Miller is Bright Spot

    Most of us have heard the saying “”What a difference a year makes.”” In the case of UCSD basketball forward Cole Miller, one year has definitely made a difference. This season Miller, a senior, is shooting a lethal 40 percent from three-point land and leads the team in points per game, rebounds per game, minutes played and free throw percentage. So is there anything more the senior could possibly do? Probably not, but his tremendous work ethic will no doubt propel him to even greater heights.

    Courtesy UCSD Athletics

    Although the transition from Division III to Division II has not been the easiest for the men’s basketball team, Miller is doing all he can to lead the Tritons to victory in his final season. The California Collegiate Athletic Association has proven to be a tough league, but Miller sees a lot of positives to playing in Division II.

    “”The events are more exciting because at both home and away games, a lot of people come out to watch,”” he said. “”It’s also easier to win at home in the new league.””

    And after looking at UCSD’s pair of home games last weekend, it is easy to see why Miller believes in home court advantage. Even though the Tritons lost both games, they were never out of contention in either game, losing by 10 points to California State University Los Angeles and a mere two points to CSU Dominguez Hills. Miller led the team in scoring both nights, finishing up the weekend with a total of 45 points and nailing eight of 15 three-pointers against Dominguez Hills.

    With just over 10 games remaining in the season, Miller says that the team has a positive outlook and has to remain as competitive as it has been.

    When asked if he feels any pressure to put up big numbers game in and game out, Miller simply said that there is no pressure, but that he does it for his teammates.

    “”I don’t really have to do anything extra,”” he said. “”We have a team-oriented offense, so it doesn’t have to come down to just one person.””

    However, head coach Greg Lanthier recognizes the extra effort that Miller has put into his game since his junior year.

    “”Cole has worked hard in the offseason to get better, and he’s played outstandingly well this season,”” Lanthier said. “”You have to credit him for that.””

    “”He’s always been a hard worker,”” he added. “”The only thing that surprises me about him is how comfortable he is on the floor when you compare this year to last year.””

    Aside from hard work, there are a few other things that have helped Miller with his remarkable season. His superstitions and pregame rituals include wearing a particular ankle brace and using visualization. Despite having a wide array of ankle braces to choose from, Miller has been wearing the same black ankle brace for quite some time. The reason?

    “”I’ve been shooting well ever since I started wearing it,”” he said.

    Visualization is a technique that many athletes use to help them perform well in games. As shown by Miller’s numbers this season, this technique is certainly working.

    “”My dad gave me an article from ‘Sports Illustrated’ about an Olympic athlete who uses visualization,”” Miller said. “”It works really well for my shooting.””

    Miller, an art major who does a lot of oil painting in his free time, is graduating this year and has aspirations of continuing to play basketball, perhaps overseas, after leaving UCSD. He and fellow senior forward Sam Higgins will be attending the Showcase Camp in Utah, where coaches and scouts will be watching for potential players. So, if the basketball career doesn’t work out, what will Miller do?

    “”I guess I’ll have to go out into the real world and find a job,”” he laughed.

    What the future holds for Miller is uncertain, but in the meantime the UCSD men’s basketball team can count on him, lucky ankle brace and all, to lead the way.

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