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IU men's basketball looks to be healthy heading into final exhibition game


Freshman forward Justin Smith attempts a free throw against Marian on Oct. 28 in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Smith is one of three freshmen who committed to IU while the Hoosiers were coached by Tom Crean, but followed through with enrolling at IU after new Coach Archie Miller was appointed.  Bobby Goddin Buy Photos

When IU takes the floor Sunday at 2 p.m. at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall for its final tune up before the regular season, the Hoosiers will likely be at full strength. 

After suffering minor injuries during the preseason, senior forward Collin Hartman and freshman guard Al Durham are slated to play against the University of Indianapolis Greyhounds after missing last week’s exhibition game against Marian, IU Coach Archie Miller said. 

“The more guys that are healthy, the more we get used to playing with each other in game-like situations,” freshman forward Justin Smith said. “So, as soon as they get back healthy, as soon as they get some playing time, get their legs under them, it will be good for us in the long run.”

Hartman, who missed last season due to a knee injury, has also been dealing with a minor ankle injury. 

“He really lifts us up,” Miller said. “He’s a guy that has a voice. Anytime you can communicate offensively and defensively in huddles, picking your teammates up, that’s a big boost, he does that. He stretches the floor with his ability to shoot.”

Miller said Hartman is an offensive weapon for the Hoosiers because of the stress he puts on the defense and his ability to shoot and pass. 

Another offensive weapon for IU is Durham, who could see some playmaking duties and help take the pressure off senior guard Josh Newkirk. Durham suffered a hamstring injury, but is set to earn his first collegiate minutes Sunday afternoon. 

Smith called Durham a crafty player. 

“He plays at his own speed,” Smith said. “Really doesn’t let anybody get him off his line. I’m looking at him, when he gets the opportunity and gets healthy, to come in and make an impact.”

After reviewing the film from the first exhibition game, Miller said he wants his team to be a bit sharper offensively, but he said he was happy with the defensive effort. He said the offense needs to play for longer stretches faster. 

“I think the one thing that stood out was our conditioning level offensively,” Miller said. “To be a team that wants to play with tempo and pace, part of it is you have to be committed to running the floor hard.”

The University of Indianapolis will provide a different challenge for IU than Marian. The Greyhounds have made the Division II NCAA Tournament in six out of seven seasons.  

“They could probably beat a lot of Division I teams,” Miller said. “To me, we’re playing against a team that will be excited to play, they’ve got a lot of experience, looking at the transfers that have come in. The shooting stands out. They’ve got some size too.”

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