Archie Miller Plans To Recruit 'Inside-Out' At Indiana

Jordan Wells, Staff Writer
The Hoosier

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New Indiana head coach Archie Miller has already planned out his policy to recruiting top high school prospects at his new job.

He calls it the "inside-out" approach.

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Jordan Wells/TheHoosier.com

The focus of the recruiting strategy is as simple as it sounds - begin with the plethora of talent that's groomed in the home state, and then his staff will work its way out.

According to a study conducted in 2013, the state of Indiana had produced 41 McDonalds All-Americans over 36 years - and the per capita numbers were seven All-Americans for every million residents, by far the most in the country.

Four Hoosier natives - Jaren Jackson, Kris Wilkes, Malik Williams and Paul Scruggs - were ranked among the top 50 recruits nationally in the 2017 cycle alone.

Indiana didn't sign a single one of those prospects, a final tally that might have been one of the last nails in the coffin for former head coach Tom Crean's tenure.

"We're going to have a great way about us, and the term that we'll use is called inside-out," Miller said on Monday. "We have to start inside this state of Indiana, and we have to start moving outside very slowly, because the footprint is there.

"The inside-out approach means that we have to dedicate ourselves to the high school coaches in this state, the high school talent in this state, the grass-roots programs in this state, and they must feel like they're being dominated by Indiana University.

"You're not going to get every player; you understand that. But if we want them, we should have a great chance of getting them because of the commitment level that we're putting forth 24 hours a day at home."

IU's new head coach also knows the importance, though, of recruiting nationally at a school with elite expectations like the job he just inherited.

Some of the Hoosiers' best players aren't necessarily from the state. Sophomore forward OG Anunoby is from Jefferson City, Missouri, sophomore forward Thomas Bryant found IU by way of Huntington Prep in West Virginia, and junior guard Robert Johnson is originally from Richmond, Virginia.

Of course recruiting the state should be a priority, with the amount of talent that grows nearby Bloomington. But it can't stop there.

"As you move further out, you have our great footprint of the Big Ten," Miller said. "Some of our best players that have ever played here aren't from Indiana, and we have to be able to capitalize on that, as well.

"And then the third thing as you go outside even a little further is how can you find those difference makers that come from all over the place - New York, overseas, I don't know - but if they fit the profile and we have an opportunity to bring a difference maker here, then that will always trump us to try and bring a championship player."

The talent that is developed in the state isn't limited to McDonald's All-Americans. Prospects like Northwestern star guard Bryant McIntosh weren't even ranked in the top 150 nationally, and yet have gone on to have successful collegiate careers.

Miller attributes that success to the quality of coaching in the state.

"First of all, top-notch coaching [in Indiana]," He said. "I think that's the greatest thing about the state of Indiana is the high school approach, tremendous high school programs, starts all over the state, not just in Indianapolis, and you have tremendous talent all over the state.

"We all know that. I think it's a state that is renowned for putting out players that do well in college because they're prepared, and I've had a couple instances to recruit the state in my time, all over the different parts of my journey, but every time I've ever went in and come out, you always get the same feeling of that is a high-level operation going on right there.

"It starts with the state of Indiana; it's going to go from the high school coaching, the high school talent, the grass-roots talent, and we have to invest a lot more of ourselves to get in return. We don't expect anything. We're going to have to earn a lot of respect in the state."

Miller's hire has received rave reviews from those inside the basketball world, including media and coaches.

Still, he comes to Indiana from a school at Dayton that wasn't televised much for in-state prospects to watch. The Atlantic 10 program naturally maintains a lower profile than some.

In-state prospects are certainly open to being recruited by IU, but it will be a work-in-progress for Miller to start building relationships with 2018 kids and beyond - prospects that to this stage don't have as much familiarity with all his success with the Flyers.

The new IU head man has already started developing his sales pitch for the coaches of those recruits.

"Well, I think the way that their kids would be treated would be something that I would put down right away," he said. "I think that we spend an abnormal amount of time with our guys, and not just on the floor but off, and care about their total development as a person.

"I think if you look at our time at Dayton, I think most of our guys would leave and say, I got the most out of that experience because they spend so much time, they work so hard for me on and off the floor and helping you in all your areas, and I think that's number one.

"They have to feel -- the state of Indiana has to feel when they give one of their sons to IU, they're going to get treated with the utmost respect and class, and they're going to deliver the very, very best they can for them. When it comes to the basketball, we're not going to have a hard time selling our style. We're not. What we have to sell is the way that we can deliver 365 days a year in terms of making them better and helping them achieve what they want to achieve, and we've seen a lot of guys come in one way, leave another, and I think that would be our goal here."

It's a good thing Miller already has his strategy planned out - the critical April evaluation period awaits less than a month away.

The plan is ready to roll. In less than 30 days, the time will already (quickly) come to begin execution.

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