Thursday, August 9, 2018
By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
FRANCO Miller had his first opportunity to suit up as an official member of Ole Miss Rebels Basketball as the team continues its preseason foreign tour through Canada.
The Rebels played the first two games of the tour in Montreal with wins over the McGill Redmen and Concordia Stingers before the tour shifted to Ottawa last night for a matchup against Carleton.
Miller, the freshman guard, has played sparingly thus far with just five minutes and two points against McGill and did not see action against Concordia.
Against the Stingers, Ole Miss trailed by 10 at the half before they implemented a 1-3-1 zone and outscored the home team 49-32 in the second half for an 84-77 win.
In their first game under new head coach Kermit Davis, the Rebels scored a 102-61 win over McGill.
The tour represents a return to Canada for Miller in the country where he spent a year on the prep basketball circuit to boost his recruitment stock. Last season, Miller travelled north to play at Crestwood Preparatory College in Toronto. While there, he averaged 25.8 points, six rebounds, 5.2 assists and 3.3 steals per game. He broke the 40-point threshold twice throughout the year, tallying a game-high 42 points versus Thetford Academy and scoring 40 points against the Toronto Basketball Club.
While north of the border, Miller earned first-team All-Canada NPA honours, first team All-CISAA accolades and Universal Hoops First Team All-Canada recognition. His play also earned him a spot in the prestigious Allen Iverson Roundball Classic as well as the Signature All-Canadian Showcase.
His busy recruitment process came to an end in May when he committed to the Rebels.
Miller signed his national letter of intent to join the programme's incoming 2018 class during a special ceremony hosted on the campus of his alma mater, Tabernacle Baptist Christian Academy.
The 6'3" point guard chose Ole Miss over his final list of schools - Oklahoma, Minnesota, Oregon, and Towson.
"As a freshman coming in you want to go somewhere that you can make an impact. Ole Miss, they're in one of the toughest conferences in college basketball, the SEC, and I have a chance to come in as a freshman to start and have the ball in my hand so it impacted my decision," he said.
"I fit in well with the style of play coach Davis runs, when I was there on my visit he showed me a lot of things that I would run and it definitely fits my play style so it all factored into my decision-making."
The Rebels finished 12-20 last season and 5-13 in the SEC in the last year of former coach Andy Kennedy. Davis was introduced as the Rebels new head coach in March and quickly recruited a top 50 class for 2018 including KJ Buffen and Blake Hinson.
He became the second Grand Bahama native in as many months to become a member of Rebels basketball after Yolett McPhee-McCuin was introduced as the head coach of the Ole Miss women's basketball programme in April.
"She was a part of this too," he said. "She made Ole Miss feel like home to me. I know that I got someone to look out for me and I'm not just there on my own. The coaching staff made me feel comfortable even if she wasn't there."