Archie Miller Team Camp Experience:  Part 1

July 1st, 2018

Last weekend I made the two-hour trek north to Bloomington to take advantage of the opportunity to watch the Archie Miller Team Camp and get a glimpse of some of the players that Indiana is already recruiting, are building relationships with, or at least have on their radar.  I wish there had been three of me, so I could have been in all three places, Assembly Hall, Cook Hall, and Bloomington South High School, at once, because there were games involving players I wanted to see taking place at the same time in all three places sometimes.  But I still managed to see enough of the players I wanted to see to satisfy my mid-summer need for some basketball.

On top of my list was Trayce Jackson-Davis, as I had yet to see him in person.  He did not disappoint.  State of Indiana wise, he is in a class by himself in my opinion.  Build wise, he's bigger than I previously thought he was.  I was also pleasantly surprised with his ability away from the basket.  He's an above average passer with a willingness to involve his teammates but showed that he can take over and dominate when it's called for.  It's scary to think about how good he will be when he's surrounded by other great players and won't be the sole focus of defenses.  By all accounts Indiana is in as good a shape as they can be in this recruitment, but until he announces, I won't be comfortable.

Anthony Leal, from Bloomington South High School, was another young man I wanted the opportunity to see.  Indiana hasn't offered yet, but the consensus is if they do, he may commit on the spot.  He is a little bigger physically than I had seen in videos, and although I wouldn't classify him as athletic, I would say he is close to being athletic enough.  The biggest thing that jumps out about Leal is ability to shoot the ball.  He also showed the ability to drive and find other players, but his niche is shooting.  His form is pure and consistent.  When watching him shoot, he is one of those players that you're almost surprised when it doesn't go in.  In other words, the type of player that we used to be accustomed to having on the floor for the Hoosiers.  Obviously, Coach Miller and the staff know more than I do and may or may not offer.  I for one won't be disappointed if they do.

Curt Hopf, a 6'7" forward from Ferdinand, Indiana is a young man I've had the chance to watch a few times already due to my proximity to his hometown, but I took the opportunity to watch him once again.  For a sophomore to be he shows a good understanding of the game, an ability to handle the ball for someone his size, and he shows glimpses of being athletic.  Due to his size he is forced to play in the paint quite a bit for his high school team and it may take away a little from what I feel is his best ability, and that's facing the basket.  But he more than holds in own in the paint also.  Indiana is, and has been keeping an eye on him, and it's easy to see why.  If he continues to develop on what is already a pretty solid game, he could be the type of four-year player it takes to mix in with the one or two and done(s) players it takes to win banners.

Kristian Lander, a point guard from Evansville, was another player I wanted to make sure I saw play at least one game, and I was once again pleasantly surprised.  The first thing that jumps out about Lander is that he is quick with the ball.  Like ultra-quick.  At the high school level, or at least in the game I saw, he could get in the paint at will.  Being a little slight physically he didn't finish through contact like is needed at the next level, but he just finished his freshman year of high school, so that will undoubtedly will come as he matures.  His length and his anticipation on defense was impressive for someone his age also.  He stole, or at least got a hand on several passes in the passing lanes in this game.  He didn't shoot from outside much, mainly due to being able to go around his defender.  But when he did shoot he showed good form, but it's more of a set shot than a jump shot right now.  He has excellent vision on the floor and is an above average passer with the willingness to pass.  Continued development on an already strong game could bring the "big boys" calling, so it's good Coach Miller and staff are already in contact and keeping a very close eye on him and his development.

Part 2 will follow with my thoughts on a few other players I saw, but until then I will leave you with this:  It's obvious to see that not only does the state of Indiana still "grow" basketball players, Indiana University has a coach and a staff that not only recognizes it, but is also trying to capitalize on it.