Green aiming to establish consistency

The wild swings between high and low points came to define the first two years of Devonte Green’s college career.

As a junior, Green has sought a steadier course.

To some degree, it’s been a slow go for Green across the first two months of the season. A thigh contusion kept him out of four early-season games. Then, once he returned, he slid back into a reserve role in IU’s playing rotation.

But after the last two games, including his 19-point effort against Central Arkansas, Green is once again illustrating his value to the Hoosiers. It comes at an important time, too, with starting point guard Rob Phinisee sidelined for at least one more game while he deals with a concussion.

For Green, this is a crucial moment. Not only do the Hoosiers need him to slide into their starting lineup for today’s non-conference finale against Jacksonville, this is his opportunity to establish a consistency level that he can ride through the winter.

“He’s going to play a big role for this team all season,” IU coach Archie Miller said. “Sometimes, seasons go through ups and downs with injuries and whatnot. Hopefully, this is his time to take advantage of the opportunity where he can grab and get more rhythm going as he’s moving into Big Ten play.”

Green’s moment has been bubbling for some time.

During the buildup to the season, Miller was quick to note that Green was arguably Indiana’s most consistent player throughout the Hoosiers’ offseason workouts. That was the case both on the practice floor and in the weight room, important developments for the most experienced guard on IU’s roster.

The results of that offseason work were slow to appear, at least in games. After playing in IU’s first two contests, Green missed matchups with Marquette and Arkansas, along with two others. At the same time, Phinisee made a convincing case for the starting job at the point.

But after Phinisee left Wednesday’s win over Central Arkansas during the first half with concussion-like symptoms, Green stepped in and led all scorers with 19 points, finishing one point shy of matching his career high.

Now, he has a chance to build on that effort before IU players scatter for Christmas and begin an 11-day break before their next game against Illinois.

“Sometimes it’s feast or famine with him where he tries to do too much, and then there’s times when he looks like a million dollars,” Miller said. “Big thing is him running the team and him getting our guys going in terms of the ball movement, the sharing of the ball, making plays. He’s definitely a guy that comes in with that type of a mindset.

“As he gets ready to come into (today’s) game, hopefully he’s ready to go. In the last couple weeks he’s gotten a lot of things done for us, so he’s got to keep going.”

While Green struggled at times after returning from his injury — he scored only 21 points and had 10 turnovers across his first four games back — the junior seemed to set the foundation for Wednesday’s performance during last Saturday’s Crossroads Classic win over Butler.

Although he struggled to get his shot going against the Bulldogs, he logged five assists against one turnover, pleasing his coach.

“He did some good things against Butler,” Miller said. “He did some good things in the Louisville game, I think. … He’s been working his way back, and sometimes the opportunity and the role when you know you’re not coming out as much, you play with more confidence. But he’s been a tough guy to read at times, just because of the ups and downs and the plays that he tries sometimes that he knows he probably shouldn’t.”

At the same time, Miller acknowledges, IU is a different — and much better — team when Green is playing with traction.

He’s the Hoosiers’ best post feeder and, generally speaking, IU’s best passer. Green also gives Indiana some much-needed firepower from distance. He set a career high with six 3-pointers against Central Arkansas and is shooting 39 percent from beyond the arc in his eight games on the year.

Right now, with IU looking for more secondary offensive options, that’s a scoring punch the Hoosiers could use.

“His jump shot falls, his 3-point (shot), when he’s hitting the 3 and making plays for others, he’s hard to stop,” teammate De’Ron Davis said. “He does a lot for this team. So I feel like just his consistency with his jump shot is going to be a big key for his game personally.”

Green has also been one of IU’s steadiest defenders during his two-plus seasons. Only consistency has eluded him, something Green will try to establish in Indiana’s final game before the Christmas break.

“We’re going to need him to be as solid as possible,” Miller said.

3 comments

  1. He’s the Hoosiers’ best post feeder and, generally speaking, IU’s best passer.

    That’s not an Archie quote, so I assume it’s a Mike Miller opinion. Not one I find much agreement.

  2. From the Jacksonville game:

    Don’t know how many words can be read into a ‘Solid as a Rock’ Chris Howell photo, but have at it. Archie is probably saying something like this: “Come on, MAN!…WTF were you thinking coming to play for Tom Crean? Did you see those hot UCLA cheerleaders?”

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