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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press Indiana's Devonte Green is part of a trio of sophomores who will be expected to contribute more to the success of the Hoosiers during the upcoming men's basketball season. 

  • Associated Press Indiana’s De’Ron Davis, left, and two others in the Hoosiers’ sophomore class, is expected to bring more leadership and productivity this year.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017 1:00 am

More expected of Hoosiers' sophomores

Davis, Jones, Green must all contribute in upcoming season

CHRIS GOFF | The Journal Gazette

BLOOMINGTON – The freshman-to-sophomore leap is often the biggest in college basketball.

Entering their second season, players are 16 months removed from high school. If they enrolled in summer courses, that meant a full offseason on campus, which allows them to progress better in the weight room and conditioning workouts.

Indiana's sophomores weren't asked to be much more than role players during the 2016-17 season. Veteran stars Thomas Bryant, James Blackmon Jr. and OG Anunoby anchored the Hoosiers' roster and allowed their three freshmen to ease into the college game.

This fall, the training wheels are officially off. The sophomore trio of De'Ron Davis, Curtis Jones and Devonte Green must contribute significantly for Indiana to have success.

“I continue to look at our sophomore class with De'Ron, Devonte and Curtis as being pivotal guys with different roles that can keep Indiana as a team that's continuing to compete to win and do things,” IU coach Archie Miller said.

The 6-foot-10 Davis is the center of it all, both literally and figuratively.

He replaces Bryant, who left for the NBA draft along with Blackmon and Anunoby, as the starter in the middle. Davis is someone Miller wants to run much of the offense through.

“I think that De'Ron's ready,” Miller said. “I think De'Ron is a very gifted offensive player. De'Ron has terrific footwork, amazing hands and great touch. I think he can score the ball for us.”

As a freshman, Davis averaged 5.9 points in 13.9 minutes per game.

“The biggest difference for De'Ron is going to be to do it every single day,” Miller said. “You can't have a couple good days and then all of a sudden tail off. Not taking plays off, that's a big thing for him. Not being lazy, at times, defensively, things like that.”

Jones, who backed up Blackmon at shooting guard, could be Indiana's primary bench scorer even if he loses out on a starting spot. He had the roughest debut, struggling defensively and averaging only 3.5 points per game on 35 percent shooting.

Jones said he added strength to his 175-pound frame, which should help on both ends of the court.

“I'm just looking forward,” Jones said.

“As my second year, going through it like I've already been through it once, now I've got it under my belt and (am) more comfortable,” he added.

Miller is considering letting Green, an athletic guard who lacks a true position, run the offense at times. Green took only 106 shots as a freshman, averaging 4.4 points in 15.2 minutes per game, but proved useful on defense.

Green used the offseason to develop a vision of where his game needs to go.

“I would say just keeping it simpler,” Green said, “playing more with my mind than anything else and keeping my shot consistent.”

With the Hoosiers in their first full week of training camp, Miller needs to see that his sophomores are ready for more responsibility.

“Those three guys have really answered the bell,” Miller said. “They all are doing a really nice job for us.”

cgoff@jg.net