IU’s Armaan Franklin wasn’t the star against Stanford, but he made the game plan work

Report from Indy Star’s Zach Osterman:

By his own estimation, Archie Miller went to Armaan Franklin at least three or four times Wednesday, asking if he needed a rest.

Franklin was in the midst of a do-everything performance, a game he’d finish with 13 points, eight rebounds, five assists and some important defense on Stanford freshman Ziaire Williams. This was the potential Miller saw when the Cathedral alum was one of Indiana’s standout performers in his first summer on campus, when he handed Franklin responsibility as a freshman, when he implored that freshman to get his hands dirty on the glass, knowing the difference it would make.

A year later, Miller was watching that difference turn into physical production on the floor in the Maui Invitational, and worrying only that Franklin might be getting too tired.

“Nope,” Franklin told him. “I’m good.”

Trayce Jackson-Davis’ career-high 31 points made him the uncontested MVP of Wednesday’s 79-63 win against Stanford. Jackson-Davis set the tone early with his aggressiveness around the rim and never let up, and neither did the Hoosiers (3-1).

But Franklin was its skeleton key, doing a little bit of a lot of different things that made the entire game plan work and helping Indiana respond to Tuesday’s ugly loss with an emphatic finish in Asheville.

“He’s the guy, every day, that I don’t worry about,” Miller said.

Franklin finished Wednesday’s game with 13 points, eight rebounds and five assists. He locked up the talented Williams. He played all 40 minutes, a testament to the conditioning level Miller knows he can count on night after night.

Perhaps most importantly, with senior guard Al Durham sidelined after rolling his ankle in the Texas loss, Franklin stepped into the void in the backcourt and gave the Hoosiers impact minutes at both ends of the floor without a break.

“He can run all day,” Miller said. “He was our preseason strength-and-conditioning award winner as a true freshman. He’s in incredible shape and now, he’s 12, 13 pounds heavier, and he’s a year older.”

If Jackson-Davis embodied IU’s response to the pounding the Hoosiers took Tuesday against Texas, Franklin epitomized the Hoosiers’ rediscovered doggedness. He finished the first half against Stanford (1-2) with just six points, but also six rebounds and four assists.

Miller asked him to pick up Williams, a one-time five-star recruit who had 29 points and 12 rebounds across Stanford’s first two games in the Maui Invitational.

“They just gave me the assignment,” Franklin said. “I just locked in on him, didn’t give him easy looks.” 

That’s probably not quite doing it justice. Giving up four inches to Williams, Franklin nevertheless did some of Indiana’s best work against the talented Cardinal freshman. Williams finished the game just 1-of-10 from the floor with four points, before fouling out.

“Get physical. Don’t get blown by,” Franklin said, talking about his defensive approach. “He did have a pretty sizeable size advantage. At the end of the day, it’s just all heart.”

Franklin’s defense Wednesday will have pleased his coach, but perhaps not so much as that crooked number he put up in the rebounding column.

Miller’s satisfaction at Franklin’s rebounding performance against Stanford — and, really, throughout the Invitational — is twofold.

First, IU needs guards to rebound this year. It’s crucial to the way the Hoosiers defend, they will by preference and personnel be playing more three-guard lineups this winter, and guard rebounds start fast breaks more quickly. Indiana is very good in the open floor.

Second, this is what Miller has thought Franklin capable of for a while. Long-armed at 6-4 with athleticism and toughness, Franklin can be an impactful guard rebounder. Miller spent Franklin’s freshman season trying to pull that out of him, and he spent this week watching Franklin haul in 20 boards across three games.

“One of the things I love about Armaan right now is a year ago at this time, I was begging him to rebound. I was begging him to mix it up and get dirty,” Miller said. “And my man has, I think, eight rebounds today, and in this tournament I’m almost positive he’s come up with 18 defensive rebounds at the guard spot for us. He’s averaging six defensive rebounds. That’s just a complete change in his makeup.”

