28 January 2012
Miller making a difference on offense
Since returning from suspension in December, sophomore has sparked offense off the bench
During their current five-game win streak, the Florida State Seminoles have seen their offensive output jump by seven points per game, from 70.6 points per contest through the first 15 games to 77.6 per game.
While the players insist that the team hasn’t made any major adjustments—both Michael Snaer and Deividas Dulkys said Friday that the players have started doing the “little things” better—there has been one major addition to the offense that has contributed to the increased production. That addition is Ian Miller.
Since returning in December from an academic suspension that held him out of the team’s first 11 games, Miller has brought a scoring threat that the FSU offense desperately needed. The sophomore is averaging 11.2 points per contest in nine games since returning on Dec. 22 at Florida, and he has dropped 15 or more points in a game five times. All while playing 24 minutes a night as a reserve.
Although Miller’s average in FSU’s current five-game ACC win streak has dipped to nine points per game, he played a big-time role in the outcome of two of those games. Against Virginia Tech, Miller came up huge for the ’Noles in the second half, scoring eight of his 15 points in the final 20 minutes to help FSU jump-start their current hot streak.
“He’s a tremendous talent,” Snaer said of Miller. “He’s just one of the few guys you have on a team who can just get their own shot whenever we need a bucket. He did it against Virginia Tech a few times whenever we just needed a bucket—he’ll hit somebody with a crossover and the next thing you know, he’s pulling up and we’ve got a bucket.”
Against Maryland on Jan. 17, Miller matched his career-high with 18 points to help FSU pull away from the Terps in the second half. Miller was ultra-efficient on the evening, hitting on 4-of-7 field goals (57 percent), including 2-of-3 from behind the arc (66 percent). He also connected on all eight of his free throws, bringing his season total to 25-of-28 from the charity stripe.
Miller’s shooting percentage only sits at 38 percent for the year, but Snaer made it a point to say that the percentages “don’t tell the truth” of just how deadly of a shooter he really is.
While the Seminoles have certainly found their stride as a team offensively—better ball movement and execution in setting and using screens have helped create more open shots, which they’ve capitalized on as a squad—Miller’s contributions cannot be understated.
“Ian is a great scorer,” Dulkys said. “He can really put up numbers, and plus the depth—just another guy to bring off the bench that teams have to worry about.”
With FSU now in sole possession of the ACC lead after six conference games, the ’Noles will now play the role of frontrunner with Miller beginning to settle into his role on offense.
“That’s what we need, so that’s what I do,” Miller said of his sixth-man role. “Because we’ve got to play defense, that’s what we do. But offense is one of my good skills, so that’s what I’m here for.”
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