Miller's Prior Point Guard Experience Benefitting Ones On IU's Roster

Stu Jackson, Staff Writer
The Hoosier
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Jordan Wells / TheHoosier.com

For IU redshirt senior guard Josh Newkirk, head coach Archie Miller's experience as a college point guard is invaluable.

"It relates a lot because he can actually get out there and show us different things, how he wants it done," Newkirk said. "He's real interactive with us on the court, so that means a lot. He played at the college level, so he can teach us a lot."

Indeed, there's plenty Newkirk and IU's other primary ball handlers can learn from him.

Miller was a four-year letterwinner at North Carolina State from 1998-2002. He currently ranks third at NC State in career free throw percentage (.846, 165-195), sixth in career 3-point field goal percentage (.429, 218-509) and fourth in career threes (218). During his senior season, he helped lead the Wolfpack to the finals of the ACC championship game and was named to the all-tournament team.

Being a former college player, Miller also has a different basketball IQ, according to sophomore guard Devonte Green.

"He understands what works and what doesn't in certain situations," Green said.

Having that insight will be helpful for an IU team that, as of right now, only has one true point guard on the roster in Newkirk.

Newkirk, along with senior guard Robert Johnson, served as the Hoosiers' primary ball handlers last year with Green and sophomore guard Curtis Jones occasionally in the mix within that committee. This year, all four are back, and freshman guard Al Durham Jr. is expected to be used at that position as well.

Miller views Newkirk as a "clear-cut point guard," while the others have skillsets aligning with a combo guard.

Regardless of who Miller uses, whoever directs IU's offense on the floor will be critical to IU executing his system.

"That position for us is essential in running the show," Miller said. "You've got to be able to push the ball, and you've got to have great tempo, but you also have to be able to play smart when you're playing fast, and be able to control it and play with low turnovers."

Learning a new system will take time as preseason practices continue.

For IU's point guards, learning from one of their own will help with that process.

"I think the energy he has when he comes around us," IU senior guard Robert Johnson said. "The fact that he played the game makes it easier, a little bit easier to relate to him."

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