Miller’s recruiting off to a “tremendous start”

Archie Miller spent the first three months of his Indiana tenure actively building relationships.

That work paid off in a big way to start this week.

With the commitments of three top 100 prospects, beginning with Minnesota forward Race Thompson on Sunday evening and continuing less than 24 hours later with verbal pledges from Ohio wing Jerome Hunter and Indiana wing Damezi Anderson, Miller is laying a foundation for the future.

In doing so, he’s beginning to answer one of the central questions surrounding his hiring. Can Miller recruit at a high enough level to make Indiana a consistent winner on the national level?

Experts believe he’s on his way.

“The idea when he came over from Dayton was that he was ready to make that leap to this level of a program, to a blue blood type of program,” Rivals.com national basketball analyst Eric Bossi said. “I think it’s a tremendous start.”

Each of the three recruits are considered four-star level prospects by the major recruiting services. Thompson, originally slotted for the 2018 class, will take advantage of IU’s last remaining scholarship and enroll at the university next month and redshirt the 2017-18 season.

Hunter and Anderson will remain in the 2018 class and presumably join the Hoosiers next summer. Already — and with three more scholarships available for the 2018-19 season — Indiana has the No. 10 recruiting class in the nation, according to 247 Sports.

During Miller’s six years guiding Dayton, he recruited a different kind of player than the caliber of prospects that should now be available to him with the keys to Assembly Hall.

“Archie had great success at Dayton, and he was an excellent, efficient mid-major, so to speak, recruiter,” said Jerry Meyer, 247 Sports’ director of scouting. “It sounds like Archie is putting together a higher level, as far as ranking and talent of individuals, type of Dayton team with interchangeable parts and versatile guys. You’re gonna have depth, and you’re gonna play hard.”

Getting Thompson, who was considered the No. 86 overall prospect in 2018, on campus this fall adds an immediate jolt to Indiana’s recruiting momentum under Miller.

Thompson will use the year to redshirt and rest his body, while practicing with his new IU teammates. It wouldn’t be shocking to see Thompson on the floor this fall, considering IU’s lack of proven post depth, but even if he follows through with the redshirt plan, his experience with the program will give him a good starting point for the 2018-19 season.

“That is a really big deal,” Bossi said. “I would tend to think that that gives him a little bit of an advantage on the other guys, at least coming right out of the chute. From a pure talent standpoint, in terms of a fit for the way Miller’s teams played at Dayton, I think that Jerome Hunter (could have an early impact in 2018). For him, it’s just a matter of adding a little more strength and becoming a little bit more of an alpha.”

From here, the direction of IU’s recruiting is obvious — the Hoosiers need a point guard.

The short list of priority targets include five-star Gary native Darius Garland, who now resides in Tennessee. McCutcheon standout Robert Phinisee, a four-star prospect, is also high on the list — and could be the most realistic option.

Indiana has also offered four-star Massachusetts native David Duke, who is more of a combo guard.

“Is there someone else out there lurking that we don’t know about yet?” Bossi said. “You’re landing these players, and someone’s got to be charged with getting them the ball. I think a point guard is maybe the biggest need, but surely Romeo Langford is that one guy that could really get Hoosier Nation’s attention.”

Landing Langford, a five-star shooting guard from New Albany, would a monumental recruiting win for Miller on par with Tom Crean getting Cody Zeller in 2010. Making up ground in a recruitment that may very well run through the spring is the challenge.

Already, though, the consensus is that Miller is off to a strong start. Each of the players who committed to Indiana this week project as three- or four-year types of players that Miller can build around during the early stages of his tenure.

And all three represent some of Miller’s earliest wins as IU coach.

“These guys in and of themselves individually are not program changers, but they’re versatile players,” Meyer said. “I think Archie is an efficient recruiter and a very smart recruiter who recruits to his system, so I think he can win with these guys. I also think they have upside. They have potential. All three can end up being better than what they’re currently ranked.”

