Dane Fife talks offseason workouts, expectations for Tamar Bates, Miller Kopp and Xavier Johnson

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Within the weeks after Archie Miller was fired, it was uncommon for a day to cross by with out a new piece of stories swirling across the program.

It started with six Hoosiers getting into the switch portal, 4 of which finally returned. There have been two rumor-filled weeks earlier than Mike Woodson was employed as IU’s new head coach. Trayce Jackson-Davis, who was contemplating leaving for the NBA, determined to come back again to IU for his junior marketing campaign. Finally,  the three additions of Xavier Johnson, Tamar Bates and Miller Kopp selected to make Indiana their new residence.

Someplace in between all of that, the carousel of tales continued with the teaching employees. Dane Fife made his return to Bloomington as an assistant after spending a decade working for Tom Izzo at Michigan State. Kenya Hunter was retained on employees. Finally, Yasir Rosemond was added.

All of this got here after a season riddled with additional stress and tightened protocols as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. Plus, as stress mounted, Indiana fizzled out down the stretch of the yr, dropping its closing six video games.

Fife and the remainder of the teaching employees acknowledge the pressure over the previous 12 months and understand the IU gamers want a possibility to exhale.

“It’s been a tricky yr for everyone, but it surely’s been a tricky yr for the present gamers, too.” Fife, who mentioned he contracted COVID-19 final season, informed Contained in the Corridor on an episode of Podcast on the Brink on Wednesday. “What I’ve discovered is that they want a break. Everyone wants a break. To have the ability to go residence and actually replenish and revamp themselves and are available again with a peace of thoughts and a transparent thoughts.”

In latest weeks, nonetheless, the Hoosiers have been again within the gymnasium. Follow movies have surfaced on social media. Early on, Fife and the employees have been placing their concentrate on fundamentals.

“For the dearth of a greater time period, let’s tighten up sure abilities which are missing, the fundamentals,” Fife mentioned. “It’s to not put the fault or blame on anybody apart from we’re making an attempt to develop our personnel. We’d do that if it had been yr 5, if it had been yr three and we’re definitely going to do it in yr one.”

It’s been little observations, Fife mentioned, like telling Trey Galloway to get extra air below his shot. Making correct passes that enable a shooter to catch the ball in rhythm. Advising Jackson-Davis to take a breath earlier than taking pictures his free throws.

It was Indiana’s incapacity to execute fundamentals that value them final season. They averaged nearly 12 turnovers per sport. Some outcomes had been decided by Indiana’s failure to seize unfastened balls or make sound defensive rotations.

“Let’s put them in conditions the place they’re going to have success,” Fife mentioned of the latest exercises. “Let’s put them in drills the place they’re in a position to compete towards one another… However nonetheless, let’s have them end earlier than they go residence for some time having some success.”

Throughout his introductory press convention, Fife particularly famous Rob Phinisee as a participant that he needs to assist construct into dominant type. Phinisee has been considerably of an enigma at IU. After displaying promise his freshman season, his manufacturing has stalled after being plagued with accidents and inconsistencies.

“I don’t suppose there’s a greater defender within the league than Rob Phinisee,” Fife mentioned three weeks in the past.“…We’ve received to determine how one can get Rob Phinisee to get his groove again.”

Lately, Fife has been watching movie, observing how he will help put Phinisee in a greater state of affairs to achieve success.

“I used to be stunned at what number of photographs Rob took when he was shifting nearly full velocity laterally,” Fife mentioned. “I’m pondering, gosh, these are powerful photographs…I feel there’s a easy repair that may actually assist him.”

Apart from the returning gamers, there are some newcomers that Fife hasn’t been in a position to work with but. Amongst them is Johnson, a switch from Pittsburgh, who averaged 14.2 factors and 5.7 assists per sport final season. A playmaking level guard with the flexibility to create for others is one thing that IU lacked final season.

“We want Xavier to make it possible for he’s the man that will get to the paint and kicks it out,” Fife mentioned. “Will get guys open photographs or will get Trayce simple baskets. Will get Rob Phinisee a step in three the place his hips are already sq. to the basket.”

Then there’s Bates, a consensus top-30 prospect within the 2021 class who was initially dedicated to Texas earlier than reopening his recruitment and selecting IU.

“I feel that he’s a bit of little bit of a wildcard in a great way,” Fife mentioned. “He can do a whole lot of good issues. Possibly evaluate him to a bit of little bit of (Armaan) Franklin, a bit of little bit of Al Durham all into one.”

Lastly, Indiana added Kopp, a 6-foot 7-inch stretch ahead who averaged 9.6 factors and shot 36 p.c from deep over three seasons at Northwestern earlier than transferring to IU this offseason.

“A man that ought to simply be capable of knock down some open threes,” Fife mentioned. “However we don’t need him to be resigned to that. He’s talked about that he needs to turn into a greater rebounder. We’re going to try this. We’re going to demand that he goes to that cup.”

As these abbreviated Spring exercises have completed up, Fife has already been laying the groundwork for the kind of mentality he needs the IU gamers to have. Fife echoed a sentiment that Woodson delivered: specializing in not solely constructing nice basketball gamers, but in addition nice younger males.

“It’s in your character of whether or not you give a rattling or to not go get that rebound,” Fife mentioned. “It’s a life ability. It’s a alternative. It’s one thing that you may management… I’m going to demand from you the talents which are life abilities.”

If Indiana needs to be an element within the Huge Ten subsequent season, it’s these early practices, the place the inspiration is being laid, that might show to be key.

Filed to: Dane Fife, Miller Kopp, Tamar Bates, Xavier Johnson

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