As we bid adieu to Terrence Samuel and wait to see if UConn adds any new players, here's a little rundown of how UConn wound up with Shonn Miller
Spoke with Miller's coach at Cornell, Bill Courtney. Great, affable guy who is happy to see Miller get this chance with UConn -- even if he realizes the grad transfer rules (particularly in the Ivy League) don't help programs like his.
Here's a few Cliff's Notes from the story:
*** Courtney is very familiar with UConn's coaching staff, having been an assistant under Dave Leitao at Virginia. Staff was telling him as early as last summer that they knew Miller would be a grad student and wanted him.
*** Courtney wouldn't let any schools contact Miller during this past season.
"If they talked during the season, they were gonna be out," said the coach.
Once the season ended, however, UConn was the first to call. Kevin Ollie met with Miller at his Euclid, Ohio home just before spring break.
*** Cal (as in California, not Calipari) was probably the runner-up in the Miller sweepstakes, as Cuonzo Martin recruited him hard. Rick Pitino and Billy Donovan called on him, he visited Michigan and Illinois and also heard from Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Indiana, among others.
"Duke, North Carolina and Ohio State -- surprisingly -- were the only three schools he didn't
hear from," said Courtney, jokingly (I think).
*** Ollie established a great relationship with Miller's mom, which was big in his decision.
"She really valued that relationship she was able to establish with Kevin," Courtney noted.
*** Courtney on Miller: “He’s 6-7 and can guard any position on the floor, from
point guard to center. He’s an elite-level defender. His offensive
game has developed in his time at Cornell. He’s a terrific athlete and
offensive/defensive rebounder, and he’s better than a 23-percent 3-point
shooter. His driving is getting better, but his pull-up game is his strength.
And his athleticism makes him strong in transition.”
"He’s a monster defensive rebounder, just goes and gets it. He's got an incredible knack. He and (Amida) Brimah should make a great combo."
*** Courtney doesn't love the Ivy League rule, or the grad transfer rules in general. But he's most interested in what's best for the players.
“Here’s a guy getting an Ivy League degree, and getting a
chance to play basketball at another level. You’ve got
to do what’s best for the kid. He gave me a lot, and now he’s going to play for
a national-championship program. Who am I to keep him back?”
Labels: Amida Brimah, Bill Courtney, Billy Donovan, Dave Leitao, Kevin Ollie, Rick Pitino, Shonn Miller, Terrence Samuel