Build It and They Will Come
Building a program back to prominence takes everyone involved believing in your vision. From the administration, your coaching staff, fans, and of course players & recruits, everyone needs to buy in. It doesn't happen overnight so you need to have a plan, and also the patience to see that plan through until you start reaping the rewards of your efforts.
When you are taking over a program, instilling a culture from day one is paramount. Getting the current players who came to a school to play for another coach is not always an easy task, but when they start seeing results from their hard work it makes all of that hard work worth it. I think that was very evident in Coach Archie Miller's first year at Indiana University. From day one to the end of the season we obviously saw significant improvement on the court, especially on the defensive end of the floor. Offensively the Hoosiers were somewhat undermanned but their belief in the system and their taking on the competitive demeanor of their coach was evident as the season progressed. They got tougher and fought from tip-off to the final buzzer despite any deficiencies that roster may have had. From a fans perspective it was frustrating to see them miss shot after shot sometimes, but the promising thing as far as the future was concerned was the fact the offense was generating those open shots and eventually there would be players on the roster that were capable of knocking them down.
Recruiting is a 365 day a year job. Building relationships early on and having a plan A, B, and C are there keys. Roster building is a science. You can't just throw scholarship offers around like you are dealing cards, there has to be a purpose. If not, the roster becomes imbalanced and you pay for it for years to come. Coach Miller started recruiting from day one. He was able to recruit the current players and convince them to stay and be a part of his vision for the program. His second round of recruiting meant trying to convince the committed players to stick with those commitments and join in helping to build the program back to where it once was, and where it belongs.
Then, the continued effort and the results on the floor helped him recruit a very solid class that addressed not only the needs of the roster, but proved that he could also recruit with the "big boys" of college basketball. Jerome Hunter, Jake Forrester, Evan Fitzner, Race Thompson (RS), Robert Phinisee, Damezi Anderson and Romeo Langford are the new additions to the team for year two in the Archie Miller era, and while some of these guys will be asked to play some meaningful minutes as youngsters, they are very talented. Coach Miller stuck true to his words about recruiting from inside out of the state also, with three of the newcomers being from Indiana.
With the recent commitment of Armaan Franklin to the Hoosiers, he has continued that trend. With the decisions of Trayce Jackson-Davis, Keion Brooks Jr. and Isaiah Stewart still to come and the Hoosiers being in the mix, it's possible that three or four more in-state kids could be donning the Candy-Stripes next year. Jackson-Davis, Brooks and Stewart are all elite level players and would instantly make any program better, but players like Franklin can be just as important also. His progression over the course of his high school career thus far has been well documented and if that progression continues for the known "gym-rat" then he will be the type of player this old timer grew up watching play for the Hoosiers. The four year player that continues his development each year and is a very vital part of championship caliber teams. While Franklin may or may not ever be a stat sheet stuffer, I think he will leave Indiana University having won whole lot of games. In other words, I love the pick-up of Armaan Franklin. You have to have solid, hard nosed kids to go with your 5-Star talent. Not only twin, but to also be the foundation for which the program grows...and that's what Armaan Franklin is.
We are 20 days from Hoosier Hysteria (HH). We have one recruit on board for next years class and we have three 2019 5-Star rated kids set to be on campus on official visits that weekend, along with a list of younger players visiting as well. We have an exciting class added to the roster this year, highlighted by homegrown 5-Star ranked Romeo Langford. We have a coach that not only knows what it takes to build a program, but one that is doing it. I've been to every HH there has been and I can tell you, the atmosphere will be crazy. Quite possibly the craziest yet. It's a huge part of recruiting and a celebration of the beginning of another exciting season of Indiana University Basketball. Coach Miller and his staff are 'building it" and the recruits are starting to come. You should too!