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Archie Miller's 'inside-out' approach is proving its worth for IU men's basketball


Center Grove's Trayce Jackson-Davis attempts a free throw against Bloomington North on Saturday evening at Tom McKinney Court. Jackson-Davis had 33 points and 12 rebounds. Bobby Goddin Buy Photos

Five-star Center Grove High School power forward Trayce Jackson-Davis announced his college decision on Twitter last Friday.

The short clip pinned to the top of his personal page depicted a digital version of the 6-foot-8-inch, Indianapolis native with his arms raised toward a cutout of the mid-court design that resides in the center of Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

Donning a crimson No. 23 jersey in the video, Jackson Davis wrote in all capital letters “I AM COMMITTED.” 

Archie Miller snagged another one.

“Coach Miller and Coach Ostrom did a great job recruiting me," Jackson-Davis said in an interview with the Indiana Daily Student on Saturday.  "They were first to everything.”

Jackson-Davis’ commitment looms large for many reasons, but first and foremost, it confirms Miller’s perceived repercussions of an “inside-out” recruiting strategy.

The second-year coach raved about the state of Indiana when he was granted the job in March 2017. 

“The reason I'm here, and I really believe this, is the state of Indiana,” Miller said at his opening press conference. 

Miller’s predecessor, Tom Crean, was much maligned for his swings and misses at in-state talent over his nine-year tenure. Miller made it a point that he would dominate recruiting in the Hoosier state.

“We have to start inside this state of Indiana, and we have to start moving outside very slowly, because the footprint is there,” Miller said at the press conference. “The inside-out approach means that we have to dedicate ourselves to the high school coaches in this state, the high school talent in this state, the grass-roots programs in this state, and they must feel like they're being dominated by Indiana University.”

The first major piece to the puzzle was Romeo Langford. 

The recruiting business is sketchy by nature. The rumor mill runs rampant. But before Miller’s run began, the Hoosiers were seemingly on the outskirts of Langford’s recruiting world.

Then, nearly one year and a month to the day after Miller was introduced to Hoosier Nation, Langford perched a red “IU” cap on his head, to the tune of excited shrieks from adoring fans across the state.

“Romeo deciding to come here was a huge feather in the cap for our program,” Miller said after Saturday's win over Northwestern.

Freshman guard Romeo Langford searches for a cutting teammate against Northwestern on Dec. 1 in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Langford tied his career-high 28 points in Friday's loss at Maryland. Ty Vinson Buy Photos

The long-term ramifications of commitments like Langford and Jackson-Davis’ cannot be understated — Miller even said as much.

“I would probably be a fool to think that kids aren't looking at Romeo coming here as a positive,” Miller said. “I think I know the underclassmen in the state are watching him."

And from this year's freshman class, it stretches further than just Langford.

"Trayce and he and Rob have a good relationship, as does Armaan Franklin," Miller said. "They've all really connected in the last year and some change. It's what you want. You want those guys to know each other, like each other. Want to play with one another.”

It’s also worth noting Langford is far from the only big-time, in-state prize Miller’s staff nabbed in 2018. Forward Damezi Anderson and guard Rob Phinisee were rated the No. 3 and 4 prospects in Indiana per 247Sports rankings.

“I think a guy like Damezi says he's coming, a guy like Rob says he's coming – don’t discount those guys either,” Miller said. “Those guys are really important guys that we first got.”

Freshman guard Rob Phinisee runs the ball up the court against Northwestern on Dec. 1 in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers defeated the Wildcats 68-66.  Ty Vinson Buy Photos

In the class of 2023, Miller has already secured commitments from two of the state’s top seven recruits in Jackson-Davis and three-star Cathedral High School guard Armaan Franklin. 

That number stands to grow as eyes have shifted toward Jackson-Davis’ longtime friend and fellow five-star recruit Keion Brooks from La Lumiere School. 

For what it’s worth, Brooks has been rumored to be a package deal with Jackson-Davis for months. But future decisions aside, Miller has backed up the talk. 

He’s dominating the Indiana recruiting scene, inside-out.

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