BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Kenya Hunter is pumped.
He is nonetheless an Indiana Hoosier assistant basketball coach, nonetheless dedicated to assist convey a return to program glory and sees large issues coming underneath new coach Mike Woodson.
“A few of the issues he needs to implement from the NBA fashion excites me,” Hunter says through Thursday’s Zoom alternative. “He will put numerous time and effort into making this a program everybody might be enthusiastic about.”
Uncertainty from final month’s teaching change — Archie Miller was let go, and changed by Woodson, a former IU All-American, and NBA participant and coach – has change into an opportunity to proceed what Hunter began final August, when he got here to Bloomington from Connecticut.
“The whole lot occurs for a cause,” he says. I am right here for a cause — the work that I’ve finished; the period of time I have been right here; the relationships I’ve constructed with our workers and gamers. I feel that was the most important factor.”
How beneficial is Hunter?
With out Hunter, guard Parker Stewart most likely does not keep, switch guard Xavier Johnson most likely does not come and continuity from the earlier workers will not occur.
Over the past month, Hunter had loads of job alternatives, however most well-liked to remain at Indiana. He’d simply moved his household, and wasn’t keen to maneuver them once more. Athletic Director Scott Dolson requested him to attend to see who he employed earlier than making a choice.
“I used to be excited that he wished me to remain,” Hunter says.
Woodson taking up made it a no brainer.
“It was apparent he is man,” Hunter says. “He shed his blood, sweat and tears right here. I wished to have an opportunity to be a part of that.”
Woodson’s workers is designed to ship championships. Hunter, Dane Fife and Yasir Rosemond are the assistant coaches. Rosemond was the ultimate rent, and brings teaching expertise at Alabama, Georgia, Oregon, Samford and Seattle over 13 seasons. He performed at Oregon earlier than a four-year professional profession in Brazil.
Former assistant coach Mike Roberts has been moved to assistant athletic director for basketball administration underneath Thad Matta, a 400-plus recreation winner as a head coach at Ohio State, Xavier and Butler. Clif Marshall has retained his job as director of basketball efficiency.
One large precedence for Marshall — enhance the conditioning.
“The extra we proceed to study one another,” Hunter says, “that is going to be a heck of a scenario. It has been thrilling and enjoyable.”
The switch portal has added roster uncertainty as by no means earlier than throughout the nation. Greater than 1,400 gamers have entered the portal, together with seven from IU.
Woodson satisfied forwards Trayce Jackson-Davis (an All-America final season who thought-about getting into the NBA draft), Race Thompson and Jordan Geronimo, plus guards Stewart and Khristian Lander, to remain. Guards Armaan Franklin and Aljami Durham, and middle Joey Brunk moved on.
“Yeah, we misplaced a few guys,” Hunter says, “however we felt with nearly all of the fellows we acquired again, we might proceed to construct a crew Indiana followers will probably be happy with.”
The Hoosiers additionally return guards Rob Phinisee, Trey Galloway and Anthony Leal, and swingman Jerome Hunter. They’ll herald 6-9 four-star highschool middle Logan Duncombe out of Cincinnati.
Woodson is taking an extended take a look at the switch portal to usher in a few extra gamers.
Offensively, Woodson needs a number of gamers to deal with the point-guard function. He’ll implement an NBA-style assault that pushes the transition tempo and performs to gamers’ strengths. It is taking part in quick, however not reckless; it emphasizes shifting and sharing the ball over stationary set performs.
“It is not simply coming down and jacking up a shot since you wish to play quicker,” Hunter says. “It is an unselfish fashion of play offensively, but in addition at a tempo the place in the event you’re open, (Woodson) needs you to be at liberty to shoot it.”
Underneath Woodson, Jackson-Davis will probably be a person on the offensive transfer, switching from put up to perimeter and all components in between. Assume Iowa’s Luka Garza, who was a risk from three-point vary in addition to the paint en path to successful nationwide player-of-the-year honors.
The 6-5 Stewart, a switch from Tennessee-Martin, figures to have a serious function. Hunter says he can run the ground, hit three-pointers and guard a number of positions.
The Hoosiers cannot get sufficient of that.
Matta watched a latest exercise session through which Stewart hit 20-of-21 3-point makes an attempt. That is enormous for a program that has rated within the decrease half of the Huge Ten in three-point taking pictures in recent times, and simply misplaced two of its greatest three-point shooters in Durham and Franklin.
“We celebrated that,” Hunter says of Stewart’s sharp-shooting.
Stewart, who transferred in mid-season, hit 71 three-pointers for Tennessee-Martin in the course of the 2019-20 season. In his first school season, at Pitt, he additionally made 71 three-pointers.
Stewart remains to be coping with the loss of life of his father, Anthony Stewart, the previous head coach at Tennessee-Martin. The youthful Stewart transferred from Pitt to play for his father, then transferred to IU after his father handed away final November. He was eligible to play for the Hoosiers in the course of the second semester, however didn’t.
“It is day-to-day,” Hunter says. “He will have good and dangerous days. The rationale he got here right here is, when he does have these dangerous days, he’ll have individuals in his nook who assist and perceive his scenario.”
Then there’s Pitt switch combo guard Xavier Johnson. Hunter had recruited him whereas he was at Nebraska, and stored involved with Johnson’s father since then.
That was a giant cause why the 6-3 Johnson picked IU over applications reminiscent of Baylor, Houston and St. Joseph’s. He averaged 14.2 factors, 5.7 assists and three.4 rebounds final season.
Johnson is a robust chief, defender and passer. His taking pictures wants work (a profession 33.6 % from three-point vary at Pitt), however he nonetheless scored 1,152 factors in three seasons.
“He can dominate so far as guarding the ball,” Hunter says. “That is how Coach Woodson needs to play.
“He has a present, particularly in transition, to create for himself and others.
“First-step smart, he can get toes within the paint. He helps everybody round him be higher. We’d like management on this crew and he may also help with that.”
“He is persevering with to get higher along with his three-point shot. There’s nonetheless numerous work to be finished there.”
Ultimately, work begins with Woodson, and so far as Hunter is worried, nobody does it higher.
“Whenever you speak to him, you are speaking to somebody who’s actual.”