De'Ron Davis Is Set For A Big Year
De'Ron Davis probably won't get much love in say, preseason magazines, due to people seeing his statline from last year.
Backing up Thomas Bryant, he averaged 13.9 minutes and 5.9 points per game. He also arrived on campus late, which held back some of his conditioning.
Davis, though, was rated a four-star prospect and ranked as the No. 35 player nationally by Rivals.com coming out of high school. That's only a few spots away from sliding up into five-star territory.
He's clearly very talented. And this year, he appears focused and in-shape - and now that he's a starter, ready unleash on the Big Ten.
"From an offensive perspective, he has great feel," head coach Archie Miller said. "We have to be able to get him the ball. I think the more he touches the ball, the better our team will be because he can pass, he's got great feel. I think he can score the ball and get fouled.
"But he also to me has a presence. To me, I'm really hopeful that De'Ron, in talking to him, is ready to try and take this on because it's not going to be as easy as he thinks it is.
"I think his conditioning level is a thousand times better. I think his intelligence on what we're trying to get him to do is really starting to move in the right direction. But it's going to be a lot of pressure applied to him from our staff for being where he's supposed to be, when you're supposed to be there. The laziness and the lack of effort in terms of running the floor back on defense or offense is going to be the difference between you playing 25 minutes and 16 minutes in some games. So that's an understanding of how hard he's going to have to work within our system.
"I think that De'Ron's ready, and I look forward to watching him develop. I think he's got a great feel for how to play the game on offense. We've got to get him to do is be really, really smart defensively."
Clifton Moore Could See Time This Year
The hype about freshman Clifton Moore coming into IU was that he was still a work-in-progress, but that he also had unlimited potential.
Rated a four-star prospect by Rivals in the class of 2017, Moore went through a growth spurt in high school, growing from a guard to now being listed at 6-10.
As that increase in height happened, though, he retained all his guard skills, like handling and shooting. He played wing in high school, but projected as maybe a stretch four at IU.
Now it seems as if he might contend for early minutes.
"Cliff is -- the one thing Clifton has really done is he's put on about 14 pounds since the first day on campus," Miller said. "So he's right around 220 right now.
"And that's helping him, but he's still not strong enough as -- because he's so young. He's such a young kid. But he's got to learn the game as a frontcourt player on both ends of the floor as a freshman. The physicality standpoint is a little different for him right now. And then from an offensive standpoint, put him in situations where he can be successful and where you can use him. I feel as though Cliff, because of the way he works and is gifted athletically and talented, will show glimpses as a freshman of what he can be.
"My hope is that he can help us with multiple positions in the frontcourt with our depth, and I think that, as the season applies into January, February, March, you can see a guy really blossom into what we think is going to be a star here one day.
"But early on here -- I don't want to say he's wet behind the ears or a little young, but he's like a slippery guy on ice skates out there at times, just getting his footing. But you've seen him go in big, big jumps week to week where he is. From a conditioning level, from a mobility standpoint, he's as gifted as any player I've ever been around, and I think that speaks volumes. His length is something that you can't really judge offensively and defensively in terms of being able to make some plays.
"So he's got great attributes that he can be good, but he's got to learn the college game like every young guy does."
Transitions Can Take Time
This should already be common sense regardless of a quote from Media Day, but coaching transitions can take time.
Especially in a situation like this one at IU, where Miller is going to emphasize some things differently than former head coach Tom Crean did.
One example would be ball control. Crean emphasized good shooting and offensive rebounding, and let turnovers slide - that won't be the same with Miller.
Miller also is preaching defense, as he did at Dayton.
So it will be important not to judge this team early in the season, but moreso what they look like late in the year.
And it might take even longer than that to fairly judge Miller and his coaching fit at IU.
"We've spent, I'd say, 75-25 in our team workouts, defense to offense," Miller said. "We're having the base stuff put in.
"We're building. We're not as sophisticated as we're going to be, but I think from a base perspective, our team is learning what we're about, especially in the half-court. It's an adjustment. It's really an adjustment. It's repetition after repetition. It's technique after technique. It's film after film from this point forward.
"But I think we'll be a team that hopefully can continue to really improve. Sometimes it's going to take games. These guys are going to have to experience it in a game, see it on film in a game, and that's kind of what's happened throughout my coaching career is you develop defensively as a team just as well as you do offensively.
"I don't expect on day one we're going to be the steel curtain, so to speak, but I think we're going to be a team that prides ourself on that. Our guys know that. And individual defenders will improve just like they do on offense. But we're sticking to the script. We're starting -- we started in the summer, and we'll be here in the fall. I think from our practice perspective right now, we're going to try to be great on both, but we're spending an abnormal amount of time on it."
• Subscribe to our podcast on iTunes
• Follow us on Twitter: @IndianaRivals
• Like us on Facebook.