Moore building confidence to help Indiana

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — It’s all about having confidence. Right now, Clifton Moore is building his own.

Moore walked out of the Bryce Jordan Center on Tuesday night feeling encouraged by his seven-minute, first-half cameo in IU’s 64-62 win at Penn State. For good reason.

It was an uplifting performance, both for Moore and the Hoosiers. The IU sophomore forward provided some key production while helping Indiana overcome its early deficit, building belief in his own game all the while.

And for a player whose role has been slow to develop during his first year-plus with the Hoosiers, it appeared to be a long-awaited step in the right direction.

“It feels real good,” Moore said. “(I’m) just taking it day-by-day in practice, just waiting on my opportunity and I (was) just excited to get out there.”

Moore was especially impactful during his first minute-plus on the floor, posting three points and two rebounds, while getting credit for a steal during that span.

His points came on a conventional three-point play that saw Moore draw a foul on a tip in. On the ensuing possession, Moore unfurled his arms and deflected a pass to force a turnover. Later, in the moments before the under-4 media timeout, Moore again used his length to block a shot.

During Moore’s first 2:38 on the floor, IU outscored Penn State 11-4.

“He came in and got some big rebounds,” guard Romeo Langford said. “He had that tip in, and-1. Him coming off the bench, he was ready.”

In recent weeks, IU coach Archie Miller has mentioned that while he was comfortable with his frontcourt rotation of Juwan Morgan, De’Ron Davis and Evan Fitzner, Moore and fellow forward Jake Forrester were “chomping at the bit” to earn more playing time. Moore entered Tuesday’s game having logged merely 15 minutes across his first four appearances of the season.

Miller’s willingness to use Moore during the first half of IU’s first Big Ten road game signaled two things — that Miller was determined to steal some minutes while his frontcourt navigated early fouls, and that Moore has recently been doing enough in practice to earn the trust of Indiana’s coaching staff.

Miller has said repeatedly during his first year-plus on the job that he will only use the players that consistently perform during practice.

Tuesday’s playing time indicates that Moore is beginning to surface to his coach’s satisfaction.

“Clif deserved a trial,” Miller said. “Jake will probably get in here eventually, as well. Guys have to be able to make tough plays. When Clifton got in there, he gave us a spark. He offensive rebounded, he blocked some shots, he got some defensive rebounds. He contributed to a good portion of the first half when we needed him.”

According to Langford, Moore’s contributions didn’t surprise his IU teammates.

“None of us were shocked by it because we all work hard during practice, especially him,” Langford said. “When your name is called, be ready. He was ready. He helped us out big on the defensive end and on rebounds.”

Moore’s ability to build off Tuesday will be crucial. Although he was uneven at times, and got beat during a couple sequences on the defensive end, Moore seemed to move well and have a good idea of what was expected of him.

He also demonstrated that he has useful, natural length that could benefit Indiana once Big Ten play resumes next month. Moore is still raw in some areas, but his length has the potential to add a further dimension to Indiana’s rotation, even if it’s merely in situational minutes.

His ability to use it to his advantage in a Big Ten road game on Tuesday was the product of an uptick in confidence that has been building across recent months.

“His confidence has grown,” Langford said. “Also, his ability to be a big time shot blocker. It’s hard to get shots over him.”

Moore’s encouraging play Tuesday came in front of a pack of friends and family who made the three-hour drive from his hometown of Ambler, Pa. to State College.

“They were cheering my name out there,” Moore said.

That only seemed to fortify the confidence that Moore has recently developed, a necessary breakthrough for a player hungry to earn a bigger role.

“It’s growing even more,” Moore said of his self-belief. “(I’m) just proving that I can do it.”

51 comments

  1. Archie’s use of the word “trial” is most interesting. I appreciate Archie maintaining extremely high standards, and in the long run, that’s going to be most valuable to the program. But Archie has a short-term problem. He talks about performance in practice, but what about performance in games? During his brief stint last night, Moore looked better than Smith, a lot better And Fitzner is not built to bang in the paint. Archie’s going to need more capable frontcourt players before the end of the season. Furthermore, while he’s recruiting excellent talent, it’s not like he has an abundance of 5-star bigs begging to play for IU over the next two seasons. Next year he’ll lose JM and Fitzner and probably Romeo. He’s got a potential McDonalds All American coming in, but besides the freshman and Davis, who else is going to make up the front court? I’d love to see Moore and Forrester, and Thompson too if he is fully recovered, get some minutes in our next four non-conference games.

