Indiana basketball has ushered in a new era with the hiring of new coach Archie Miller.
The goal, as stated by athletic director Fred Glass and echoed by Miller, is to return Indiana to being a consistently elite college basketball program.
So what all goes into that?
To dive into that topic, Peegs.com reached out to a number of former IU players, including those who were on Indiana’s most recent team to be ranked No. 1 in the nation.
One of the key players on that team was Jordan Hulls, an Indiana Mr. Basketball from Bloomington South who was a 1,000-point scorer in his four-year career with the Hoosiers.
Here is our Q&A with Hulls, currently a professional basketball player in Germany and the founder of the JH1 Skills Academy.
“First and foremost, I want to thank coach Crean for everything he has and continues to do for me. He, coach Buckley, and the rest of the staff were all there from the beginning and believed in me when others had doubt. I can’t thank him enough for giving me the opportunity to play for my hometown school and represent Indiana basketball and everything it stands for.
“He pushed me to my limits and helped me become the man I am today, on and off the court. The enthusiasm, passion, work ethic and love he had for the program and his players was one of the many things I always appreciated about Coach. The relationships I was able to form will last forever, and I won’t ever forget all the memories shared with that special group.”
Question: You played at Indiana, were an outstanding player, were on a team that was No. 1 in the nation. That's the level to which the program aspires. What are key attributes a coach should have to put the IU program back on that level?
“There’s no doubt that the Indiana Basketball program aspires to be one of the best teams in the country every single year. I believe that we were able to achieve that status through being both mentally and physically tough, truly caring about the team, a relentless work ethic, and holding everyone accountable in order to build the culture needed to win.
“We were so determined after losing all those games the first two years to prove people wrong, we played with a chip on our shoulder. We had guys who bought into their roles, what we were trying to do and would do whatever was needed in order for us to get better/be the best team we could be. We didn’t care who got the credit, as long as we won. When the players learn accountability and then start holding themselves to a certain standard then that’s when things can take off.
“I think that culture is necessary to be a top team. Maybe I’m too old school, but that’s just how I was raised and what I believe works.”
Question: From a recruiting standpoint, how important does the state of Indiana and the Midwest need to be for IU basketball?
“For me as an Indiana kid, it was huge for me to be able to play at Indiana, be close for my friends and family, and have a chance to be part of a historic program. I’d like to believe that kids still think this way if you’re from Indiana/Midwest, but again maybe I’m too old school. I definitely think recruiting Indiana kids is huge for the fans, the program, and the state.
“Obviously I understand that there are logistical things that come to play such as number of scholarships, positions occupied/needed, etc. I’m also aware that there is a ton of talent all of the country and we’ve been fortunate enough over all the years to get great players from other states as well (Watford, Sheehey, Oladipo… etc.?!).
“With that being said, I do believe that recruiting the state of Indiana and the Midwest is important, basketball is just different and the appreciation of Indiana basketball is instilled when we are little kids, it’s in our blood.”
Question: From a player's view, what makes for a good coach at the level of college basketball IU wants to reach?
“I think that it comes down to the relationships you have with your staff and players. It goes without saying that you have to push your guys both mentally and physically, focus on the fundamentals/skill development, hard work ethic, and build a culture about winning by holding every single person accountable.
“When you can do all these things while having a healthy relationship with every one involved, that’s a recipe for success. I’m not saying being “buddies” because there has to be a fine line between Coach and player but having that mutual respect that makes you want to go to war for one another is how that culture is built.
“As a player, I want to be pushed and held accountable while also being able to have the confidence to ask questions and have input, which comes from building that bond.”
Question: Indiana basketball matters to you and your family, obviously, so this may be a simplistic question. But how important is it for IU to return to being a national level program on a consistent basis?
“Born and raised in Bloomington, Indiana. My family bleeds Indiana basketball. When Indiana basketball is at it’s best, the state of Indiana is at it’s best.
“I’m not taking anything away from the other Indiana schools when they’re doing well, but I don’t think it’s the same as when Indiana basketball is doing well. The tradition that is Indiana basketball has been passed down from generation to generation all over the state, just wanting to get that next banner.
“We hold ourselves to a higher standard and believe we are an elite program, and rightfully so. Despite the fact of not winning a national title recently, we still strive for that championship on a daily basis.
“I sure as heck know that in my years there we did everything we could to get it done. Just look at all of our recent success when winning the Big Ten outright two times, everyone was ecstatic that the Hoosiers were on top of the Big Ten once again.
"Watching guys compete on a national level, playing great basketball, and representing Indiana in the right way is what we love and expect on a consistent basis. So, it is very important that the program brings in a coach that strives to get IU to national level program on a consistent basis and understands just how much Indiana basketball means to the fans/state.”