In the months leading up to the 2021-’22 college basketball season, BTPowerhouse will be releasing a series called the ‘BTPowerhouse 25,’ which features the Top 25 players in the Big Ten as voted by members of the staff. All players set to be on Big Ten rosters for next season were eligible during the staff vote with their top selection receiving 25 points and their 25th and final selection receiving 1 point.
Today’s edition will take a brief look at Miller Kopp of the Indiana Hoosiers. Kopp spent the past three seasons with Northwestern, averaging 11.3 points and 3.0 rebounds per game as a junior last year. He transferred in the offseason to Indiana, a program that once again missed the NCAA Tournament and finished towards the bottom of the Big Ten. Another dismal season led to firing of Archie Miller and eventual hiring of Mike Woodson, who managed to mitigate a lot of the potential damage by managing to sway several key players out of the transfer portal this spring. Now the question is can he get the Hoosiers back to the NCAA Tournament?
‘BTPowerhouse 25’ - Tied-No. 20 Miller Kopp:
- Eligibility: Senior
- Career Totals: 87 games, 2301 minutes, 832 points, 249 rebounds, 101 assists
- 2020-’21 Averages: 31.5 MPG, 11.3 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.1 APG, 1.0 SPG
- Positional Role: Forward
Last season the Hoosiers went 7-12 in the Big Ten, good for a tenth place finish. They finished three games under .500, failed to beat Purdue (again) and missed the NCAA Tournament for the fifth straight year. Things could have gotten considerably worse as well, as the firing of Miller led to a mass exodus of players entering the transfer portal. The hiring of Woodson helped smooth things over for some players, including star Trayce Jackson-Davis, who exited the portal and returned to the school.
Woodson couldn’t keep everyone in place, though, with the Hoosiers losing Jerome Hunter (Xavier), Al Durham (Providence) and Armaan Franklin (Virginia) to the transfer portal. Indiana quickly shored up the roster with a slew of transfers, including bringing in forward Miller Kopp from Northwestern.
One of the key weaknesses year in and year out at Indiana under Archie Miller was their inability to shoot the ball. This offseason two of the teams best shooters from beyond the arc (Franklin and Durham) both transferred out of the program. Kopp, the 6’7” forward, struggled a bit from outside as a junior, hitting only 33% of his threes. As a sophomore, though, he shot just under 40% from three and the Hoosiers will look for Kopp to shore up their perimeter shooting this season. While the frontcourt is solidified by Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson, Kopp’s ability to spread the floor and shoot from three should help him be a key player for Indiana this year.
“We recruited him to come here to make shots,” Woodson said at Indiana’s Media Day.
Kopp’s ability to spread the floor and shoot, as well as being an excellent free throw shooter, should get him playing time.
Areas for Improvement
While Kopp can shoot the rock, he’ll need to work on improving his defensive game and ability to clean up on the glass.
“He’s got to defend some. He’s going to be held accountable because I’ve always told players throughout the course of a ballgame, you’re going to guard someone differently than the guy you started with,” Woodson added.
If Kopp can’t improve defensively it’ll likely limit his playing time this season. He’ll also need to return to form, after a disappointing junior season at Northwestern. Kopp has showcased the ability to shoot the ball, but if he comes out shooting 33% from beyond the arc again this winter he very well could fall out of the rotation.
Miller Kopp had a rough junior season and it hurt his stock a bit heading into the transfer portal. If the senior can’t bounce back to how he played earlier in his career, it’s likely he could only be a rotational player this season for the Hoosiers. Kopp can be a spot up shooter, but he failed to live up to that reputation as a junior. He’ll need to get better if he wants consistent playing time.
Woodson is a solid coach and working with Kopp throughout the offseason he has tried to work on rounding out the forwards game, as well as improving his defensive skill set. With Indiana losing a trio of key players to the transfer portal and the team also bringing in a laundry list of fresh faces, there will be a bit of a scrum for minutes.
If Kopp returns to a form in a fresh environment with more overall talent around him he could be set for his best season yet. If the threes won’t fall, he could be relegated to the back end of the rotation. Kopp is definitely a boom or bust player, but Indiana needs his shooting if they want to improve this season.