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Postgame Reaction: Indiana discusses loss to Miami



Indiana Hoosiers head coach Mike Woodson watches his team play against the Miami (Fl) Hurricanes during the second half at MVP Arena. (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

The Indiana basketball program saw its 2022-23 season come to a close on Sunday night, falling to Miami in the Round of 32, 85-69.

The Hoosiers end the season 23-12 overall.

Below is the full transcript from head coach Mike Woodson and players Trayce Jackson-Davis, Miller Kopp and Race Thompson.

MIKE WOODSON: You’ve got to give Miami a lot of credit. They played their butts off tonight. It was a well-coached game, and I thought they were the better team. They showed it first half and second half.

I thought when we got back in it, we didn’t do the things to put us in position once we got the lead to win this game. So you’ve got to give Miami a lot of credit. They played their butts off.

Q. What got you back in the game, what got you the lead early in the second half, and what got away from you as Miami got back into it?

TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: What got us back in the game is we were playing hard on the defensive end of the floor and getting quick baskets, quick screen, quick points in the post, stuff of that nature. Our defense was leading the offense. Kind of got away from us. They hit a few tough shots. They hit some shots, got some rebounds on the offensive end of the floor that got them extra possessions.

When you get down eight to ten, you’ve got to press, and they’re a really good team going in transition. So that’s when the game started getting out of hand.

Q. Miller and Race, you guys kind of had to struggle through the first half, but then Miller hit that big three at the end, and Trey came out and hit one. When you got ahead 42-40, where were you at in your mind? Did you feel you were back where you needed to be and could take it from there?

MILLER KOPP: Yeah, we were super confident. We came out and made a run, punched first. That’s what we wanted to do coming out of halftime. So for us we were feeling really confident, putting Trayce in a good position to share the ball and attack.

We just didn’t keep that up.

Q. For Trayce and Race, Miami had 20 offensive rebounds. I mean, how difficult was it to try to get that contained? Why do you think it was difficult to get it contained?

TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: They’re a great offensive rebounding team. They’ve got athletes. They would shoot shots. Everyone was crashing. They didn’t have guards getting back. Everyone was going to get the ball.

Omier played really well on the offensive glass to bring energy and wedging people under, myself included. They were playing relentless on the glass. So they punished us, and that’s what they did honestly.

Q. Trayce, you were getting noticeably emotional as the end of the game came to a close. When you think about your last four years as a Hoosier, what kind of comes to your mind? What do you think about?

TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: I just think about just being part of the change really. Just two years ago, we were getting Booed in our home city, Indianapolis, off the court in the Big Ten Tournament.

Just being in this moment two years later, it’s really special. It’s really special to me to have the Indiana fans on your back and just cheering for you and giving them hope. It’s something that this program hasn’t had in a while. So I just thought it was really cool to be part of that and be part of that experience.

I know this guy right next to me is going to make sure that things stay in the right direction.

Q. The start of the second half was good. The start of the first half wasn’t. You fell behind 13-3. I think in a sideline interview Coach Woodson said you guys were complaining too much and it was a big time basketball game and you needed to play harder. Did you feel like you didn’t play hard enough early on?

TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: Yeah, I just think that they got off to a quick start. We didn’t play well to start the game. Then going into the second half, I think that we kind of punched first. I think at the end of the first half we got — I think it was maybe a run of five, where we cut it to five. Then we punched first at the start of the second half and tried to carry that momentum off.

Then it kind of was back and forth, back and forth until they kind of sprung out again. There was definitely complaining, but we’re just competitors. We’re trying to compete. So it happens.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you to our student-athletes.

Q. What’s the hardest part of the suddenness of this ending for you?

MIKE WOODSON: This one is tough to swallow because I truly believe that this team had a legitimate shot. As a coach, I put so much pressure and heat on myself to get teams over the hump, so I’ve got to take some responsibility for this one tonight.

Even though we didn’t play nowhere near where I thought we should be playing, you’ve got to give Miami a lot of credit. They played extremely well tonight. When I look at the stat sheet and look at the paint points and the rebounding, that’s just not Indiana basketball. That’s where the game was won.

Yes, we were complaining a lot. You can’t do that in big-time college basketball games. They let you play. And you should want to be in that position to be let to play. We didn’t compete. They were the better team tonight.

