Miller Cobb – The Daily Hoosier

With the changes to Indiana’s off-season roster, we’re bringing back our annual tradition of taking a close look at the players expected to return to the program.

Next up is junior striker Miller Cobb, who is training for his fifth year in college basketball and second with IU.

Numbers 2021-22

After moving to IU from Northwestern, Kopp was one of three players to start all 35 games. He averaged 6.0 points and fired 36.1 percent from the 3-point range and 86.5 percent from the free throw line.

The 6-foot-7 Kopp added 2.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 0.9 turns in 25.1 minutes per competition.

What is good?

When he got a good pass, Cobb was for the most part an effective three-point shooter for Indiana State. While he was inconsistent, Kopp ended up with the third-best long-range percentage on the team, and the second-best average of his four-year career.

During a major six-game stint late in the season, the CUBE made 12 of 29 (41.3 percent) three-pointers from a road game in Minnesota during the Big Ten semifinals against Iowa.

Cobb played a massive game in Syracuse with 28 points from 9 of 16, and added double-digit games against St. John’s, in Minnesota and at Purdue.

On the defensive end, Cobb didn’t magically get better sideways, but he was a player the IU crew learned to trust to be in the right place, use proper positioning and technique, and was effective at chasing bowlers through the screens.

Off the field, the Houston, Texas producer quickly became someone beloved by both players and coaches after moving from Northwestern.

Image credit – IU Athletics

external development needs

1. recovery Mike Woodson told Cobb when he arrived that he needed to become a better player, and that didn’t happen. Despite being 6-foot-7, Kopp has lower defensive rebound rates than Rob Phinisee and Xavier Johnson, and a worse offensive rebound rate than these two plus Tamar Bates.

Kopp’s offensive rebound rate fell to 1.6 percent last year. This may be in part due to IU’s assertion that he will be returning to defense. But his defensive rebound rate of 9.8 was in line with his previous two seasons and well off his average of 12.1 as a freshman. It could be a case of “that’s it” with Kopp at this point, but IU needs more production on glass than the three point.

2. North 40? – Let’s face it, Cobb has plenty of talented players trying to push him out of the starting line-up in the top three, including Bates, Trey Galloway, Jordan Geronimo, Anthony Leal, Caleb Banks and CJ Jean. The only obvious way to stop them all is to become an elite 3-point shooter in his fifth year in college basketball. Cobb’s career rate of 36 percent is good, but more than 100 players shot better than 40 percent last year in at least two attempts per game.

If Kopp could get over 40 in about five attempts per game, it would be nearly impossible to push him off the ground. He’s already had 39.6 percent of the season in 5.3 attempts at Northwestern as a sophomore, so that’s not an extended goal. That late-season run we mentioned above was largely a byproduct of the emergence of Xavier Johnson and Trayce Jackson-Davis Elite Pick-and-Roll. Attention to this pair created space for Kopp to shoot, and he responded. Now the question is, can he hold it through an entire season?

3. Intra-arc efficiency -After achieving a better than 41 percent from two of his first three seasons, Cobb only made 34.9 percent (30 of 86) from a two-point range in his first season with IU. No doubt his inability to turn from two hampered a cup of three as well, as the defenses learned to hold on to him on the perimeter and take advantage of their chances against dribbling attempts.

Cobb was more than 10 percentage points (45.2 percent) higher than two when he was a rookie at Northwestern, and the forgotten part of that blast against Syracuse is that Cobb made 5 out of 7 out of two. He probably won’t become a top end player at edge versus length, but his mid-range plays have been much better in the past, and he’ll need to rediscover them next season. Becoming a bigger threat inside the arc could also mean more trips to the free-throw line, as Cobb notched 86.5 percent but took just 37 shots all season, or about one per game.

What does success look like in 2022-23

We’ve set that – he should become the Indiana three-point thrower cup next year to take on Johnson and Jackson Davis. If you leave it unlocked, you pay. And if you exaggerate his 3-point shot, Kopp makes you pay from the midrange.

Defensive tasks may not be difficult with people like Johnny Davis, Keegan Murray and Ron Harper Jr. of the Big Ten. But Indiana may have the depth this year to find matches that fit Cope’s strengths at that finish.

If Cobb can bring his numbers up to eight points, three rebounds and better than the 40 percent of two and three points, we’d call his fifth year in college basketball a success.

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