BLOOMINGTON – Even as Archie Miller continues to build his Indiana basketball staff (Clif Marshall is officially the team's new director of athletic performance), somehow, some way, he will get past this too-many-players, too-few-scholarships Indiana basketball dilemma.
It's a lingering legacy from the Tom Crean era and, for now, it shows potentially 15 players and 13 scholarships.
Two players have to leave, and the problem is solved if James Blackmon, Robert Johnson and Thomas Bryant stay in the NBA Draft. They haven't signed with an agent, so they have until May 24 to decide.
Another Hoosier, OG Anunoby, also has entered the draft, but he has said he is staying and won't return to IU.
Bryant projects as a second-round pick and could leave. Blackmon and Johnson don't project as getting drafted, although they could stay and hope to sign as free agents (ex-Hoosiers Yogi Ferrell and Troy Williams did that last summer, and both wound up on NBA teams). Or, they could make good money playing overseas.
However, if at least two of them return, then somebody else will have to leave.
And if nobody wants to transfer or stop playing basketball, well, that's when things get complicated.
The player least likely to play next season is forward Tim Priller, who is apparently fine with barely seeing any action given that's been his basketball life for the last three seasons. And other than the lack of minutes, which would be a problem for most players, he has a great deal.
Priller, who is at best a low-major player, is on a full ride at a tradition-rich Big Ten program. He has one Big Ten title ring and a Sweet 16 berth on his resume. He just might be the Hoosiers' most popular player. The crowd treats him with rock-star acclaim whenever he gets in the game. He has no pressure. If he does well, and he had a few solid moments last season while averaging 2.1 points and 1.2 rebounds (he wsa 7-for-9 from the field and 5-for-6 from the line), he's a hero. If he doesn't do well, no big deal.
Priller has all the social benefits of an IU basketball player, as well as all the university's academic, strength training and performance training resources to utilize.
Really, why not stay for his final year?
In the end, it will work out. It always does.
Meanwhile, Miller will have plenty of available scholarships for the future. He's different than Crean in that he said he won't use all of them, so over-signing won't be a problem.
For now, Miller has three main priorities — work and develop his current players, finalize his staff and recruit.
Miller is implementing a system that emphasizes strong defense, efficient offense and limited turnovers. It generated four straight NCAA tourney appearances at Dayton, including an Elite Eight run.
As far as his staff, Miller has hired Marshall to run the strength and conditioning program.
Marshall, 36, was the performance director at Cincinnati's Ignition APG for the last 10 years. Before that he was an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals. He's worked with NFL standouts as Luke Kuechly, AJ Green and Geno Atkins, and was a fitness ambassador for the NFL in the 2015 and '16 seasons. He also was a consultant for the Dayton and Xavier basketball teams.
Kuechly is a four-time Pro Bowl linebacker with the Carolina Panthers. Green is a Pro Bowl receiver with Cincinnati.
The hiring was announced on Thursday.
“I think Clif is a difference maker,” Miller said in a university release. “He brings a wealth of experience and has worked with some of the top athletes in their respective professions. His ability to motivate and get the best out of those he trains will be a great asset. This position is as critical as any you have on our staff."
As far as recruiting, in the Class of 2018 Miller is targeting New Albany superstar Romeo Langford, who is ranked No. 3 nationally, which usually means he's a one-and-done guy, which is the way of the 21st Century college basketball world.
Miller has major competition with the likes of North Carolina's Roy Williams, Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, Kansas's Bill Self and Kentucky's John Calipari.
Duke and Kentucky are the favorites.
Bloomington North forward Musa Jallow, rated No. 85 nationally in the Class of 2018 by Rivals.com, a national Internet recruiting service, reportedly visited IU on Thursday. The Hoosiers also are targeting McCutcheon guard Robert Phinisee, rated No. 122.
In the Class of 2019, IU is in the hunt for North Side's Keion Brooks.
The standout forward received an IU scholarship offer on Wednesday.
The Hoosiers will have a lot of catch-up work to do given the long-standing relationship Brooks has with Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo and assistant coach Dane Fife.
Still, IU might have an edge with new assistant coach Ed Schilling, the former assistant at UCLA and, more importantly, the former head coach at Wright State.
Why is Wright State significant?
Brooks' father played there under Schilling for his final two seasons, so there is a connection.
Is it enough to win the recruiting battle?
Izzo and Fife were at North Side on Wednesday to watch Brooks work out. So were Miller and Schilling.
Brooks is a 6-8 high school superstar. He's rated No. 17 nationally in the Class of 2019 by Rivals.com, and No. 1 in the state of Indiana. Scout.com has him at No. 14 nationally.
Brooks averaged 20.5 points and 7.4 rebounds this past season to help North Side reach the Class 4A title game.
Purdue, Xavier and Kansas State also have offered Brooks. Butler is also very much in the mix.
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