    1. Do you believe there are players who play better in games than in practice? How would you evaluate playing time in the first 10 games of your season, Coach?

      Playing Time, Eval Time:

      – Fitzner: gets playing time because he’s shooting 3s better than anyone. Defensive liability. 3 pt shooters get way more playing time in today’s game.
      – Smith: one of our stronger big-bodies on defense. Don’t have many big bodies Turnovers plaguing his game. Plays too much in his head. His potential is still there.
      – Moore: played a handful of very productive offensive minutes in one game. Showed nothing in the games he played in garbage time this year. He also had a couple of big miscues on defense in the PSU game that didn’t show up on the stat sheet. He might be a nice player, but you can see the game is still a bit fast for him at the D1 level.

      I absolutely love how you said Archie isn’t getting any big men to play at Indiana…..EXCEPT FOR THE 5 STAR RECRUIT, WHO IS THE BEST PLAYER IN THE STATE OF INDIANA, WHO SIGNED LAST WEEK!

      Lottery Ticket is on a roll.

      1. Agree, Double Down. You have the key anchors for next season. Davis and Phinisee (top post/inside player and top point guard/distributor), which will make many future potential recruits salivate at the chance to sign on the dotted line.
        We need a lights out shooter ….but I believe Archie will locate a net-burner from the backyard.

  2. Coaches need to quit being ridged and stubborn play guys who can perform i dont care about 2 man rotations just let Moore and Forrester play if they’ve shown they are ready for minutes its ridiculous if a school like Florida State can play 10 or 11 guys get production from them then Indiana can too

  3. There’s advantage to seeing the I U Basketball in person and not just seeing what on the T V screen and see the total scope of the game. Moore has some real physical qualities height, length natural shot blocker but he’s still a raw talent overall. Moore is really improved over last year, but still has several areas that need improvement. I would like to see Thompson get healthy and get playing time and be able show the fans his talent and add depth on the front line.

  4. Archie already getting a little heat …from the loyal patrons. It’s Indiana…It’s Indiana. Soon we’ll be comparing the clapping style and billboard forehead to Tom Crean. But he ain’t Tom Crean, experts. Archie is actually a coach. He is about as much of an upgrade as we could have hoped considering the tragic lack of likability from in-state talent brushing us aside before his arrival.
    Personally, I stick with Justin Smith. You’d kill the kid’s confidence for a very long time if you set him extensively now. Shoot the ball, Justin….Just shoot the damn ball.
    Archie has his work cut out for him. When your program basically became a personal development center for a handful of NBA runway models from the East, the work to make it something about team and banners again is a challenge not concluded overnight.

    1. Not necessarily….Some coaches see “winning” as adding to their list of a selected few who went from rather unknown to so-called NBA superstar. They sell themselves as a hot commodity because a reputation of getting guys to Draft Night. The winning is in satisfying personal dreams(coach and his high-flying recruit) and anything the team doesn’t achieve is barely a lost night of sleep.
      What did we win on the biggest stages in the last 10 years? The big recruiter who was chalkboard challenged still got his 30 million. Phenoms got their draft night….and their millions. Banners were not even remotely close …..but many fans still saw such billboards for a few as “winning” for IU.

  5. IU absolutely should NOT lower it’s standards and play guys who are not ready to contribute at the highest level. The goal of Coach Miller is to produce a championship caliber team. How many players ride the benches of the Dukes, Kentuckys, Kansas, etc. of the world the entire season without seeing the floor? Players need to flat out earn playing, period.

  6. I trust Coach Miller. He knows what he’s got, don’t got and what he’s doing. Short term and long. The development of Durham, Davis and now Moore is the proof this staff can hone talent into skills. The programs coaching and recruiting is in very capable leadership.

  7. Coaches want to win. There are those who don’t know how to win at least for long term…so alternatively may get caught up in NBA farm system. However, that only lasts so long if they don’t win at their respective school if it’s a major basketball program of priority.

  8. Archie is a winner and I believe he is well on his way to getting IU back to being a powerhouse program. Exciting times for the Hoosier Nation on the hardwood.

