BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The Indiana men’s basketball team is ready to return to glory after hiring former NBA head coach Mike Woodson in March. If anyone has overcome adversity in a front office position or as an athlete on the hardwood, Woodson is the man who understands the two-sided coin.
Woodson was known for his fluctuating win-loss record as a former head coach of the New York Knicks (2012-2014) despite joining the 2003-04 Detroit Pistons championship team as one of the assistant coaches.
The Indianapolis native has a familiarity with Indiana basketball culture stemming from hard work, grit, athletics and determination. With open arms, the Hoosier fans are ready to take a chance on the veteran who started in his youth from attending rec centers or participating in pick-up games in the Indianapolis area.
During the 2020-21 season, Indiana went 12-15 overall with a 7-12 Big Ten conference record under former head coach Archie Miller. Since Miller’s firing, Woodson, like Michigan’s Juwan Howard, understood the importance of returning to his alma mater giving hope to the next generation of basketball players.
According to the Big Ten Network, Woodson sat down and explained to Andy Katz his expectations heading into his first year.
“We’re still trying to put pieces together and it’s hard for me to even relay anything in terms of my team and how we’re going to play on both ends of the floor. I have always coached and tried to put teams in the best position to win and to be successful,” Woodson said. “The only way you do that you got to get your team to compete at a high level every night that they step on the floor. That starts with practice everyday and that is what I’m pushing. You can’t play this game and expect to win if you don’t play it at a high level.”
As it relates to high level, Woodson in his college years (1976-1980) played under the legendary Bob Knight, whose Hoosiers teams captivated fans with their stellar play. A 19.8 point career scorer who shot 50% from the field helped his teammate and NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas capture the 1980 Big Ten championship. Therefore, Woodson walks into a new system 41 years later awaiting young talent to soak up the wisdom he gained throughout his basketball career.
“It will be competitive and that is how I coach. We all want to win but you got to get your team to believe in what you do as a coach on and off the floor, on both ends of the floor and give yourself a chance to win,” he continued in his conversation with Katz.
This will be a season where Woodson’s style meets his team’s effort in hopes of making a statement in the Big Ten with wins.
IU will face Eastern Michigan on Nov. 9 in their season opener for the 2021-22 season.
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