Dwight Miller is feeling at home with Vols

UT assistant Jon Harris talks about Hoops for Hope and upcoming fall drills

Dwight Miller has been in Knoxville for slightly more than a month, but already the junior college men's basketball transfer finds himself fitting in.

On Saturday, Miller was among the UT men's and women's basketball players who took part in the fourth annual "Hoops for Hope" basketball tournament for children with Down syndrome at Farragut High School.

Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt also was in attendance for an event she said is dear to her heart.

"We're blessed to come here and work with these kids,'' Summitt said. "It's great to see them smiling and having a great day.''

Miller, 21, has been happy since he signed with new Vols coach Cuonzo Martin out of Midland (Texas) College this past recruiting season.

The 6-foot-8 Miller was being recruited by Martin when Martin was still the Missouri State head coach before being hired at UT on March 27.

"This is a wonderful team and there's a real family atmosphere,'' Miller said. "Everyone has been receptive and open to doing the right things. I've never seen a team like this.''

Miller is expected to contribute at the power forward position. The 240-pound Bahamas native has an inside-out game.

"I think our open gym sessions have helped us all get a feel for one another and get some time to get our chemistry,'' Miller said. "I think our biggest strength is everyone knows who the athletes and shooters are, and people know their roles.''

Miller, who originally started his career at Pittsburgh before transferring to Midland, averaged only 8.2 points last season.

"I can put points on the board, but there is no 'I' in team,'' Miller said. "We only had one guy average in double figures on our (junior college) team last season, but that was because everyone played for each other and made the extra pass.''

Vols' junior Jeronne Maymon, who will also play power forward along with some time at the post, said Miller does indeed appear to be a great fit.

"At first he was kind of quiet, but he's really opened up,'' Maymon said. "He's very strong and bouncy, and his shot is really coming along.''

Miller said he's eager to show the UT staff in person how he can contribute to the team.

"I think everyone is ready to go this week,'' Miller said, regarding the start of individual drills on Wednesday. "That's all we've been talking about — showing the coaches we're ready to do whatever is necessary.''

UT assistant coach Jon Harris said he's also eager for the start of practice.

On Saturday, Harris said the Vols were doing what was necessary by giving their time to a charitable cause.

"This is a big part of our job,'' Harris said. "The community get to know our staff — there's a lot of new faces — so any time we can get out for this type of community work, it benefits everyone.''

The men's basketball team has also made charitable appearances at the bone marrow drive for Anna Martin at Hardin Valley Church of Christ, the Butterfly Fund 5K in Sequoyah Hills, the Clinic for at-risk youth at the Knox County public defender's office and Habitat for Humanity.

Harris has shouldered more responsibility since Martin has been in China working as an assistant coach with the U.S. Men's Junior National team.

"This is a really good group of guys with their maturity level and the way they respect our staff even with Coach Martin not being around,'' Harris said.

Mike Griffith covers Tennessee men's basketball and can be followed on twitter at http://twitter.com/MikeGriffith32

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Comments » 9

bahamapapavol writes:

As Bahamian citizens, coming from Nassau, our family is so excited about having Dwight join the Vols. We look forward to meeting him and seeing him play and make a difference. Living in Seymour, we are fortunate to be able to get to the games with little problems.......go VOLS!

HooRay_Vol writes:

8.2 points last year should equal to about 12.2 points in the SEC this next year. Hope fully he will avg about 8.2 rebounds per game. Go Dwight! Long live coach Pearl!

FeelVol writes:

Looking forward to seeing Miller play and believe he will definitely be a contributor this year.Go Vols!

Slystone writes:

Physical but limited offensively.

Bigger_Al writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You're forgetting when Brian 'shot it like Kobe' on the game winner at Georgia.

HtownVol writes:

Are the rest of Vol fans as worried as I am about the lack of size on this team?

I have seen some on here say that Bruce left the team with no talent but that is not true at all.

We have 6 four star players (Golden,Tatum,McRae,Hall,Woolridge and Maymon) which is far more than Bruces first season at UT.

The only problem is that we do not have a legit big man.
Kenny Hall will likely start at the 5 and Hall is 6'8 230 (at best) Dont get me wrong, I love Halls talent, he is very athletic but there will be not much Hall can do when he is alone in the paint with a True Center (6'11 255+). I hope CCM and staff are able to gameplan to where they can hide some flaws.

After Hall I have seen Maymon listed as the backup Center, Maymon on 6'6...

I know we have some new guys with better size but they can not be expected to contribute too much.

Also, of the returning players we do not have a scorer. We all know Hopson made the biggest mistake possible when he opted to enter the draft. Anyone could see that Hopson was not a NBA player. He is unable to execute a crossover without kicking the ball. He must use non stick cooking spray on his hands while on the bench because he lost more simple passes last year than imaginable. Point is, Hopson would have been the man on this team. It is not saying much considering I just blasted him but when he was on he is all SEC. CCM I believe would have helped Hopson so much from what I read about his coaching. He is big on fundamentals (ball handling, DEFENSE and shooting).

Now UT is counting on Tatum to lead this team as the scorer and Tatum is more inconsistant than Hopson.

Golden needs to practice his shooting every day he can. Last year Golden was the last Guard I wanted to see taking the shot. Hopefully that improves.

We could have a go to guy in McRae but none of us have seen enough of him to know.

Overall this team has talent but so, so many questions.

12-15 Wins is likely and with great coaching and effort 18-19 Wins is not a stretch.

Just remember that UT is in rebuilding mode right now, the team NEEDS all of our support through this tough season.

CCM did not create this mess but it is his problem now. Give him time to get his players and put his stamp on this program.

GO VOLS!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You and Htown both make some good points. I refuse to believe that players like McRae and Golden just forgot how to play the way that made them 4-stars out of HS. I agree with Htown that Tatum has to come through in a big way this year. McBee has to rediscover his scoring ability.

However, I agree with you that it is not necessary to have 7-footers to have a respectable inside game. Clearly Miller will have to have a major impact while playing major minutes. On the plus side, he is no callow freshman. He has played in the Big Ten and no doubt posted major minutes in JC. He is nearly physically mature, compared to the new freshman big guy and even to Hall. As for defending bigger posts, strength, girth, positioning, and a willingness to battle are at least as important as mere height. This where Maymon's bulk may also help if he can mentally adjust to playing in the post. I've heard he wants to play outside more, but I haven't seen the array of skills necessary to succeed there, and we need help in the post MUCH more than we another perimeter type. If nothing else, Hall, Miller, Maymon, and the freshman--don't recall his name well enough to spell it!--give us 20 fouls to use in defending the post.

Another aspect of post defense is to pressure the perimeter guys so they can't choose just any time and/or angle to feed the post and for the weakside wing players to drop down into the post to swipe at the ball. By all accounts, CCM plans to stress this kind of defense from our guards. Finally, we can't underestimate the value of a fresh start for the guys we have coming back. If they can all get on the same page, this could be a better season than many expect. At least, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

BigBadVol writes:

This is one of the best articles about team chemistry and good attitudes and you have idiots on here still complaining.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to PatientlyWaiting:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

UK and Vandy will count for 3 wins each. Pitt counts as 6. so we'll easily get 12 wins. Right?

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