Mike Woodson’s first three months – so far, so great!

IU Basketball coach Mike Woodson is still undefeated, and so all fans see right now are reasons for hope and glory!

Woodson has been on the job for almost three months, and we keep learning things about his style of leadership and ability to recruit.

With seven weeks left before the team plays a pair of exhibitions in the Bahamas, the roster has come together through a variety of moves:

  • Three former starters opted to leave Indiana to transfer elsewhere (Armaan Franklin, Joey Brunk, and Al Durham),
  • Seven scholarship players liked what they heard and saw from Woodson and decided to stay (Khristian Lander, Parker Stewart, Jordan Geronimo, Anthony Leal, Trey Galloway, Rob Phinisee, and Race Thompson),
  • Three transfer decided to use the portal to invest in whatever Woodson is building (Michael Durr, Xavier Johnson, and Miller Kopp).
  • Jerome Hunter was asked to leave the program due to a fit issue.
  • Top 30 recruit Tamar Bates decommitted from Texas, and pledged IU – joining Logan Duncomb as a two man freshman class.
  • Most impactful was the decision by Trayce Jackson-Davis, a potential conference player of the year, to forego early entry into the NBA Draft to allow Woodson to help build his readiness and resume.

But what do we know about Woodson as a coach?  Based upon interviews and insight from athletic/basketball staff, here are some assumptions that appear safe:

  • The days of Indiana employing sweaty clappers who choreograph movement rather than coach the game are over.
  • Woodson will teach basketball, allow players to execute, and hold accountable those who don’t measure up.
  • The new transfer rules might just make Woodson the perfect alternative to the typical college basketball coach who drives players crazy with endless demands and a lack of personal connection.  Wisconsin’s Greg Gard was outed in a leaked recording of a team meeting as lacking connectivity with his seniors.  Woodson will not have that problem, and transfers may see him as a refreshing change.
  • It seems Woodson is quite confident in who he is and what he can bring to his position.  There has been no hint of pretense in any of his media availabilities.  He swears without concern, and communicates what he is thinking simply and clearly.
  • Woodson came to Indiana to win – not build a career.  That is the bonus of hiring a 63-year-old.  He is a fully developed adult who is done trying to impress players, media, fans, and (most importantly) current and future bosses.  The resume’ is complete.

There is a long way to go before Indiana fans declare athletic director Scott Dolson a genius for digging into the deep past to hire Woodson, a coach without a single day of experience coaching college basketball prior to his arrival at IU.

The proof will be in the pudding soon enough, but so far it appears Woodson’s first three months are a perfect attitudinal antidote for what Hoosiers have endured for the past 15 years.

Whether Woodson’s arrival translates to wins and championships is left to be seen, but so far he is a breath of fresh air.  That gives fans a reason for hope, and that’s all that can be asked in the middle of June.

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