Miller got that defensive-rebounding number spot on, which spoke to just how keenly aware he was of Franklin’s work this week.

The sophomore has been a fixture in his starting lineup through the first four games of Indiana’s season, a testament to Miller’s trust in Franklin. And this week’s performances, headlined by Wednesday’s work, will have done little to disabuse Miller of that trust.

After the ugliness against Texas, Indiana’s response was emphatic and convincing. The Hoosiers won’t have gotten all they wanted out of Maui but they walked away with what are likely two Quad 1 wins on Selection Sunday and a whole bunch of tape to analyze, something a lot of teams unfortunately aren’t getting right now.

IU has the next week off, before traveling to Tallahassee to face Florida State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Expect to see just as much of Armaan Franklin in that game. On current evidence, expect to see this much of him all season long.

(above photo courtesy of IU Athletics)

24 comments

  1. Check the box score not a two man effort only, Race and the three freshman guards helped support the effort in the win. Archie has to get busy recruiting, to find a scorer to replace Jackson-Davis. Reviewing the box score looks to me that Franklin and the 3 freshmen did quite well filling in the injured senior guard today. Also some of post on the Texas loss about AM getting replaced if this season doesn’t go well, I don’t think so, with the revenue short fall from the virus related fan attendance, donations, and TV money cut backs the I U Athletic Department deficit won’t cover the out of pocket expenses, much less a coach buy out. I have personally talked with Scott Dolson over past years as a Varsity Club donor and Scott was involved with Fred Glass on the various hiring decisions, also Scott’s plate is already full with trying to get the I U Athletic Department back into the area where, revenue and donations exceed the expenditures.

    1. A lot of times buyouts aren’t paid by the school but by generous contributions from disgruntled rich alumni.

  2. Whew, what a difference a day makes. The Hoosiers looked really good against a very solid team. In fact, I thought Stanford got screwed out of a W vs UNC by none other than Ted Valentine (how the NCAA still allows that clown to be employed is beyond me).

    They played tough, ran their offense and TJD seemed to have taken the criticism personally. He was a beast today.

    It’ll take a little while for Lander to adjust to the speed of the college game, but there were a few flashes where you could see why he’s a 5-star. Hoping he is ready to make an impact by B1G season. I’d love it if Phinisee was playing more off the ball. He had a couple of really nice threes today.

    Well, a very interesting tourney. 2-1 vs some solid competition. Two dominant wins and got our butts handed to us once. We need the work, as the B1G is monster this year. Onwards.

  3. Better game played by Hoosiers. Davis, Race and for the most part Franklin made positive things happen. Landers is eager but he better develop discipline with shot selection. Not knowing for sure I’d not bet a $1000 but would bet a Mrs. Franklin’s son he has the 2nd most 3 point attempts in this young season. I don’t care if he’s a 7* you can’t play that cavalier. No doubt he’ll learn quickly. Really like Galloway. His well rounded skills really fit what the team’s needs. Hunter played better but still a little disappointed he isn’t a little more productive. I think this game gets them over a small hump. Texas appears to be the class of this very early tournament.

  4. Galloway is very old school….Great motor and at home in a team game. Hit a nice confident 3-pointer late in the game. He’s going to be fun to watch get better…and better.

    Franklin has improved immensely.

  5. Race Thompson also looks much improved. I’m now thinking the transferring of Justin Smith is probably not such a bad thing. I want to see the freshmen out there as much as possible.

  6. This team could produce a roller coaster ride of season, with high ups like today’s win and low downs like yesterday’s debacle. My guess (and hope) is that every player on the team was embarrassed after leaving the floor yesterday. Good for them that they decided to respond.

  7. DD, I think we should all consider this season a year of prep school for Lander. Yes, he’ll learn fast and give us glimpses of his incredible talent and potential, but his body is not ready for the rigors of Big Ten Basketball. He needs to put on some muscle and get a lot stronger.

