It’s already four games into the season and IU men’s basketball has yet to have every scholarship player available to play at the same time.
Most teams don’t intend to play every scholarship player in a game, but IU has enough depth where each one could see some sort of playing time at least in the early part of the schedule.
It wasn’t clear if senior guard Devonte Green would see his first minutes against Troy University after a hamstring injury forced him to miss the first three games, but with sophomore guard Rob Phinisee out because of strep throat, the co-captain made his debut.
Green didn’t start, but he played a majority of the first half and played just three seconds shy of 20 total minutes. Green was an expected starter coming into the year after dominating offensively at the end of the 2018-19 season, including putting up 26 points against Ohio State in the Big Ten tournament. He led the team shooting 41% beyond the arc and will be relied on more as the team’s primary 3-point shooter.
When Green finally returned to the court against Troy, he didn’t shoot at his same rate, but his playmaking ability showed how much of an influence he has within the IU offense.
“It's a big, big help,” junior forward Justin Smith said after the win over Troy. “It's another shooter, another spacer, another ball handler. He makes things happen defensively and offensively. We're glad to have him back. We're looking forward to him getting back into a rhythm.”
On the “Inside IU basketball with Archie Miller” radio show Monday, IU head coach Archie Miller mentioned how Green practiced the two days before the Troy game and “he’s moving closer to getting his feet under him.”
With Princeton University up next for IU on Wednesday night, Green could see extended minutes against one of the top teams in the Ivy League. The Tigers are 0-3 thus far but were picked fourth in the conference before the season started.
The Tigers have allowed opponents to shoot 46.3% from beyond the arc with an average of 10.3 made per game. Green showed the willingness to shoot it against Troy and it won’t be any different against Princeton.
“I think athletically he's back, but he's got to shake some rust off and get his feet under him,” Miller said after the win over Troy. “He'll be fine. He plays an important role.”
In the postgame press conference after Troy, Miller knocked twice on the table when talking about the health of his backcourt.
It’s something that’s still a work in progress but now that Green is back on the court, Wednesday night could be the first time Miller will have all four of his guards at his disposal.
“It's good to have him (Green) back,” Miller said after the win over Troy. “I think at some point, you know get them all back, especially in the back court. That's where we've really been needing our depth to come through.”
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