Q. Coach, it’s a new age of college basketball, and obviously this loss really stings. But how long do you take before you start hitting the transfer portal, roster building, and those kinds of things?

MIKE WOODSON: I’ll sleep on this tonight and get up tomorrow and start a fresh day, start trying to figure out how we can get better for next season.

I’m not taking anything away from our season. I told the guys in the locker room how much I love them and respect them for playing for me this year. The kind of season we had was a promising season. We had a good year.

We made a step forward based on where we were a year ago, but it’s not good enough as far as I’m concerned. It’s not. We’ve got to get better from a personnel standpoint, and I’ve got to get better as a coach. I mean, it’s just that simple.

Q. Since you’ve been here action you’ve played through Trayce Jackson-Davis, and it’s obvious why you did that. I’m just curious looking forward, is it your intent to be more of a perimeter-focused team? What are your thoughts about kind of your preferred style going forward?

MIKE WOODSON: It depends on personnel. When I was in New York — Trayce Jackson-Davis is the first center that I’ve ever coached in my career where I had to utilize my center as a post-up player.

Trayce has gotten so much better being a post-up player. I mean, he’s a basketball player now. I’d like to think that my staff and I have had a lot to do with that. He has gotten so much better in so many different areas.

But it’s the first time in my coaching career that I’ve had to coach a young man starting out on the block and expanding his game. I don’t know where we’re going to be next season in terms of how our style of play will be. But we’ve got to get better. I do know that.

Q. I know you’ve talked about what it is that freshmen have to go through during the course of a season. Even 34 games in, Jalen really struggled early coming out of the gate tonight. How much of that was nerves and him just not getting comfortable early enough?

MIKE WOODSON: I don’t know if I’d call it nerves. We just didn’t play well. We did a lot of things tonight that from an offensive standpoint, we didn’t sacrifice the next pass. It was like individually I had to beat you. I got to do it myself instead of doing it as a team.

There were a number of times we could have made the next pass, and we didn’t do that. And then defensively, I told them at halftime we gave up 40 points, and we hadn’t done that a whole lot this season. Normally we’re sitting on top.

I told them, if we gave up 80 points, you would have a tough time beating this team, and we gave up 80-some points. Which wasn’t good.

Q. The UM team feels that sometimes they’re underrated, underappreciated. What do you think is the national perception of that team? What kind of respect do they have? Do you think they’re a little bit underrated?

MIKE WOODSON: Ma’am, I’ll tell you this: I never go into a game looking at a team that you might think or somebody might think is underrated. I respect all coaches and all teams. You go in with that attitude, you won’t be very successful in this sport.

That coach has done a helluva job with that team for many, many years, and that team tonight competed and played their asses off, and that’s why I’m sitting here going home and they’re moving forward. So I have nothing but respect for every team that we play. That team was pretty damn good tonight.

Q. Coach, Trayce Jackson-Davis’ final game tonight. What does he mean to you and this program?

MIKE WOODSON: Well, he’s meant a lot to this program. I don’t think we’re sitting here today if it wasn’t for Trayce Jackson-Davis. He could have left two days after I got the job, but he decided to stay on board. He worked his butt off. I pushed him on and off the court. A lot of nights and days, it wasn’t pretty for him, but he got better. He benefited from it, and our team benefited from it.

I wish him nothing but the best moving forward — him, Miller, and Race, who gave us all they could give us. It was fun times coaching those guys this season, but they’re going to move on, and I’ve got to figure out our next move as far as our program and moving this program forward.

Follow Hoosier Illustrated on Twitter @Indiana_FRN to stay up to date on all of the news, updates and coverage of University of Indiana athletics. 


Mike Woodson ‘always looking to better’ Indiana basketball with final available scholarship



The Indiana basketball program has one available scholarship for next season and Mike Woodson is 'always looking to better' the roster. (Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times-USA TODAY NETWORK)

As Mike Woodson and the Indiana basketball program approach the first segment of summer workouts, its roster is still not full.

Currently, the Hoosiers have one open scholarship for the upcoming season.

On Wednesday, Woodson made it clear — in order to compete at the top of the Big Ten and around the country, he’s ‘always looking to better’ Indiana basketball.

“We’re always looking,” Woodson said of his final scholarship spot. “Based on a lot of the players tonight that might pull out (of the NBA draft), there might be a player that falls through the cracks. I’m watching it closely and I’m always looking to better our team and if we can pick up someone, based on who falls through the cracks, then we will.”

