Green standing out to IU’s new coaching staff

A merger of cultural regions is taking place within Devonte Green’s basketball toolbox.

To first-year Indiana basketball coach Archie Miller, it’s just to his liking.

In Green, a sophomore from Long Island, N.Y., Miller sees two kinds of players — an East Coast ball handler and an Indiana defender.

They’re complementary approaches that have allowed Green to become one of IU’s most intriguing backcourt options this preseason.

“One of the biggest surprises, with me not knowing a whole lot (coming in), is Devonte Green,” Miller said. “Devonte is a guy that clearly has stood out.”

The 6-foot-3 guard earned this season’s first gold practice jersey, which Miller awards weekly to IU’s most productive player in workout sessions. Green followed with team highs in points (22), assists (seven) and rebounds (six) during Indiana’s exhibition opener last weekend, a 93-62 victory over Marian.

After emerging as a role player late during his freshman season, Green has an opportunity to follow through with much higher objectives this year.

“He’s filling a lot of boxes right now with deflections, steals, assists,” Miller said. “Moving him as a primary ball handler, maybe even into some point guard this year, is something I’m looking forward to exploring, because I think he’s a guy on our team that can really be creative.”

That’s the East Coast vibe that permeates from Green, who appears to be Indiana’s most natural offensive creator. Miller has had success with with New York guards in the past, most recently with Dayton’s Scoochie Smith, a Bronx native who led the Flyers in minutes, assists (4.5) and steals (51) as a senior last season.

Green, meanwhile, can get the ball to places few on IU’s roster can, while blending quickness and toughness in a way that makes him one of the most unique Hoosiers on the roster.

“He’s got a lot of city in his game, in terms of how he maneuvers, plays,” Miller said. “He’s got a lot of style. Now, we’ve got to take a little bit of the style and tone it down. Just to get a layup, it doesn’t need to be that pretty type of thing. Or don’t try to make the play every single time.”

Those are decision-making qualities Green will wrestle with as he continues to mature.

He committed 40 turnovers in 32 games — all but three of which saw him come off the bench — equating to a team-worst turnover percentage of 28.8.

Green’s challenge is finding a balance between the style that makes his game unique, while also finding ways to keep it functional within the framework of an offense.

“I’m sure he wants me to tone it down a little bit, but he accepts my game for what it is,” Green said. “We have to come to a middle ground somewhere.”

Miller has been extremely complimentary of Green’s competitiveness in practice settings, particularly on the defensive end.

Green showed glimpses of his potential on that end of the floor last season, finishing third on the team with 22 steals. This fall, he’s continued to demonstrate that his defensive fundamentals will translate well to Miller’s pack-line defense.

“He’s given me great confidence that he could be an Indiana defender,” Miller said.

What, to Miller, is an Indiana defender?

“When you see it, you know it,” Miller said. “After watching our guys at Dayton under our tenure there, any Dayton defenders, you see the talent level. You see sort of the mindset at times, where a guy is obviously very, very calculated and is smart and can get places at times. You see the toughness and you see the approach that, as a coach, you want to see — working in a stance, down, and also feel, IQ. He can talk and communicate.”

Altogether they’re qualities that Miller covets, qualities that Green has established as central to his game.

“I just bring it every day,” Green said, “and I guess he sees that.”

9 comments

  1. Mike,
    Something is either unique or it is not. Something cannot be more (or most) unique.

    It’s like being dead.

        1. In math it means the only object with “this” quality. Ok, no “more/most” adjectives. However, in English, it means “unlike” anything else. Unlike is a judgment, not a “thing”. Thus, “more/most” works fine.

          1. Unique is always up for debate. e.g. “I don’t think he’s the unique person you claim him to be. I think he has qualities that are under the absolute threshold …or ‘less’ than the one-of-a-kind things that you perceive.”
            Only a god can be truly an absolute unique anything, I think. Maybe we should just do away with using ‘unique’…If it can’t be compared(or framed into a sentence as a “judgment” call), then it is a redundant observation from the day you are conceived. It’s what parents say to their kids when they struggle at something….”Oh, Bobby, don’t worry about the ‘F’ on your report card. You are unique! You uniquely tried in your own special way. Everyone can get an ‘F’…but you get it in totally unique fashion…Well, maybe not totally. You see, Bobby, unique already means you’re one of a kind. Don’t get me wrong, I totally love you…I still believe your blend of unique is better. Better than what? So that makes you more unique, you ask? No, I’m not saying you’re more unique…You’re just unique. Wait, I shouldn’t say just unique. Using ‘just’ reduces your unique….Did you know they’re replicating DNA now, Bobby? Soon you won’t be just unique…You’ll be just the product of a test tube….your own little one-of-a-kind unique test tube. Because no two test tubes are truly alike. They are all unique. Different lot numbers..different concentrations of atoms and densities. You won’t even need a unique mommy or a unique daddy to be manufactured from a unique test tube in a converted garage, you unique little runt. Upon further review, call your uncle Chet. “

          2. created an account just to weigh in on this “unique” debate. I’m going to have to side with BeatPurdue’s argument. I think each player’s game can be classified as “unique”. The other players on the team have a unique game with varying similarities, but DG has the “most unique” game because he doesn’t have as many similarities as the rest.

  2. Anal Retentiveness 101 is now in session. Are your No. 2 pencils properly sharpened? Let’s get started.

  3. He could be the best defender in IU history, but if he keeps turning the ball over like he did last season, he’ll be watching his teammates play defense.

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