Indiana Basketball – Media Day questions will be answered in December

Indiana’s basketball team saved its energy at media day for on court work.

Jerome Hunter’s leg is getting healthier every day.

That is the only useful piece of insight shared by the 11 players who appeared in three groups or three and one group of two during yesterday’s IU basketball media availability.

Other than that, media was delivered an endless torrent of cliches and pablum before being served a nice dinner of steak and shrimp.  The dinner filled our stomachs even if our hunger for unique perspective was left wanting.

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We heard, “the Hoosiers are committed to each other,” “the chemistry is good – but not necessarily better than last year,” and “getting better is a day-to-day process.”  Those phrases were repeated countless times by players who appeared to be engaged in a private contest to see who could communicate the least.

The questions about chemistry were especially awkward.  What the media wants to know is whether Devonte Green punched Romeo Langford last season, or if any of the other rumors of in-fighting are true.  When junior Justin Smith was asked about chemistry, he glanced at sports information director J.D. Campbell, and then gave a vague response with a smile he shared with Al Durham.  What did the glance and smile mean?  Who the hell knows?

None of this chemistry talk or how the players appeared to dread interacting with the media has anything to do with how good IU will be as the Hoosiers begin play in just over a month.  Indiana fans want accurate shooting, not pithy quotes.  If this team wins 25 games, fans would be thrilled with players whispering to the media in pig latin.

This is a crucial year for Archie Miller as he tries to rebuild Indiana Basketball into a tough-minded and competitive program.  His first two seasons ended without an NCAA Tournament berth.  At some point the Hoosiers need to get back to the NCAAs and then make a deep run, or IU will go back to the drawing board as it seeks a worthy successor to Bob Knight.

Experts predict Indiana will miss the tournament for the fourth straight season, stretching back to Tom Crean’s final year.

I’m more optimistic.

Despite losing Juwan Morgan, Romeo Langford, Zach McRoberts and Evan Fitzner, Indiana should be deeper and better because of the improved health of Hunter, Rob Phinisee, De’Ron Davis and Race Thompson, and the addition of Trayce Jackson-Davis, Armaan Franklin, and grad-transfer Joey Brunk.

Miller will speak today, and media will quiz him about who improved the most during the offseason, how the chemistry has developed, and whether he feels this group is good enough to get back the the NCAAs.

The answers will reveal very little compared to what fans will see once the Hoosiers finally take the floor in Big 10 play.

September questions will not be answered in a meaningful way until December.


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