  8. IU men’s basketball continues down the same road. They will win teaser games and play well at times. It will be a little better than 500 ball season and a middle of the pack big ten season. Lander will play like a freshman and not sure how he will develop during his college career. The question is there an understanding of focus and enthusiasm for a big tone mens basketball team. No evidence.

  9. Congrats to the team They looked and played mad. Next up Florida State (#18). IU sitting at #17 after todays game. Texas has jumped up to #4. so yeah, they are real. ****numbers are KenPom. Actually IU Women next up Thursday..

  10. I swallowed my whistle yesterday after TX completely outplayed us. Today I was happy to see they took the loss personally. That alone is an improvement vs. prior years.

    This is Archie’s best team yet. There is a nice mix of experience, skill & promise. We played no seniors today & controlled this game from start to finish. We have a nice base of 3-4 yr. players: Franklin, Thompson, Phinisee, Galloway, Hunter & Leal (will develop).

    TJD played soft & privileged in his first 2 games of this tournament. Today he was notably different from the tip. My guess is his dad called him last night & read him the business. Whoever did deserves accolades.

    1. The Frosh along with Franklin are fuel Miller can use to ignite any play he isn’t happy with. He’s not had that in the past cause those young guys were more developed than upperclassmen and had to start. Galloway being the exception until Hunter gains more polish and confidence. JH has to improve along the lines Race and Franklin have done for this team to reach its goals. Justin Smith is barely a memory.

      1. Justin Smith was a great student, citizen, and produced 10 ppg and 5 reb pg, but if it was not a transition layup or dunk, he was a poor shooter.

        1. Maybe Arkansas can do something with his balance and poor footwork around the basket.

          But if we’re speaking of bricklayers, I can’t help but wonder if Brunk is still nothing more than a screen and a dunk? Love the kid, but it appears he may get enough time in a chair for his hips to develop mortise and tenon joints.

        2. He also was prone to acting moody and would disappear for long periods. That’s not anything IUBB.

  11. AwinAZ- Nice to see you back. I agree with your assessment. Definitely Archie’s best team yet.

    I also believe Lander will get going faster than many think…I don’t think he’s going to need 20 extra pounds. He looks like a tough kid.

    I anticipate Leal, Galloway and Lander to all be contributors. Fun to watch kids with such high b-ball IQ’s. The difference is obvious…This is Archie’s influence slowly bringing back the kids with a great foundation and team mentality which was lacking for so many years.

  12. A lot of times buyouts aren’t paid by the school but by generous contributions from disgruntled rich alumni.

  13. 1992, “ I. U athletic department doesn’t receive any funds from”the school” , ticket sales, TV money from the Big Ten, booster donations from all boosters and funds received from endowment income. I will repeat no coach buy out in the current economic conditions at IU Athletic Department.

  14. No one, including both you and me knows the future. But, if next year is 20 home games at 10,000 paying fans with Archie vs 18,000 paying fans with a new coach, you can recoup the money quickly. Archie is not finished yet!

  15. What does a guy with a masonry union card and IU basketball have in common?
    They are both experts at ‘bricklaying’. Now I know why they call it the FOUL LINE. It’s not just IU, but seemingly most college teams out there. The athleticism and size has increased while foul shooting has become a lost art. Jimmy Rayl protege’s they aren’t.

  16. It’s a good Friday night. The mighty #4 Wisconsin Badgards just lost to Marquette. Overrated.

    Call me overly optimistic, but I think the absence of fans around the BigTen will help the Hoosiers far more than our opponents/rivals. Even after all of these years, the mystique of banners and the storied candy stripes still fuels teams to play to their fans’ extra level of fervor when the Hoosiers are in town.
    Madison without fans? Mackey without fans? Breslin Center without fans? I think it favors us more. I even think Assembly without fans favors us more because the spoiler role is more present at the ‘Home of Five Banners’ for the visitor.

    1. I agree with that assessment. 1st time in 7-8 years I’ve agreed with a post of yours. Maybe, maybe you’re turning a page. I’ll not holding my breath for very long.

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