As a sophomore two seasons ago, guard Ian Miller was a huge part of Florida State’s run to its first-ever ACC championship. After averaging better than 10 points-per-game as a sophomore, Miller was one of the big reasons as to why Florida State was ranked to begin the 2012-13 season which turned out to be a dud for both Miller and the Seminoles.
After an 18-16 finish that saw FSU bounced from the first round of not the NCAA Tournament, but the NIT, both the Seminoles and Miller entered this season with very low expectations. Miller had been plagued throughout his career with injuries and suspensions and entered the season coming off of the worst year of his Florida State career.
As a junior, Miller averaged a career-low 5.3 points-per-game while shooting career-low percentages from the field, three-point arc and free throw line. Miller also committed a career-high 1.4 turnovers-per-game in under 19 minutes of action.
Though Miller was suspended for the first half of this season’s opener, the senior from Charlotte is off to a hot start and has been a real spark plug off the Florida State bench. Miller joins forward Okaro White as the only seniors on the FSU roster to spend four years in coach Leonard Hamilton’s system and is one of just four guards that Hamilton has at his disposal. Miller is also the only guard older than a sophomore and seems to be excelling in a leadership role despite doing it off the bench.
Though not against competition parallel to what Florida State will see in the ACC, Miller is off to a red hot start. Miller is second on the team averaging 15.3 points-per-game while shooting 55 percent from the field, 46 percent from beyond the arc and 89 percent from the charity stripe through three games. Miller also ranks second for the Seminoles with 3.3 assists-per-game.
After a solid 18-point effort that included a pair of steals against UCF, Miller had the best game of his career on Sunday in an 89-61 victory over Tennessee-Martin. Though he attempted just five field goals, Miller scored a career-high 20 points while adding five assists. In 27 minutes, Miller did not miss a single shot netting all five of his field goal attempts, three of which came from downtown and all seven of his free throws.
With limitless shooting range, a quick first step, a good handle and versatility to play either of the guard positions, few have ever questioned Miller’s ability. Frequent suspensions however and inconsistency on the court has brought into question Miller’s dedication.
Florida State missed out on the NCAA Tournament a season ago for the first time in five years and for the Seminoles to get back, they will need Miller to continue to produce. While Miller’s hot start has come against inferior opponents, it won’t be long before Florida State is tested. FSU begins the Puerto Rico Tip-off against #14 Virginia Commonwealth on Thursday with visits to Florida and Minnesota shortly to follow.
If Ian Miller can continue to play at a high level, the Seminoles have enough young talent around he and White to be a force in the ACC. Miller is not only scoring the ball well, but he is doing a nice job getting his teammates involved as well. With a young roster and a lack of depth at guard, Miller will need to prove that his hot start is more than just a fluke.