-100 players. Kostas Antetokounmpo was an exception, but he had to sit out a year at Dayton. He had great success with transfer players: Vee Sanford, then Jordan Sibert and Charles Cooke. You have to play defense if you play for Archie. Kyle Davis was the best example of a player who got on the court early as a freshman because he was a defensive stopper.
H-T: Expectations are extremely high in Bloomington. How do you imagine he’ll handle the increased pressure to win?
DJ: I think he’ll do fine. He dealt with every sort of adversity at Dayton, from players getting kicked off the team, to a player being suspended and suing the university and all that paled in comparison to the death of Steve McElvene last May. In my opinion, how he rallied the team together after that was his shining moment off the court. Obviously, he’ll face more pressure to win big at IU, but he hit rock bottom during the Elite Eight season with four straight A-10 losses and then took the team to new heights weeks later.
H-T: Given the senior class that Dayton will graduate this year, is it fair to say the timing of his departure makes sense?
DJ: Yes, I think most people thought if he was going to leave, it would happen after the current seniors departed. Of course, it mostly depended on what school came calling, and everyone also speculated he would wait for the best offer. His roster has a lot of question marks going into next season. I don’t think that’s the reason he left, but it makes it easier to leave.