Indiana men’s basketball is almost again.
The Hoosiers will take the court at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Sunday for his or her first of two exhibition video games ahead of the 2023-24 season. IU head coach Mike Woodson met with the media over Zoom on Friday to discuss the upcoming sport and his team at giant near the end of preseason follow.
Here are a few key factors that came up within the media session.
Exhibition video games approaching
Sunday’s matchup with UIndy will be Indiana’s first opportunity to face a special opponent this season, as opposed to intrasquad scrimmages.
This, as at all times, could be an early barometer of how some issues are becoming together. The Hoosiers ought to dominate the sport — in the occasion that they don’t, there might be severe issues to deal with. But it’ll present Woodson and the coaching staff with totally different data points, from going through one other team, than what they’ve already seen.
And with so many new pieces on this year’s group, especially in comparison with last year’s squad, Woodson mentioned that’s essential.
“We got together this summer, the process began, and it’s been lots of work up until this point where these guys have just about beat up on each other,” Woodson mentioned. “I’m sort of anxious to see the place we’re once we tip it up on Sunday to sort of give me some indication of things that we want to do to get better and continue to develop. I can’t wait until Sunday to see the place we are.”
Woodson added that IU performed some scrimmages this previous week, and the final one could have been the best the team’s performed thus far.
Freshmen impressing early
When Woodson considered some of his team’s most constantly impressive players during preseason, some younger gamers came to mind.
He led with senior guard Trey Galloway, saying he was the most constant player beginning out fall follow. But he later lauded two freshman, ahead Mackenzie Mgbako and guard Gabe Cupps. Mgbako, who isn’t dealing with a suspension after his latest arrest, is anticipated to start this season, and Woodson said he’s seemed strong.
Cupps might be an important bench piece for IU, with some questions at guard depth getting into the season. Behind Galloway and Xavier Johnson, IU is likely leaning on youth in the backcourt. Woodson stated Cupps has performed nicely this preseason.
“He’s been really one of many shiny spots,” Woodson mentioned. “He seems to do every little thing that we’ve requested him to do. I can’t help however assume, in time, he’s going to continue to get higher and develop once he figures out the faculty recreation. But he’s accomplished plenty of good things on the floor for us when it comes to profitable basketball plays. That’s what I wish to call it as a outcome of he does plenty of good things to help you win video games.”
Addressing recruiting experience
Woodson, clearly, isn’t allowed to handle particular recruits by identify in press conferences. So he can’t immediately discuss landing Liam McNeeley, missing out on Boogie Fland, or the looming decision by Derik Queen, who announced his ultimate 4 colleges on Friday.
But he’s still able to generally talk about recruiting, from a broader standpoint. And when he was asked about his NBA expertise, alongside together with his age, and how that’s impacted recruiting, Woodson set the record straight.
“Only you guys (the media) was worrying about the age,” Woodson stated. That was never an element after I got here within the door. I’ve been coaching a lengthy time, and I’m wholesome enough to educate. Mentally I’m sharp enough to teach. I didn’t have a problem coming back to Indiana. That was you guys saying that I was too outdated and couldn’t recruit. You have to recruit some within the professionals, gents, when you’re going after free company, and some of the similar issues I’m doing now, I had to do at the pro stage. You just do it on an even bigger scale when it comes to — so far as the money, the money makes it larger.”
Woodson has found success on the recruiting trail since he arrived in Bloomington, and that’s grown over time. He put collectively top-20 classes, per 247Sports Composite, at IU each of the last two years, and introduced in Indiana’s highest-rated commit in 5 years in Mgbako.
There are extra similarities, Woodson mentioned, between faculty recruiting and NBA free company than some may think. He was already used to dealing with dad and mom and numerous handlers within the NBA. His major emphasis with recruiting has merely been getting Indiana back within the conversations with high prospects.
“My factor was just being ready to sit at the desk with the best gamers which are on the market. That’s the one factor I was serious about when I came right here: how can I get to the most effective players,” Woodson said. “My teaching workers, they gave me their opinions about it early on saying, ‘Hey, you’ve received to wait your turn.’ Well, I didn’t feel as though I had to wait my flip. Just get us to the desk and let’s see what occurs. We’ve had some fairly good success having the power to recruit and talk to a number of the high gamers. We haven’t gotten all of them, and you’re not. You’re going to win some, you’re going to lose some. But hell, if you by no means get a chance to speak to the most effective players, it’s not going to work so far as I’m involved.”
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