Archie Miller clearly understands the expectations at Indiana. Winning the Big Ten is good, but as Tom Crean recently found out, just not good enough. The Hoosiers fans expect Final Fours and National Championships.
In his first two weeks on the job, Archie Miller has embraced those expectations.
During his welcoming press conference, Miller stated that he and his family “are honored and excited to represent Indiana University in what we consider now one of the finest basketball traditions in all of college basketball.”
The most important part of Miller’s speech was the reference to the great high school programs in the state of Indiana. His “inside-out approach” championed the importance of focusing on the high school players and coaches in the state.
Miller said, “I think that's the greatest thing about the state of Indiana is the high school approach, tremendous high school programs, starts all over the state, not just in Indianapolis, and you have tremendous talent all over the state. It starts with the state of Indiana, it's going to go from the high school coaching, the high school talent, the grass-roots talent, and we have to invest a lot more of ourselves to get in return. We don't expect anything. We're going to have to earn a lot of respect in the state.”
Miller stated he wanted to “build the best staff in college basketball.” To that end, he recently revealed his team of coaches:
Archie Miller's staff at Indiana will be Bruiser Flint, Tom Ostrom (Dayton) and Ed Schilling (UCLA), source told ESPN. Bill Comar as DOBO.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) April 9, 2017
Ed Schilling is well-known among Indiana basketball fans and was former Hoosier standout Yogi Ferrell’s high school coach at Park Tudor High School. Schilling leaves Steve Alford’s staff at UCLA and returns back to his home state. Miller mentioned the importance of having an Indiana connection on his staff to help encourage the top high school players to stay in the state.
James “Bruiser” Flint brings extensive experience as a head coach at both the University of Massachusetts and Drexel University. Flint will provide connections to the East Coast recruiting trail.
The third addition is Tom Ostron who comes from Dayton with six years of coaching experience with Miller, and prior stops as an assistant coach at Arkansas and Florida.
Miller has already received some positive player news. Veteran Collin Hartman has decided to return as a fifth-year senior following knee surgery. Hartman averaged 5.0 points and 3.1 rebounds during the 2015-2016 season, and shot 47.5 percent from long distance during his sophomore season.
Leading scorer James Blackmon Jr. has declared for the NBA draft but will not hire an agent, leaving the door open for a Bloomington return. Blackmon missed most of his sophomore year with a knee injury, yet had a solid junior year averaging 17.0 points per game.
That leaves sophomore Thomas Bryant as the remaining question mark for Indiana’s 2017-2018 team. Bryant had a disappointing season that saw his field goal percentage drop from 68.3 percent to 51.9 percent last season. The 6’10” center was still a force inside however, averaging 12 points and six rebounds per game.
Unfortunately, Miller will lose out on OG Anunoby, who declared for the draft this week (hiring an agent, eliminating the possibility of his return to Bloomington).
Expectations are always high in Indiana, and if everything breaks right the Hoosiers will be a Top Ten program in 2017-2018. Archie Miller has embraced the challenge and praised the “Indiana way.” He has hired an experienced and hard working staff which should support that goal.
It appears Coach Miller’s vision is perfectly aligned with that of the Hoosiers faithful, which means the optimism is growing quickly in Bloomington.