  9. If you hand Jeremy Price $200,000 guaranteed per year for the next five years to write “winning” Scoop and HT stories, will the product be much different in year 5?
    Sure, everyone wants to win….but many coaches are operating in a privilege league where simply fulfilling average expectations will grant you millions upon millions. We were giving the previous guy contract extensions (for what….?)…..when nearly every other major program from the Midwest(and some minor…e.g. Loyola) were reaching 25 collective Elite Eight’s and many Final Fours.
    “Coaches want to win”….is as cheaply construed in marketing nonsense as “It’s Indiana.” They are not paid to only win and they are not accountable to win at Indiana on the biggest stages of college basketball. Our last decade of hoops is proof of the low bar holding “wants” to “abilities to win.”

    Contracts are too long. Extensions are too easily secured. Expectations do not align with what every other working stiff must face everyday when they walk out the door for their 9 to 5…or midnight to 8. It is a world of elitism basketball. It began in the NBA and the influence/sell job which goes along with making into the NBA as the ultimate achievement has grossly infected the college/amateur games.

    Winning is media coverage. Winning is the next Adidas deal. Winning is sucking viewers into cable packages to watch average teams still sold as blue bloods. Winning is being part of an elite class securing the profits granted to the few within the closed system of “winning.’ The public…? They are the bamboozled. They are the “fan” of nearly everything. They are fairweather zombies existing on a 24/7 diet of everything matters, thus making nothing matter, drained of any fire or passion or clue to what winning truly is. Winning is not in vogue. To be in vogue is winning.

  10. I’d trust Archie with my three little kittens who lost their mittens….

    The three little kittens they lost their banners,
    And they began to cry,
    Oh, mother dear, we sadly fear
    Our banners we have lost
    What? Lost your banners, you naughty kittens!
    Then you shall have no pie….but you’ll still get 3 million/year for the next 10 years.
    Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow.
    We shall have no pie….with our millions
    Our banners we have lost.

    The three little kittens they found their banners….(well, actually three banners’ reunions but mother doesn’t really care),
    And they began to smile,
    Oh, mother dear, see here, see here,
    Our banners reunions we have found
    What? Found your banners reunions without any winning banners you good little kittens,
    And you shall have some pie.
    Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow.
    We shall have some pie….and get drafted in the kitty lottery
    Let us have some pie….and 27 million guaranteed before I can legally have bourbon pie

  11. In the religion that is Hoosier Basketball it is forbidden to question or criticize a coach who implements the style of play and exhibits the demeanor/communication style that Hoosier fans identify with.

  12. Not criticizing Archie at all. I’m the guy on this site that stated my preference for Archie before anyone else. I remain optimistic about Archie’s impact on IU BB. I appreciate his high performance standards, his ability to recruit and the way his teams play. I’m just pointing out that the “faith” many Hoosier fans have in Archie is based more on the style of play that he coaches and his communication style, and not on any major coaching achievements.

    IU’s former basketball coach took a team to the final four in his fourth year as a head coach. He inherited a dumpster fire in Bloomington but lead IU to two outright Big Ten Championships and three appearances in the Sweet 16. He was honored as Big Ten Coach of the Year, twice. But in spite of that, he was run out of town, suggesting that with Hoosier basketball fans, style/personality is more important than substance.

    Archie was Dayton’s head coach for six years and never lead a team to the Final Four (Elite Eight’s not bad). It’s too early to judge his performance at IU, but I wonder how long it will take him to lead IU to a Big Ten Championship, an appearance in the Sweet 16, and then most importantly, a trip to the final four? Currently, the question is, can he mold players he did not recruit into productive contributors, or will they get frustrated and transfer because they don’t fit into his system?

  13. H4H. No argument from me about pay, opportunities, perks and etc are all out of wack for almost all those at the elite/non elite top across the board in society/this country/world. That does include basketball and many sports at all levels. I have noted this a few times in past posts.

  14. HC, you reference “improving results.” I ask, relative to what? Are you referring to Crean’s last year or Crean’s second year as IU’s coach? Or is that just code for Archie’s style of play and/or personality / communication style?

