Green excited to lead Hoosiers into ’19-20

ROSEMONT, Ill. — At the dawn of a basketball season, the grand ballroom of the Hilton Rosemont was filled with swarms of upbeat players and coaches from across the Big Ten.

They sat at round tables and talked about their most optimistic visions for the upcoming season. For the most part, they looked forward with appreciation during Wednesday’s media day, but Indiana senior Devonte Green also took a moment to think back.

Eight months ago, the 6-foot-3 guard was coming off of a three-game suspension for failing to meet team standards. Now he’s a newly elected team captain, humbled by one of the lowest moments of his junior season.

“I just valued it more,” Green said. “I appreciated the position I was in and took a step back and realized that I’m in a good place. It could be worse. That’s one of my favorite sayings I tell myself. It helps me move on to the next thing. I take it as a lesson, not a loss.”

After last season’s up-and-down campaign, the Hoosiers are hoping to take all they learned and apply it. Green, expected to handle more of the scoring load, will be one crucial piece, but the Hoosiers’ hopes don’t rest solely with him.

The depth and versatility of this team excite third-year coach Archie Miller. Rob Phinisee is the point guard, but Green and junior co-captain Al Durham can also handle the ball. Senior forward De’Ron Davis should anchor the post, but freshman Trayce Jackson-Davis and junior Joey Brunk should also give the Hoosiers a presence in the paint. There are a variety of forwards standing 6-6 or taller, from Jerome Hunter and Damezi Anderson to Race Thompson and Justin Smith. They all should contribute.

“There shouldn’t be a day where we feel apprehensive about putting a guy in a game,” Miller said. “We should feel confident in all of our guys, that we have the deepest team that we’ve had since we’ve been here.”

IU’s two leading scorers from a season ago, Romeo Langford and Juwan Morgan, may have moved on. But with an abundance of pieces, Miller reviews his roster and sees the makings of a team that’s fun to watch.

As long as they do one thing well.

“Move the ball, man,” Miller said.

That’s a point that has been and will continue to be driven home.

“You have to have possessions at times where it’s five, six, seven, eight passes,” Miller said. “When you are showing film as a team, the credit is given to the pass, the credit is given to sharing. It’s not the scorer. We need a group that, as a team, scores a lot of points from a lot of different people.

“Maybe it’s Devonte and Al having good nights, but maybe it’s our front line being able to get to the free throw line a ton. A lot of different ways to skin a cat, but this team? Ball movement.”

In recent interviews, IU’s players have described a team that’s found better chemistry in offseason workouts. Some of the maturity that was missing during a stretch where the Hoosiers lost 12 of 13 games, they hope, has dissipated.

Green is an early example of a player who seems to have grown. Miller saw it in how Green responded to the suspension, averaging 15.4 points per contest in the final seven games of the 2018-19 season. Miller continued to see it in Green’s approach to the offseason.

His teammates validated that leadership by electing him captain.

“Devonte is a talented, talented player. Everyone on our team respects that,” Miller said. “He’s going to have to be there every day, like he has from the end of the season until right now. He’s as good as there is in terms of where he’s at right now from where he’s been, in terms of every day in the weight room, more vocal, and our conditioning plan, how he’s attacked that.

“He knows right now this is his time and he’s going to have a lot of rope. He has to do a lot with it.”

Having been through his share of ups and downs, Green appreciates where he has landed.

Now it’s a question of moving forward.

“I’ve been here four years. To finally be a captain my senior year is a big deal for me,” Green said. “I plan on leading my young guys.”

2 comments

  1. Averaged 15+ over the final 7 games last. Now that’s something opponents have to key on. With solid play underneath a 3 guard assault of Green, Capt. Al and RP could can be a real strikeforce and play smothering D.

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