There was a big addition to the Tennessee men’s basketball team on the final day of the spring signing period Wednesday.
Dwight Miller, a 6-foot-8, 240-pound junior college forward from Midland (Texas) College, signed with the Vols and will be part of the Class of 2011.
“Dwight is a guy who competes and plays hard,’’ UT coach Cuonzo Martin said Thursday. “He has the tools to really help us from an experience and physical standpoint.’’
Miller, a native of the Bahamas, attended St. Pius High School in Houston and started his collegiate career at Pittsburgh, redshirting the 2008-09 season before playing sparingly in 2009-10.
Miller, who averaged 8.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last season, is expected to compete immediately for playing time. He will have two years of eligibility remaining, and he said he plans to enroll for the second term of summer school.
Washington, Oklahoma State and Maryland all made a late push for Miller’s services, joining Tennessee, North Texas, Cleveland State and Missouri State.
“The difference was the coaching staff,’’ said Miller, who visited UT last weekend. “Coach (Jon) Harris and Coach Martin had been recruiting me even last year when they were at Missouri State.
“I just felt a lot better with this coaching staff than any of the others.’’
Miller, who said injuries hindered his playing time at Pitt, said he likes his chances of getting minutes with the Vols.
“It will require me to work hard to get the best opportunity to do something special,’’ Miller said. “I think my strength is my versatility and being able to create mismatches wherever I’m at on the floor.’’
Miller helped lead Midland College to the 2011 NJCAA national championship game. JucoJunction.com rates Miller as the 10th-best junior college prospect in the country. Miller once trained with retired NBA star Hakeem Olajuwon and also is a product of Frank Rutherford’s Elite Bahamian Education Program, which helps Bahamian student-athletes achieve college academic excellence in the United States.
The Vols also have a verbal commitment from Yemi Makanjuola, a 6-9, 230-pounder who played at Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, N.C., last season.
Makanjuola, who spent his junior season at Oak Hill (Va.) Academy, has not completed all of his necessary paperwork, however, so UT can not comment on him.
The Vols’ front line was in dire need of help heading into the signing period, returning only junior Kenny Hall, senior Renaldo Woolridge and junior Jeronne Maymon.
If Makanjuola’s parents in Nigeria sign off on his National Letter of Intent, as expected, the Vols will have five players in the Class of 2011.
Guard Chris Jones, of Melrose High School in Memphis, signed with former UT coach Bruce Pearl, but Jones has since indicated he will enroll at Northwest Florida State (junior) College.
Martin has signed combo guards Quinton Chievous (Niles, Ill.) and Josh Richardson (Edmond, Okla.) and point guard Wes Washpun (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) since being hired on March 27 after Pearl was fired.