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Miller Kopp: Threes, Primals and Cold Brew

Mike Woodson’s Second Ever Portal Addition

Syndication: Journal-Courier Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

Miller Kopp’s commitment to Mike Woodson’s first Indiana team was perhaps one of the earliest signs of the major recruiting shift that was to take place.

Indiana needed a player with length who could address the team’s pitiful 3-point shooting, and Woodson went out and got one of the best players available from a team in his own conference.

Revisiting Mike Miller’s CQ write up after Kopp first committed, he was the second leading scorer on a Northwestern team that had beaten Indiana at home the year before. He came to Indiana with three years of Big Ten experience averaging 10.3 points per game in Assembly Hall, where he also shot 66% from three.

While he hasn’t been able to sustain that unbelievable clip, he’s still Indiana’s most dangerous 3-point threat and has been for much of the last two seasons. His defensive ability and Big Ten experience led to him seeing the court slightly more than Parker Stewart last year, and he finished second on the team in made threes for an offense that was only starting to claw its way out of the paint scoring Archie had committed to.

His defense and experience remain his most valuable traits for Indiana, alongside his 46.9% 3-point shooting this season. Before this year, his best shooting season was his sophomore year at Northwestern, when he shot 39.6% from deep.

His 10% improvement over even last year’s 3-point rate is even more impressive considering he’s taken more shots per game than last season. He’s also stepped up more often in conference games, tallying five performances of 10 points or more compared to just two last year.

Scoring-wise, the high point of Kopp’s career at Indiana has been his 28-point night in last year’s double overtime loss at Syracuse. He’s also turned in some really strong games against Rutgers this year, adding 16 points in Indiana’s win over the Scarlet Knights on February 7th.

As a starter in every game over the last two seasons, he’s played a significant role in ending all of Indiana’s losing streaks that began during the Archie era. Miller, along with fellow transfer Xavier Johnson, got hot from deep in last year’s Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal against Michigan, a game that seemed to have completely changed the trajectory of the season.

There’s no telling how the Woodson era could have gone early if he hadn’t landed somebody who could shoot like Kopp in that first offseason. Adding Kopp and Johnson from the transfer portal helped bring Indiana’s team 3-point shooting up to 37.8% after turning in an abysmal 32.4% in the last year of the Archie era.

Even when he’s not hitting, his presence on the floor has helped open up the middle of the floor and improved Indiana’s offense as a whole. If the season were to end today, it would be the first time since 2017 that the Hoosiers had a Kenpom top-30 offense.

Simply put, Indiana will miss Kopp when he’s gone, on and off the court. He’s helped transform the roster, brought joy to the team and fans with his comedy bits, and is a regular in coffee shops around Bloomington on his quest for a perfect cold brew.

Transfers like Miller Kopp don’t come around all that often, so don’t take him for granted.