10 comments

  1. I’m confused by “program changer” statement… IU can’t recruit any single player, at this point, that is a program changer. Not even Romeo. We’ve had a few players his caliber in the past few years. Players like that are “program maintainers” for programs like IU. Now, an entire class could be a program changer… Archie is a program changer…

    As far as these current 3 players go however, I am planting my flag right now with Jerome Hunter. He looks like a guy who could really make an impact at an all-BIG level for at least 2, if not 3, years.

  2. Geoff-

    Respectfully disagree. It’s all about perceptions. When you land a guy who the active players of Final Fours are courting, there is sort of a returned feeling of voter confidence. Surfing comes to mind(not the internet/web form, but the Banzai Pipeline/surfboard version of chasing the big wave). Prepare for the next green screen of Jeremy riding a board in a Hall Pass segment.
    Zeller was a program changer. It brought Crean validation and a wave he could ride for many more years. Without that one recruit, we would not have seen the extensions and long drawn out process of getting to a foregone conclusion regarding ceilings of certain coaches(no matter the wave they catch).
    A name like Romeo Langford coming to Indiana also becomes a program changer in terms of the national attention that rides the wave alongside all the massive news headlines(sort of like those dudes on jet skis pulling the surfers along after wipe-outs, etc).
    Not to mention the fact that Romeo is from Indiana….and wherever he goes will change the prospects of riding a wave all the way to a Final Four. This is a pure talent in “every” sense. When he hits the surfer beach, heads turn.

    The kid from South Bend is the best talent landed thus far.

    1. Nope… What did Ben Simmons change at LSU? Are there going to be McD AA’s lining up to play at Missouri the next few years?

      IU has been competing for, and landing, top 5, 10, 20 players for as long as the services that rank them have been around. We’ll still compete if we don’t get Langford. We’ll probably never be a program that is attractive to multiple 1-and-done types in a given year… and that’s probably ok with the majority of the fan base.

      And that play at the 1:34 mark was a simple, straight forward, ball fake, dribble, pull-up jumper… It certainly looks like he can shoot the ball, but I don’t see the athleticism for him to be much more than a 1 trick pony at IU. That being said, I’m happy to have him as a floor spacer, who can average double-figures and hit big shots. I’m just not expecting him to create his own shot, make plays for others, or defend multiple positions.

      1. Nope…back at you. This is a new coach and he has to prove he can land the state’s best. It completely changes the landscape and the program when it becomes far less a given when premier players from Indiana are not simply there for the picking when Calipari or Duke call. It changed the perception of the health of the program for Crean(though completely false because of his coaching shortcomings on the biggest stages) ….and it will change the perception for Archie.

        Land recruits the caliber of Romeo for a coach the quality of Archie and it most definitely changes the program.

        1. Davis got Jeffries, Sampson got Gordon, Crean got a few McDonald AA’s including Cody… IU will always compete for these guys…

          Archie helped get a lot of those type guys to Arizona under his brother… the assistants are no noobs… They’ll do it at IU as well.

          1. Didn’t Knight get Jeffries? Wasn’t Knight the main reason Coverdale,, Jeffries, and Fife committed to IU?
            Sampson did get Gordon but the season was in destruction mode …and we got Dakich as the coach. And most say that EJ wouldn’t have come without Kelvin.
            And I highly doubt Cody comes without Crean.

            But is some sort of manner, they were all program changers because of the hoopla and momentum they create. It’s often the coach as much as the program(though we’d all love to believe it’s simply the lure of candy stripe warm-ups and great fans) being pivotal in a top recruits decision. The validation changes the program.

            But in reality, Archie cannot be labeled a program changer anymore than a high profile recruit. He has a lot of proving ground to go. Until he proves he can guide his recruits to NCAA stages we’ve rarely visited over the last 15 years, he’s simply just another in the revolving door who have come up far short.

  3. I really don’t want multiple “1-and-done types” in a given year….but landing Romeo would be too much fun. With the athleticism already landed? Wow…Great length along with some major sharing of the ball…. and versatility that will give opponent’s fits.

  4. Crean had “The Movement”…..

    Archie (courtesy of Harvard and Dick Dale) shall own “The Wave.”

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