17-year-old 5-star basketball players don’t care about 30-year-old banners.
Indiana Basketball is and always will be fueled by history. Without the appropriate appreciation for the history and tradition of college basketball, then Indiana Basketball is quite simply irrelevant.
When referring to Indiana Basketball, history always matters and that’s not a bad thing. It matters, but it ain’t sexy.
Obviously, Archie Miller has an enormous amount of work to do in the upcoming months and he has already been taking part in an extensive and pivotal turnover process for a good while now. With that said, there is one issue that normally seems to go unnoticed and that Head Coach Archie Miller needs to address in order to ensure success moving forward.
Now, I don’t want this to come off as a whiny millennial complaint piece. What I want is to just simply shed a light on a perspective that probably isn’t much different from the perspective of a potential Indiana Basketball recruit.
Archie Miller needs to make Indiana Basketball cool again.
Yes, I know that’s a weird sentiment, but it’s a necessary one.
A defining characteristic of the Tom Crean era was his approach and appreciation towards the history of Indiana Basketball. He entered the program with emphatic tacky statements such as “It’s Indiana…It’s Indiana,” and he progressed onward with a love affair for history and tradition that was seemingly a bit concerning.
History and tradition can be a remarkable asset for a program, but it can’t become a reliance. Tom Crean seemed to always be reliant upon the image of Indiana Basketball from 30 years ago, rather than the future of it.
That’s why Archie Miller has to establish a new image for Indiana Basketball. One that doesn’t forget the past, but most importantly looks towards the future.
According to 247sports, since 1999(as far as their database goes back), Indiana has brought in seven 5-star recruits. Three of those recruits come from outside of the state Indiana.
Indiana has also brought in 18 4-stars. 15 of those athletes come from outside of the state of Indiana.
Over 18 years, Indiana Basketball has seen a little under one and a half premium players come to the program per year.
There is no proper way to describe those numbers other than simply “mediocre.” If you throw in the issues this program faced under Kelvin Sampson, then you find yourself with an excuse that pushes the description to “average.”
If Fred Glass aspires to the level of success that he does, then “average” will not cut it. There needs to be a change, and I truly believe that Archie Miller is destined to be the one to bring it. The reason I say that stems directly from an idea he expressed not long after getting hired.
Miller said he plans to make announcement on entire staff as a group. Wants #iubb to be cutting edge on social media like Ohio State fball.— rickbozich (@rickbozich) April 5, 2017
As expressed by just under 140 characters, I honestly think Archie Miller gets it. He understands that Indiana is far behind other schools in changing its approach towards recruiting. Archie understands that social media sells to 17-years-old’s. Archie understands that those that can quintessentially still be called “kids” don’t care about what occurred before they were even born.
So what needs to change?
To start with the direction that Archie Miller seems to have already taken, there needs to be a simple change to the way in which the program utilizes social media. It may seem like such a simple concept, but branding has a greater impact on 17-year-olds than one would think.
We’re in a day and age where every top recruit needs a graphic to portray their top-37 schools and every basketball player needs a hoop mixtape. It’s all about branding and it is my hope that Indiana Basketball follows suit with that understanding.
I want more gifs on twitter. I want more video promotions that provide insight into player experiences and coach’s thoughts. I want more player highlights. I want more player involvement in general, so fans and recruits could get to know more about the athletes wearing the historic candy stripes before each game. I want more memes for Pete’s sake is that too much to ask? Just some memes!
Next there has to be a change to the game experience. I want more DJ Unique throughout the game, rather than this reliance upon the Pep Band. As special and pivotal the Pep Band maybe to the basketball experience at Assembly Hall, it shouldn’t be the only music heard throughout an entire game other than the IU Credit Union jingle.
Maybe there needs to be an in-game emcee. That seems easy enough. And maybe there needs to be renovations made to the concessions and technology around Assembly Hall. I am fully aware that Assembly Hall recently went forward with renovations, but it still feels somewhat behind the times.
Just in general, Indiana Basketball lacks national popularity. It lacks celebrity status. I hate to draw a comparison Indiana’s greatest rival, but Coach Calipari has been able to push celebrity status in the faces of recruits for years now. It’s hard to imagine anything more powerful to a 17-year-old basketball prodigy than being able to say to him, “Hey, you want to meet Drake?”
The sentiment feels gimmicky, and it probably is, but it’s also necessary. There needs to be a shift in the focus of Indiana Basketball to adapt to the constantly changing needs of those that the school is recruiting.
I want Young Thug in an Indiana Basketball jersey.
These are all ideas, and most of them won’t ever come to fruition. That’s fine, just as long as Archie Miller still understands the mentality shift that is needed.
It seems like a minuscule issue in the grand scheme of things, but realistically it’s not. Archie Miller has to make Indiana Basketball “cool” again, and I truly think he can.
Keep history in mind, but take it out of the forefront.
Reshape the image of the program, and get Young Thug at Hoosier Hysteria in October.