    How long before Archie leads IU to the outright Big Ten Championship and/or an appearance in the Final Four. How log before IU BB regains it status as being amongst the elite BB programs in the country? Two more years, four more years? That’s the relevant question, because as it was so often pointed out by so many contributors on this site while Crean was the coach, anything less than getting to the Final Four is simply not good enough.

    1. The standard for Indiana basketball used to be to field a team every year that would compete for a national title. Finish top four in the conference standings (Crean 2 out of 9 years). A bid to the dance should be a given (Crean 4 out of 9 years. A trip to the sweet 16 or elite 8 is considered a success (Crean 3 out of 9 years).

      You can look at Sean Miller’s career arc at Xavier and Arizona and get a pretty good idea of where Archie is going to take Indiana (minus the allegations of course). Their career arcs are nearly identical after seven years of head coaching. I have no doubt that Archie can get IU back to the old standard and very soon.

      1. “You can look at Sean Miller’s career arc and get a pretty good idea of where Archie is going to take Indiana.”

        In much the same way as you can look at the late William Krzyzewski’s career and get a pretty good idea where Mike Krzyzewski will take Duke.

        Come on, man.

        1. Yes, and the trajectory of Pat Knight’s coaching career mirrors his father so closely that they remain a set of near parallel lines destined to intersect at a town named ‘Codayinelle.’

  15. Gene Keady had five Big Ten titles in the span of nine seasons…Four were outright.
    Somebody else ninety minutes south of West Lafayette-to-have-a-banner was taking home championships in their lunch pail…

    Keady did get to a pair of Elite Eights…I suppose I’d still take the comb-over over the last decade to graduate into the second weekend of March Madness.

  16. Typical HC, when you can’t answer the question you just post another dismissive response.

    fish, you can’t count Crean’s first three years at IU. He inherited a disaster and had exactly one scholarship player on the roster upon arrival. So really, to be fair, it was 2 out of 6 years finishing in the top 4 in the Big Ten (#1 both times) and 4 out of 6 years getting to the dance (3 Sweet 16s). Given that HC tells us that Archie’s “style of play is known to and is presently bringing about improving results,” we can expect IU to make it to the Sweet 16 and win a Big Ten Championship BEFORE his fifth season at IU. That’s exciting!

    By the way, I follow Arizona athletics closely and know a lot of passionate Wildcat fans and boosters. Sean’s job is hanging by a thread. If he’s found guilty of even the smallest infraction, he won’t bounce until Scottsdale. As one of my buddies likes to say, “never has a coach achieved so little with so much.” I don’t agree with that statement, but like many IU fans, a lot of Wildcat fans don’t really care about PAC-12 Championships. They want to see AZ play in the final four. And losing in the first round of the tourney with the best player in college basketball on the roster shortened Sean’s leash.

    1. He forced Crawford off the team….His own damn fault for removing another scholarship player.
      Indiana kids still wanted to play for Indiana throughout most his tenure, yet he burned that bridge by attempting to find his next D-Wade in D-East Coast….His own damn fault.

      He acquired the most heralded recruit from the state in the last 25 years(Damon Bailey only more coveted) and failed to get to the second weekend in March Madness because he was inept at coaching against a zone.

      He had more “choice” players scholarship crunched or removed from the team by his own hand due to foul-ups than anything under Knight’s entire career. If you want the names and events, I’ll happily supply.

      You simply have no clue to just how dysfunctional this man was to Indiana Basketball. He was given a wonderful opportunity. He turned it into blame game and holier-than-thou righteous nonsense that ended up boomeranging him in the chops.

      The End.

  17. Final four will be good only if there’s a big ten championship, big ten tournament championship (still waiting), and National Championship. Can be in same year or multiple years. A final four by itself is only good enough for a year or two.

  18. At least Butler appears to be removed from ‘elite’ references and back to being Cinderella again. Purdon’t doesn’t look very strong. They’re in bigger trouble in the front court than IU.
    Northwestern looks down.
    OSU looks down. Holtmann was overrated.
    MSU is fading with Izzo’s fading years….and an MSU still festering in their despicable athletic department’s deeds.

    Illinois is moving upward. Extremely fast team. They are going to improve immensely with Underwood.

    It’s a very opportunistic time for Indiana University basketball….I hope Archie is the guy who can take advantage of the lulls around us.

