These are busy days for Archie Miller.
Operating at a snappy pace, the new Indiana basketball coach has spent his first month on the job in meetings and on the court. He’s devoted recruiting time to car rides across the state and flights across the country. He’s hired a full-time staff, he’s started to craft a schedule for next season, he’s helped his more prominent players navigate NBA Draft decisions and he’s come to understand what it means to become the face of one of college basketball’s most recognizable brands.
It’s substantial work, much of it still ongoing. But that’s OK with the 38-year-old coach.
“I expected it,” Miller said Tuesday during a gathering with local beat reporters. “Like I said when I first got here, I wasn’t going to try to do a million things right away. I was just trying to do the little things that we needed to get done with our players here. Getting our staff intact, making sure we have the staff that we needed to have here. I feel we have that.”
30 days in, Miller’s tenure appears to be starting strong. He’s hired a nationally-recognized staff consisting of associate head coach Tom Ostrom and assistants Ed Schilling and Bruiser Flint. He’s retained the services of senior Collin Hartman and has earned the trust of the three-man signing class he inherited from the previous coaching staff.
The next 30 days, however, remain open-ended.
How will IU’s current roster crunch of 15 players for 13 scholarships work itself out?
Between James Blackmon Jr., Thomas Bryant and Robert Johnson, which of those three will return to school for next season?
What kind of headway can Miller and his staffers make in recruiting the 2018 class, continuing with this weekend’s open period in the Indianapolis area?
Answers to those questions, and many more, will be found in short order, with another busy month on deck.
“I think every month’s going to feel the same,” Miller said. “You’re just going to be on the run quite a bit.”
That’s a pace at which Miller feels comfortable working, if his first 30 days are any indication.
Miller will install his summer program once this month’s recruiting cycle wraps, building upon the foundation that was laid during the team’s spring workout sessions. At the same time, he knows his team is set to look different in the coming weeks.
NBA decisions by Blackmon, Bryant and Johnson will play into that. OG Anunoby has already decided to hire an agent and make the jump to the NBA. The trio of Hoosiers who declared for the draft, but declined to hire representation, will have a better feel for the process during the coming days and weeks.
All four have received feedback from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee and now await the next steps, which include individual team workouts and possible invites to the NBA Draft Combine.
“If you’re invited to the combine, obviously, I think that’s a big step,” Miller said. “It puts you in position to feel like you’re one of the 60 guys that potentially they invite has a chance to be drafted. If not, you have to continue to evaluate what teams are telling you and workouts, meetings, whatever they’re going to get.
“So I think all four of them are confident. I know OG’s on his way. I think Thomas has continued to really push towards finding answers out, and I know James and Rob once they finish up the semester here, so to speak, with some finals, think those guys are going to get their opportunity as well.”
With those three decisions looming, Miller says he’s not concerned that Indiana is currently oversigned by two for next season. The key, Miller says, is communication.
He met with his players often shortly after he was officially introduced as IU’s coach on March 27 and has plans to conduct further meetings before players leave Bloomington following the end of the spring semester.
“I think those things will sort themselves out as they normally do,” Miller said. “We had a couple instances in Dayton where we were over, and at the end of the day we ended up being under two and three when it was all said and done. So you never can tell. But we’ll sort it out. We inherited and we’ll fix it.”
It’s all part of a busy daily schedule that Miller has spent his first month embracing.
“I’m not really sure that there’s been a whole lot in the first month or so on the job that I didn’t know was coming,” Miller said, “whether that be good or bad.”