The NBA Draft withdrawal deadline was May 31 at 11:59 pm and while there were some big names announcing their intentions on returning to college, Woodson isn’t going to go for just anybody.

With six new players coming in next season as of now, including three transfers, chemistry, role and fit are incredibly important.

“I mean I got really seven new players and I gotta figure it out in terms of how we gonna play, who can do what,” Woodson said. “So I’m kinda anxious to see this next week. A lot of the guys are coming back this weekend and getting them in the gym and see who can do what.”

The role that Indiana needs to fill is on the perimeter. The Hoosiers are lacking the consistent knockdown shooting it needs in order to raise their ceiling this year. As of now, a lot is being put on the untapped potential of the roster … mainly the young pieces.

Indiana has five-star newcomers in Mackenzie Mgbako and Kel’el Ware. It also has core pieces returning in Xavier Johnson, Trey Galloway and Malik Reneau.

But, Reneau, Mgbako and Ware have combined to start just seven games at the college level.

The talent level is there, as is the versatility — something Indiana hasn’t had from top to bottom on its roster since Woodson took the program over.

When it came down to assembling the roster that is currently constructed, while the Indiana basketball staff had full control of the players incoming, there will be a taste of what Xavier Johnson wanted as well.

“Yeah, he asked me who I was interested in and I told him and we got a couple of the guys that I actually liked,” Johnson said. “We built a solid, solid team coming in.

“I would say from my watch, I think we have a pretty — a pretty unique, unique team. We’ll be more athletic than last year.”

So, as Woodson and the rest of the Indiana basketball staff look at its final scholarship spot, it’s one that is 100 percent open for use, but not one that will just be tossed around unless the specific skillset arises.

SEE ALSO: ‘It’s going to be my job to bridge the gap’: Mike Woodson’s vision for Indiana basketball is coming to life

Make sure to follow Hoosier Illustrated on Twitter @Indiana_FRN and YouTube to stay up to date on all of the news, updates and coverage of Indiana University athletics. 

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Indiana basketball senior guard Xavier Johnson gives update on his health: ‘I’m 100 (percent)’



Dec 10, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Indiana Hoosiers guard Xavier Johnson (0) reacts after a three point score against the Arizona Wildcats during the second half at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

Besides the additions of Oregon transfer center Kel’el Ware and the commitment of 2023 five-star forward Mackenzie Mgbako, the biggest offseason win for Indiana basketball was the return of senior guard Xavier Johnson.

Last season, Johnson played and started in just 11 games before he suffered a broken foot on Dec. 17 after playing only nine minutes against Kanas. He would go on to miss the reminder of the season.

Towards the end of last season however, there were rumblings that Johnson and Indiana would seek a medical hardship waiver, which they opted to do, with the senior guard running out of chances to realistically get back into the rotation and contribute.

Going into the offseason, the potential return of Xavier Johnson quickly became one of the bigger storylines for the Indiana basketball program and on April 26th, it was announced that Johnson’s medical hardship waiver was approved by the NCAA. 

Mike Woodson and Indiana basketball had their starting point guard back.

“It’s been a long process, honestly,” said Xavier Johnson when speaking to the media on Wednesday night. “I had to see it all through, talked to my coach (Woodson) and my family. The best option was to come back to school just for the benefit of my health. I would say I thought I was gonna come back in February, late February, but I think it was best for the team just to keep competing (last year) without me and I’ll just be there to support.”

During the process of the medical hardship waiver application, there is not much that a college athlete can do but just wait and see what the NCAA decides based on the facts.

Waiting is exactly what Xavier Johnson did.

“I really just had to wait, honestly, I mean there’s nothing right to the process, but waiting,” Johnson added.

As a senior and the elite competitor that Xavier Johnson is, it certainly was hard for him to have to sit on the sidelines and watch his teammates at Indiana play without him for the second half of last season. When Johnson went down, the keys were given to freshman guard Jalen Hood-Schifino as the primary ball handler for the Hoosiers, who used that opportunity to play his way into a potential lottery pick in the NBA Draft.

Even though there was a chance that Xavier Johnson could have returned late last year, the best thing for Johnson in the long term was to sit out and have a better chance at coming back this season and playing a full senior campaign.

