CHICAGO — Indiana senior guard Devonte Green feels like he’s in a good place, both physically and mentally.
Surrounded by cameras and recorders at Big Ten Men’s Basketball Media Day on Wednesday, Green opened up about the path that got him to the point where he feels more confident about himself and his standing with the Hoosiers.
“I’ve been unsure of myself at times,” Green said. “I think every college player goes through those kind of mental lapses, and I think, recently, I’ve just been able to be at peace with myself and my game and the work and just confident with the work I put in.”
Validation came Monday, when Green was voted as team co-captain with junior guard Al Durham. Green understands with that position comes responsibility and the chance to grow as a leader and a person.
“I was happy, honored, of course, especially because it comes from the team,” Green said. “So happy to see that those guys see me as a leader.”
Green proved his worth to the Hoosiers at the end of last season, averaging 15.7 points over IU’s final seven games. The offensive outburst came after Green served a three-game midseason suspension and showed the 6-foot-3, 185-pound combo guard from North Babylon, N.Y., was capable of stepping into a lead scoring role.
“To me, it speaks volumes that the teammates voted him (captain),” IU coach Archie Miller said. “But he knows right now this is his team, and he’s going to have a lot of rope. He’s going to have to do a great job with it.”
Two years ago, Green wasn’t sure about his role with the Hoosiers, let alone becoming a team leader and top scoring option. Recruited by former IU coach Tom Crean, Green had to adapt to Miller’s style on the court and demands off it. There were thoughts of transferring.
“We definitely had our disagreements at times,” Green said.
Green has managed to talk things out with Miller after several meetings, and the two have come to an understanding to move forward together.
“We just came to a common ground, and we both want the same result, so I think that was big for us,” Green said.
For Green, that meant putting in extra work over the offseason, more shooting, more time in the weight room. Green shot a team-high 41 percent from 3-point range last season and is IU’s top perimeter threat.
Miller wants Green to cut down on his turnovers and try to make less “home-run” plays after posting an assist-to-turnover ratio of 85-63 last season.
“To me, he’s really embraced every challenge that we’ve got. He’s had the best and most productive fall and preseason that he’s had,” Miller said.
Green intends to stay aggressive on the court, “and at the same time let the game come to me, I don’t need to force anything, It’s easier to make reads that way just not trying to make home-run plays or anything like that. I’m just playing the game.”
During the rough stretches in his IU career, Green also sought advice from his older brother, Toronto Raptors guard Danny Green.
“He would just tell me to stay with it, stick it through,” Green said. “Everybody’s journey and path is different, and he’s a prime example of that.”
For IU to have a successful season in 2019-20, Miller said Green must play at a high level while filling several roles. Miller intends to play Green more off the ball this season, in an effort to put him in position to score from the perimeter and get to the basket off the dribble.
Green said staying at IU for four years has been worth it, and he’s looking forward to fulfilling his promise this season.
“I learned you just better keep moving on no matter what the circumstances are, what the situation is,” Green said. “You can’t take losses as a loss but as a lesson, and I think it’s definitely going to make me a better person.”