IU’s Miller focused on establishing identity, leadership within basketball program

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The mission for Archie Miller's team this summer is clear.

"We're very driven right now to put a stamp on things and get our identity started," Miller said Tuesday before practicing at Assembly Hall.

And the Hoosiers' head coach says establishing that identity is something that starts at the top, tasking upperclassmen Collin Hartman, Robert Johnson and Juwan Morgan to lead, and not just lead by example.

"We need a group that has a loud voice," Miller explained. "Rob's a guy who's going to have to come out of his comfort zone. He's done a better job of that in the summer than he did in the spring. Collin's huge, he and Juwaun have both been fantastic. You've got to have a team that can communicate with one another and there has to be a sounding board and I think the older guys know that."

Having defined and vocal leaders is something the Hoosiers say will differentiate this team from years past.

"There won't be any question of leadership at all," Morgan said. "I just have to take more responsibility and not just help from the side. I have to take initiative and put myself out there more."

This is also the healthiest the Hoosiers have been in months. Hartman was cleared for contact just days ago after recovering from a knee injury. De'Ron Davis comes in 20 pounds leaner after an injury-plagued freshman season.

"It's a big step," Hartman said, as he prepares for his fifth-year, senior season. "We've taken this process somewhat slow. We've been very diligent in rehab and staying safe in taking the time that we have."

"I feel real good on the court," Davis said. "I feel light, I feel explosive and ready for the season to start."

When asked about finalizing a non-conference schedule, Miller said they're looking to secure those games in the coming weeks.

"I think when it's done, it will be a tough non-conference schedule for us. Will it be glamorous? Probably not. I'm not sure we could have pulled glamorous off right now."

"I think we have a group that feels good about themselves right now," Miller added. "I think we have a team that believes there's enough in the room we can do things regardless of what people say."