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Three players to watch for men's basketball in 2017-18



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Sophomore guard Devonte Green drives to the basket against Marian on Oct. 28 in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Green was IU's leading scorer with 22 points in a 93-62 exhibition win against Marian. Bobby Goddin Buy Photos

Sophomore guard #11 Devonte Green

6’3” and 186 lbs.

North Babylon, New York

2016-17 stats: 4.4 points per game, 1.8 rebounds per game, 1.1 assists per game in 32 games played (three starts).

Green’s teammates and coaches have heaped praise upon his offseason improvements in the lead up to IU’s preseason, and the sophomore guard has delivered on the hype thus far. After leading all Hoosiers in scoring in a sloppy Hoosier Hysteria scrimmage, Green came out in IU’s first exhibition game against Marian University and recorded 22 points, seven assists and six rebounds to lead the Hoosiers in each category. 

IU has a pair of senior guards in Robert Johnson and Josh Newkirk that figure to handle most of the point guard duties, but Green is making a hard push for his own role as an offensive playmaker. He had the highest three-point field goal percentage (44 percent) of any Hoosier with more than five attempts last season, and impressed Archie Miller enough in October to earn the first “gold jersey” that Miller gives to the most productive player in practice each week.

Green is a member of a sophomore class – alongside guard Curtis Jones and forward De’Ron Davis – that could drastically alter IU’s fortunes this season if they each take a significant jump. So far, all signs point to Green, possibly taking the biggest jump of the three.

 

Sophomore forward #20 De’Ron Davis

6’10” and 249 lbs.

Park Hill, Colorado

2016-17 stats: 5.9 points per game, 3.1 rebounds per game, 0.9 assists per game, 24 blocks in 34 games played (four starts).

Overshadowed and second on the depth chart to Thomas Bryant last season, De’Ron Davis has a chance to come into his own in the 2017-18 campaign. Davis will assume the starting center role on the team and will be part of the foundation for Coach Archie Miller’s first season.

Putting on nine pounds of sheer muscle, Davis should be an even bigger presence down low under the basket. He started four games last season against Louisville, Minnesota, Iowa and Northwestern. In those games, Davis averaged 7.75 points per game and 5.5 rebounds per game. He scored his career high in points (15) against Iowa in the first round of last season’s Big Ten Tournament, and fans should expect similar productivity from that game in this upcoming season. 

In the Hoosiers’ first exhibition game against Marian University, Davis went 5-7 shooting to score 10 points, nabbing four rebounds and dishing out one assist. If Davis makes a significant leap this season, IU should be in the mix of mid-tier Big Ten teams as long as other players step up as well. 


Senior guard #4 Robert Johnson  

6’3” and 195 lbs.

Richmond, Virginia

2016-17 stats: 12.8 points per game, 4.4 rebounds per game, 2.5 assists per game in 34 games played (32 starts).

Johnson returns for his final season in Bloomington as the most experienced player on IU’s roster with 87 starts as a Hoosier. After three seasons without needing to be the go-to-guy, he figures to be the leading scorer this season along with being a strong defender in Archie Miller’s new defensive scheme. 

Johnson is 22 points shy of 1,000 for his career and could reach that total in IU’s season opener Nov. 10 against Indiana State. Last season, Johnson’s three-point percentage dropped by nearly 11-percent from his sophomore year and he’ll be asked to regain his form with James Blackmon Jr. gone. 

One of IU’s best perimeter defenders, he had a team-high 29 steals last season. While he won’t be the starting point guard, he’ll handle some of the playmaking duties alongside senior guard Josh Newkirk and sophomore guard Devonte Green. 

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