  19. Harv,

    Why do you think OSU is down? They haven’t played the toughest schedule in the world, but they are 8-1. Pretty good for a young team. I hope they’re overrated, but have to admit that I feel like this program is on better footing than most in the B1G.

    Totally feel ya with MSU. I still am shocked by how relatively little blowback has happened after the institutionalized child rape that happened for decades there. USA Gymnastics just went bankrupt. Doesn’t seem like MSU will even lose a scholarship. NCAA FTW once again.

  20. Maybe I’m wrong on OSU…My time watching them play is pretty limited but I just wasn’t impressed.
    I think we have the true superstar in the league in Romeo.
    Under Matta, OSU regularly plucked high level talent from Indiana. Does Holtmann get off to the same running start?…Matta had the fortune of the frivolous 3-way calling scandal derailing our program…and then the convenience of our last coach who simply didn’t see recruiting Indiana as a priority(post Mr. Everything Hinges).
    I realize I sound like a true Indiana homer, but if you look closely at rosters, teams like OSU, Xavier, UK, Michigan, MSU benefited immensely by securing key roster talent from the Hoosier state. Many are still reaping the rewards…even beyond the Midwest(e.g. Kyle Guy @ Virginia).
    Will we get them all to now favor Indiana because of Archie? Of course not…But there is a new set of priorities now in Bloomington. There is an understanding of the lost ground. The competent hire restores a focus in finally taking IU off the avoidance list with the fine recruits of a state rich in basketball.
    Allowing MSU, Michigan, OSU, UK, Butler, Xavier, etc…to barely work for Hoosier talent? As Herb Brooks put it in his famous locker room speech before the USA hockey team defeated the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympics…”THIS IS YOUR TIME…THEIR TIME IS DONE. IT’S OVER

  21. All the above being said, all the ‘lost ground’ over the last decade has made Michigan into the premier BigTen destination. They clearly have retained one of the top coaches in college basketball …who truly understands how to make his teams peak as the season progresses into March Madness mornings.
    They are loaded. They are functioning as the delta of the BigTen with an abundance of talent flowing their way. Beilein’s momentum will not be easy to stop. His current team, once again, has Final Four run capabilities. Will Beilein finally claim the ultimate prize? Duke stands in the way….Gonzaga too. But Michigan’s defense may push them to the crown….and Iggy is simply a delight to watch play. I’m a sucker for guys who harness and display the passion. Beilein seems to find them.

    1. H4H,
      I’m only going to take issue with one thing you said here, “all the ‘lost ground’ over the last decade.” It goes back a lot further than 10 years. I would contend the lost ground began being lost nearly 25 years ago and only picked up speed with each succeeding mistake in choices of HC.

  22. It did not take much research to locate (King James Version) 2 Corinthians 11:14, which reads: “For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.”

    H4H’s quasi-religious obsession with TC might have influenced this Biblical allusion.

  23. HC, my guess is that you don’t suffer anyone unless they completely agree with you. And anyone who has a different opinion gets labeled a fool. You’re kind of like those people who think they’re O.K., it’s just everybody else that is messed up. Great defense mechanism!

    I’m optimistic about the future of IU Basketball and understood from the beginning that it was going to take at least three seasons before Archie would begin to meet The Hoosier Nation’s exceedingly high (some might say unrealistic) expectations. Some of you may recall that I’ve questioned whether IU can return to the ranks of the elite basketball programs as long as today’s best coaches continue to coach. There are four or five coaches who sign most of the top 20 players every year. It’s hard to displace the “kings” that have spent decades building recruiting networks and their program’s brand. For example, I don’t see any coach who will, without cheating, be able to out-recruit Coach K year-in and year-out, as long as he continues to coach. If IU can win Big Ten Championships, make it to the Sweet 16 or Elite Eight on a fairly regular basis, that is realistically about as good as we can expect it to get until those kings retire. As long as Archie remains on the path to becoming one of those Kings, I’ll be content.

  24. I wasn’t chuckling, H4H, when I wrote “I trust Archie as well”. I had just read Hoosier Clarion’s post and felt like stating my agreement.

    I am all in with Archie Miller!! I like how he explains what happened and I really like how he’s coaching our team. It’s fun.

    I’m pumped to watch us play Louisville tomorrow!!!

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