Hoosier reserves making push for playing time

They’re not playing much right now.

So behind the scenes, Indiana reserves Clifton Moore, Damezi Anderson and Jake Forrester are trying to force their coach’s hand.

Archie Miller said on his weekly radio show Monday that all three underclassmen are developing into more reliable players in practice as the regular season continues. The second-year IU coach seems comfortable sticking with a tight, nine-man rotation at the moment, though he also indicated that Anderson, Moore and Forrester could find themselves earning more minutes as Indiana closes the non-conference slate this week against Central Arkansas and Jacksonville.

“I’ve been really impressed with all three guys,” Miller said.

Moore, a 6-foot-10 sophomore forward, seems to have made the biggest strides of the trio. Having a year of experience in Miller’s program has helped.

After posting three points, four rebounds, a block and a steal during the final seven minutes of the first half in IU’s 64-62 win at Penn State on Dec. 4, Moore spoke about how an uptick in confidence from last season to the current campaign has allowed him to play more freely.

During IU’s practices, Miller sees as much.

“Clifton may be as improved of a basketball player as we’ve had at Indiana, in terms of what he’s done very quietly,” Miller said. “Clifton is right there to help our basketball team right now.”

While Miller found a segment where he could steal some minutes and use Moore against Penn State, the Hoosiers’ recent run of four consecutive one-possession victories has made the Indiana coach hesitant to reach deep into his bench.

Of the Moore, Anderson, Forrester trio, only Moore has seen the floor in a game this month — and that was restricted to his seven-minute cameo in State College.

“We have to find a way to work rotations and whatnot,” Miller said. “Our games haven’t been comfortable. You’re winning and losing on almost every play. Clifton did a great job at Penn State. Coming off the Penn State game, I think he earned the right to probably get in there a little bit more. So we’re gonna try and work on that a little bit.”

Anderson was a featured rotation player for the Hoosiers during the first month of the season, taking on a larger-than-anticipated role while injuries poked holes in IU’s depth.

The 6-foot-7 freshman wing arrived at IU with a reputation as a — occasionally streaky — long-distance shooter who needed time to round out the rest of his game.

Still, with IU in need of healthy reserves, Anderson averaged 15.1 minutes across Indiana’s seven games in November. He logged more than 20 minutes in contests against Arkansas and Chicago State.

“Damezi was thrust in there early with injuries and he worked hard,” Miller said. “Then, he’s kind of had to take a step back as we’ve gotten the older guys back. He’s actually practiced (well) in the last two and a half weeks. He’s had a great attitude. He’s getting better without anyone seeing it.”

Forrester, a 6-foot-8 freshman forward, has appeared in only four games — and only once since Nov. 14.

“Jake and Damezi, over the course of the season, you never know what happens,” Miller said. “Both of those guys could get in there. They’re there every day in practice. They’re working hard at it. To me, we have a good culture right now in terms of the identity of what it’s supposed to look like every day.”

6 comments

  1. Again theres no need to be so stubborn with the rotation as long as you have them play with starters again if a team like FSU can 10 or 11 guys why cant he?he’s said they have earned time on the court so find a way, this is why they pay him 3 or 4 mil a year

  2. But FSU is goin to be a tournament team but thats not even the point,the point is he says guys have earned time well play them or you will have a situation where guys will start leave

  3. That’s called thinning the herd, and the players not getting enough minutes can search for a new school that fits their level of talent. If I U didn’t, have the injury problem this year with Hunter and Thompson the number of playing minutes would be even more scarce.

  4. Damezi was considered a top Indiana h.s. recruit(I believe he was ranked #3 in scoring)…His riding pine for so many games is a bit baffling. All of our shooters have been “streaky”….I would hate to see Damezi transfer. He’s very quick and athletic…and adds decent size to a backcourt.

    Don’t turn off the northern tier of the state, Archie. There have been kids from those northern counties who have helped fuel teams like Michigan to deep tournament runs.

    Give Damezi some PT…Let’s see what he can do.

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