When Johnson got the word that his wavier was approved by the NCAA, you can say the wait was well worth it.

“It was a long process of getting my waiver, but once I got it, that weight was off my shoulders.” said Johnson.

“Coach (Woodson) called me and asked me if I wanted to transfer. I was like ‘what you mean do I want to transfer? Did I not get my waiver?’ He was like ‘yeah you got your waiver. Do you want to come back and play for me?’ I was like ‘yeah!’ (laughter).”

Besides Johnson, there might not be a happier and more excited person on this earth to know that his starting point guard, his senior leader, is returning to help captain the 2023-24 Indiana Hoosiers than Mike Woodson.

The coach-player relationship that Mike Woodson and Xavier Johnson have built these past few seasons is truly special. Woodson has a special connection with his point guards and really understands the value of having a great one like Johnson.

And as far as Xavier Johnson’s health heading into the summer portion of the Indiana offseason?

“I’m 100 (percent),” Johnson simply and confidently said.

SEE ALSO: ‘I think we are getting into more of what coach Woodson wants’: Former IU basketball player Christian Watford discusses Hoosiers offseason

Make sure to follow Hoosier Illustrated on Twitter @Indiana_FRN and YouTube to stay up to date on all of the news, updates and coverage of Indiana University athletics. 

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Indiana basketball: Kel’el Ware among thirty-five athletes to participate in USA U19 Men’s National Team Training Camp



Indiana’s Kel’el Ware Among Thirty-Five Athletes to Participate in USA U19 Men’s National Team Training Camp - 5/31/2023 12:00:00 PM - Photo Credit: Indiana Men's Basketball

As announced per an Indiana basketball release, sophomore center Kel’el Ware was among thirty-five athletes selected to participate in USA U19 Men’s National Team Training Camp.

In April, Ware announced he was transferring to Indiana after spending one season at Oregon. Ware averaged 6.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game in one season at Oregon.

Below is the full release.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado – USA Basketball today announced the 35 athletes expected to participate in the 2023 USA U19 Men’s National Team Training Camp at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Camp begins June 11 with the 12-member team to be announced before departing for the 2023 FIBA U19 Men’s World Cup Championship, scheduled for June 24-July 2 in Debrecen, Hungary.

Included in that list is IU sophomore center Kel’el Ware who is joining the Hoosiers after spending his freshman season at Oregon.  He represented USA Basketball winning a gold medal at the 2022 FIBA U18 Americas Championship in Tijuana, Mexico.  In six games, he averaged 15.7 points and 6.8 rebounds while shooting 67.2% from the field in 19.4 minutes per game.  He also had 11 blocked shots.

He played for the 2022 USA Nike Hoop Summit Team that defeated the World Select Team 102-80 in the 23rd Nike Hoop Summit and came off the bench to score 11 points on four-of-five shooting from the field and also grabbed five rebounds.

At Oregon, the North Little Rock, Arkansas native played 35 games and started four as a freshman for the Ducks.  He averaged 6.6 points and 4.1 rebounds in 15.8 minutes of action per game and led the team in blocked shots with 45.  His best game of the year was an 18-point, nine-board effort against eventual national champion, UConn.  He also had nine rebounds against Michigan State.

Athletes attending training camp were selected by the USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team Committee.  Athletes eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens, born on or after January 1, 2004.  Nearly half of the athletes have prior USA Basketball experience. Ten invitees have won a gold medal as a member of a USA Basketball junior national team.

Supporting as court coaches during trials will be Jonas Hayes (Georgia State University), Kevin Kruger (UNLV), TJ Otzelberger (Iowa State University) and Micah Shrewsberry (Notre Dame).

The United States will square off with Lebanon, Madagascar and Slovenia in pool play.

The U.S. will face off against Lebanon and Madagascar for the first time at a 2023 FIBA Men’s U19 World Cup. The U.S. own a 2-0 record against Slovenia at the U19 World Cup.

The United States has won the competition eight times, including three of the last four competitions—in 2015, 2019 and 2021.

SEE ALSO: Kel’el Ware ready to make big impact for Indiana basketball: ‘(I’m ready) to prove everybody wrong’

Make sure to follow Hoosier Illustrated on Twitter @Indiana_FRN and YouTube to stay up to date on all of the news, updates and coverage of Indiana University athletics. 

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