Highlights from Archie Miller’s radio show

Archie Miller and Don Fischer returned to the microphone on Thursday night for the latest edition of Miller’s weekly radio show.

Highlights of his appearance follow:

— On what makes Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ such an impressive player: “I think the thing is he’s a complete player. He does everything. He defends, he rebounds, he blocks shots, he handles the ball. The way they play and the way his game is suited, it’s a perfect match. You have a very savvy offensive player who can play facing the basket or with his back to the basket.”

— On IU’s foul troubles: “I think the big thing really comes down to discipline. The harder you play, the less you foul. The harder you work before the ball gets to your man, the harder you work in the game before anything gets to you is usually how you prevent fouling.”

— On fixing his team’s inconsistency midway through the season: “I think the one thing is just identifying individual guys and what is the problem. It’s ‘How can I help you?’ As a team, it’s being locked in on the process of getting better and not being distracted from the outside noise. You have to be willing to, as a group, shut that out and stay within the process. … I think our perimeter guys, they’re tight. They’re not playing the game as aggressively as they need to and, to be honest with you, (they’re not) playing with great freedom.”

— On his decision to start Zach McRoberts at Wisconsin: “He’s earned his opportunity to get in there. Part of the reason is, over a long period of time, you look at certain analytics and it’s overwhelming that the plus-minus when he’s on the floor is the highest on the team. Not one game, but seven or eight.”

— On the mentality of his team at this point: “I think anytime you’ve gone through a lot of ups and downs, your team is looking for answers. The one good thing is there’s work ethic. There was always work ethic. The one thing we’re searching for are opportunities for a few guys to be a little more consistent.”

— On the challenge of balancing school with basketball as the start of the spring semester looms: “The spring semester is always the hardest semester for a college basketball player. The fall, you have time when you’re not practicing to get off to a good start, but when you immediately start classes (in the spring), you’re on the road and you’re back. … It’s very delicate in January and February to balance academics. You can really get behind. We meet every week with our academic coordinator to (see where guys are).”

— On the urgency of his players: “I think that’s a daily challenge. There’s a lot of different guys that have leadership qualities. In many ways, emotion and passion and wearing stuff on your sleeve, I’m not sure we have a lot of guys that have that as part of their deal. … Without question, it’s one of the things we’ve really searched for on this team, to have a burning fire.”

— On his relationship with former Ohio State coach Thad Matta: “I speak with Thad kind of regularly, at least in text message. It’s kind of funny to communicate with him now that he’s not in coaching because he’s kind of laughing at me. He knows what I’m going through. He knows what all coaches are going through.”

— On his favorite motivational tools in practice: “Treadmills, film and video. Most importantly, every kid at the end of the day likes individual work. … This time of year, especially, you spend more time individually working with guys.”

— On seeing IU’s lack of energy at times in games: “Deflating. The one thing about the game of basketball is it’s a team game. There’s a lot of different guys who can help you win games. But part of winning is confidence and attitude and a passion to play. You have to be totally engaged. Sometimes, the most frustrating part is having to create that culture of passion and excitement. When it’s not there, it deflates you. More than anything, you have to find guys who embody what you do and understand that’s the most important thing.”


  1. “More than anything, you have to find guys who embody what you do and understand that’s the most important thing.”

    I think Coach Miller in so many words just told everyone wherein lies the problem. Don’t have enough on roster who do that this year. It’ll take a couple years, but I think they are coming.

  2. I think that is why I feel so good about Coach Miller and why Crean was not the right guy. Archie is about the process of building a team. I always worried when Crean or even Davis was the coach. We had to get the big name 5 Star or we wouldn’t have a chance. With Coach Miller, I feel like he will build a team. Unfortunately, he is stuck this year with a lot of guys that he inherited. We have 2 Senior guards that are really horrible. That amazes me. However, I was hoping that he would take Crean’s guys and we would see more consistency or growth. We do at times but then we regress. Basically, we have one guy that can score (Morgan). Other than that, it is just so streaky. I feel like Coach Miller says all the right things and he had great success at Dayton with that same philosophy. In 2013-14 season they went to the Elite 8. Crean never did that. He had more talent but never got the most out of it. Crean talked a lot but you never saw that translate into success or sustained success. He did win BiG Championships but never Big Ten Tournament or much success in the tournament. I am still very optimistic about Coach Miller. I think Mike’s article above really demonstrates really good points from Coach Miller’s show. Thank you so much.

  3. It would be interesting to hear what Thad Matta has to say. Ive always heard at one point IU was his dream job, but I’m not sure if that’s accurate. What a great hire he would of been in 2000. A true Midwest guy from Illinois who had coaching experience in Ohio and Indiana. He really got his fair share of kids from Indiana and basically enjoyed the Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois recruiting pipeline that Bob Knight once had. I feel confident with Archie coming from Marta’s coaching tree that we will eventually enjoy a similar success that Matta had for a majority of his career.

  4. The “fire” has to also come from a coach’s ability to project some sort of “it factor” upon the interpersonal relationships.

    Knight may have appeared the constant tyrant, but somewhere along the line he had the ability to get an unbelievable level of personal investment from kid’s who identified with the “fire” in his voice/message.

    The best coaches in the business are masters of the game …and of the interpersonal relationships that build trust and loyalty. They must possess some sort of “it factor.” I don’t think that’s something any coach develops over time. You either have it …or you don’t.

    1. And just one more thought….There is a very spiritual side to “it factor”(and I don’t mean that in any professed religious sense). I don’t see having the mysterious “it factor” as a constant. It leaps …It only holds true to the soul as long as the soul remains humble, forgiving(including of oneself), and uncorrupted. It rewards…It comes and goes without notice. It may stay for some years…or exit in a flash to never return. When you capture anything in a bottle, be eternally grateful…whether it be aptitude or love….or destiny. Be thankful that the “it factor” found your doorstep. It doesn’t find many….for very long. And though some lost souls may believe they have nothing of such mysteries in their abilities, never deny yourself a chance to be unique and true to whatever you may hope and believe.

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